Contributing to Community

This post is a response to this month’s T-SQL Tuesday #102 prompt by Riley Major. T-SQL Tuesday is a way for SQL Server users to share ideas about different database and professional topics every month.

The prompt I’ve chosen to write about this month is how and why I got started contributing to the SQL Server community.


About a year ago, I was determined to improve my presentation skills.  I knew that in order to do that I needed to get more practice speaking.

I already was at my max for presenting at local user groups, conferences, etc… because at some point it becomes too cost and time prohibitive to travel to more events.  As an alternative, I decided that if I couldn’t get more practice by speaking in person, I could at least film myself presenting.

And I figured if I’m already filming myself presenting, I might as well put a little extra polish on it and make the content available for others to watch.

And that is how I started filming weekly videos about SQL Server.

SQL Server Videos

There are already plenty of great SQL Server presentations on YouTube, spanning a plethora of topics from a variety of experts who know way more about SQL Server than me.

Whenever I want to learn about a SQL Server topic, I search for something like “SQL Server backups” or “SQL Server columnstore indexes” on YouTube.  There are plenty of great recorded presentations, virtual chapter screencasts, Q&As, and other tutorials for learning almost any topic you can imagine.

However, sometimes I’m not in the mood to watch in-depth hour long presentations.  Sometimes I want to watch a short, informative, regularly scheduled entertaining SQL videos – and this is where I saw a gap in programming.

So what better way to get what you want than by scratching your own itch.  I figured if I want to watch that type of SQL Server video, then I’m sure other people out there want to watch those same kinds of short SQL videos too.

Bert, the Director

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a movie maker.  In particular, I was entranced by special effects, so I made movies with friends that involved plenty of lightsabers, explosions, and green screen effects all throughout middle school and high school.

So while making SQL videos wasn’t going to be totally new territory, I sure was unprepared for all of the initial work involved.

For the first three months, I was spending 15-20 hours per week writing, creating demos, shooting, editing, publishing, and marketing my videos.  Over time I’ve cut this process down to 8-10 hours a week, a more manageable amount of work that I can mostly get done on weekend mornings before the rest of the house wakes up.

Results

Making videos about SQL Server has been an amazing experience.  Not only do I personally feel fulfilled creating something week after week that improves my own skills, but it’s rewarding to receive positive feedback via comments, messages, and emails that I’m also helping others become better SQL developers.

Contributing has also made me appreciate how amazing the #sqlfamily community truly is.  Everyone I talk to is wonderful and supportive, and everyone I meet wants to see one another succeed.

Your Turn

If you aren’t already, I hope you consider contributing to the community .  Whether it be via blog posts, code contributions, presenting, tweeting, or making videos, giving back to the SQL Server community will grow your own skills and allow you to meet some really great people.

It can be scary putting yourself out there publicly, but don’t let that stop you.  If you give it your best then the SQL Server community won’t let you down.

Thanks for reading. You might also enjoy following me on Twitter.

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