This month’s T-SQL Tuesday from Riley Major (b|t) asks us to figure out a way to give back to the community and then write about it. I’m going to go with the option to write about how and why I got started since I am already heavily involved with the community.
My first involvement with community was in 2004 at PASS Summit. At that conference, I attended two sessions that would change my life forever. One was about volunteering for PASS, and the other was titled something like ‘How to make a name for yourself’ – basically how to become well known in the community and possibly become an MVP. I decided to volunteer for PASS and signed up before leaving Orlando. I was also about to complete my master’s degree, so I knew I would have some extra free time which I could fill with writing articles. It took me two months to get that first article written and published to SQLServerCentral, but I was hooked.
Initially, I didn’t think about volunteering and writing as ways to give back exactly. I was just looking for interesting things to do. I really didn’t think about the fact that my efforts would help people all over the world learn more about SQL Server. I also didn’t realize that so many opportunities would open up for me or that I would make so many friends in the community.
If I have to narrow down what I’m most proud of, I’d have to mention two things. The first is my book Beginning T-SQL, now in its 3rd edition. The second is teaching in the CoderGirl program for LaunchCode. I have been teaching T-SQL and SSRS to women who want to make career changes as well as developing the curriculum for this class. I’m hoping that the curriculum can be used by LaunchCode in other cities around the country. It’s a lot of work, but very rewarding.
By giving back to the community, be that writing, presenting, teaching, or leading a user group, I’m making a difference in the world. My life has been enriched beyond my wildest dreams. I highly recommend taking the initial step by writing that first blog post, speaking at your local group, or just reaching out to some of us for advice on how to get started. You’ll be glad you did!