Keeping Up

Posted in: Technical Track

I found I never published this post as it was sitting in my drafts few months now — it was written in 13th February, 2010. I’m publishing it without any changes.

I learn therefore I am!

I’ve just wrote few bits about learning a new technology and after skimming through my Google Reader, I noticed a great post by Gwen Shapira — Deliberate Practice. That’s reminded me about another aspect of learning that I didn’t mention — learning is a continuous process.

There are two aspects…

  • No matter how good I am and how much I know, my knowledge and expertize become outdated relatively quickly these days unless I keep up with the new stuff. Unfortunately, there is so much new technologies these days that I have to be very selective on what I want to follow which is a big challenge in itself. On the other hand, I’d rather be challenged than bored. As DBA’s we are luckier than Developers — their world changes much faster than ours.
  • I forget things I don’t use/do/read about/think about regularly. Refreshing my “old” memory is a must do. This is why I think Chen’s idea of deliberate practice is so great.

Some people are better on keeping the existing tools sharp, while others succeed on the lookout for new ways and techniques. To truly excel, we need to master both.

Continuous process

This photo (it was taken 5 years ago in Australia in one of Sydney’s “wild” parks) reminds me of this continuous learning process — perhaps, it will do the job for you as well.

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About the Author

What does it take to be chief technology officer at a company of technology experts? Experience. Imagination. Passion. Alex Gorbachev has all three. He’s played a key role in taking the company global, having set up Pythian’s Asia Pacific operations. Today, the CTO office is an incubator of new services and technologies – a mini-startup inside Pythian. Most recently, Alex built a Big Data Engineering services team and established a Data Science practice. Highly sought after for his deep expertise and interest in emerging trends, Alex routinely speaks at industry events as a member of the OakTable.

3 Comments. Leave new

Very true, where I saw most the value of continue to reading blogs as a source of continuing education was while working at Pythian. Most of the time it only takes a few minutes a day and the payoff is huge.

Thanks for reminding us,

Marcin Przepiorowski
June 18, 2010 4:14 pm

Hi Alex,

I agree with you that learning is a never ending process. When I taught people on Oracle Courses it was really great as I have to answer a lot of strange questions and explain a lot of thing in details – so I have to keep myself up to date and it was easier than now. Thanks for post and I’m going to join Chen group.

Other approach which I use a lot is a Teddy Bear principle – this example is for developers – – but I’m using it in my work too.


Simon Haslam
June 19, 2010 3:22 am

I agree that, as a consultant, you have to be very selective about what you put your effort into learning. There are great new products/features coming along all the time, and yet many will never be widely adopted (OSE anyone? …or even java in the database really). The secret seems to be to work out early on which are likely to be useful to customers and stay focussed. Of course I’ve made a few poor choices myself along the way..!



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