My Advice About Growing as an IT and Data Professional

IMG_6089First off, I should apologize for not blogging in quite a while. I’ve been traveling extensively and, because traveling can be so exhausting, I usually have to queue up blog posts to hit while I’m traveling in order to remain active while on the road.  I didn’t do that for these most recent trips.  And, as you can see, there’s quite a gap between this post and my last few posts.

On the other hand, I’ve experienced an unexpected surge in requests for mentoring and advice from friends and colleagues about career growth.  I’m always happy to help out a friend and, in fact, there’s little in my professional experience which I enjoy more than seeing friends grow and advance.  Because I get a lot of questions about professional development, I try to distill these thoughts down into usable nuggets of wisdom. Since I’ve had quite a few interview requests in the vein of career and professional development in the last several weeks, I thought what better way to get back on track with blogging than to put them all together in one place!

Infusive Solutions: Mindful Career Development

Ben Weiss, the digital marketing strategist at Infusive Solutions in NYC (facebook | blog | twitter),  reached out to me a few weeks ago to discuss career development for his own team members around personal branding and career growth.  This guy is really good at making hay while the sun is shining!  We’d initially done just a simple phone discussion, but he has managed to expand these discussions in a variety of ways.  Here are all the links, at present, to the content that Ben created from our discussions:

1. How to Become an IT Executive: http://www.infusivesolutions.com/blog/bid/99470/How-to-Become-an-IT-Executive-Especially-if-You-re-a-DBA

2. Landing page with the full interview: http://www.infusivesolutions.com/a-sql-server-mvp-with-knowledge-to-share

3. The recent NYC SQL User Group meeting  on personal branding: https://clicktoattend.microsoft.com/en-us/Pages/EventDetails.aspx?EventId=170863

One of the key points in the interviews is that the IT professionals who learn the most about what their business does, rather than just the IT that they work with, are frequently the most successful.  It’s a mindful process of understanding your strengths and weaknesses, improving those areas where you are genuinely weak, amplifying those areas where you excel, develop your communication skills, and then getting outside of your comfort zone to become a genuine business problem solver.  I’ve said it 100 times - There are NO information technology problems. There are business problems which are solved with information technology.  The IT pros who learn that lesson are mighty indeed.  Grab the interviews for more insight.

Louis Davidson: Why We Write

Louis “DrSQL” Davidson (blog | twitter) is a long-time good friend. We live in the same fantastic town of Nashville, TN and both are active supporting the local SQL Server user group.  In one of those ironic twists of 21st-century life, we might see each other more in a given year in other cities than in our own home town, simply because we both speak and travel a lot.  If you’re considering growing your professional credentials by writing, and it certainly is one of the best ways to grow your personal brand, then I recommend you read all of the “Why We Write” posts in Louis’ blog series.  In my interview, I tried to give Louis really thoughtful and insightful answers.  The core of my advice to potential writers in the answer to question number 5.  Please read it and tell me what you think.  The full blog post and interview:

Why We Write, #6 by Louis Davidson with Kevin Kline: http://sqlblog.com/blogs/louis_davidson/archive/2013/06/05/why-we-write-6-an-interview-with-kevin-kline.aspx

Richard Douglas: Speaking and Presentation Skills

My friend and former coworker at Quest Software, Richard Douglas, has also put together a very nice interview series which is predominantly IT experts from the UK.  Richard has some very insightful questions and a rather different strategy.  His questions are much more focused on developing skills as a good speaker.  It’s been very gratifying to see Richard grow in stature as a database expert over in the UK and I’m looking forward to even more great community work from him.  An example of the interesting sort of questions he came up with for the interview include how to make a presentation not only useful, but how can the speaker project it with authority and charisma?  That’s not the sort of question I get every day.

Read my answer to this question and many more here: http://sql.richarddouglas.co.uk/archive/2013/01/new-years-aspirations-kevin-kline-presenting.html#ixzz2MtjkVRb6.

Tim Ford: Interpersonal and Communication Skills

Tim Ford (blog |twitter) is a long-time SQL Server pro, who’s also a very energetic volunteer and user group leader.  One of his very cool side projects is the SQL Cruise.  Tim has been running the SQL Cruise for many years now and it’s one of my favorite ways to conduct training.  We have a full day of training every day that we’re at sea.  We do excursions together.  We do “office hours” every evening with lots of time to discuss individual problems, career development, and focus on individual mentoring.  A while back, Tim conducted an audio interview and, for some reason, I’m only now getting around to post it.

Please give it a listen and let me know what you think: http://db.tt/UHJK5ojc. (This is a Dropbox file. I’m not really sure how it’ll behave if you do not have Dropbox installed. Let me know if it doesn’t work as expected).

Rodney Landrum and SQLBeats: Looking Over the Horizon

Rodney Landrum (Twitter |Blog) has been putting out great content for Simple-Talk for quite a long time now.  In fall of 2012, we got together and recorded a podcast which was really fun and, at times, funny. Here is the full podcast. Rodney told me that he laughed at several points while editing.  That makes me happy!

 

Most of all, I’d like to hear your feedback.  Let me know what you think by posting a comment here, mentioning this on Twitter, or social media like Facebook or LinkedIn.  Many thanks,

-Kevin

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Comments

  1. I’ve started putting together a list of overall career advice for IT people. It’s not technology specific. It’s some of the advice I’ve been given over the last 15 years.

    http://chrisbarba.com/2013/07/13/career-advice/

  2. Really love the quote: “There are NO information technology problems. There are business problems which are solved with information technology.”
    I agree 100%.
    Better understanding of the business will enable the IT professional to provide efficient solutions.

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