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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    4

    Wink I want to be a cowgirl...(not really, I really want to be a db developer)

    I am 41 years old.

    I have a BS in MIS, an AS in Software Development, and an MBA in Info Syst.

    About 10 years ago, I worked in an IT department of a local hospital as a help desk tech. Did this for about 3 years. That’s the extent of my hands on experience.

    I would like to be a database developer.

    I started studying for the MOS Access 2010 certification and I’ll probably pass it.

    But, how do I get a job? I have a full time position in the postal service and Ive been there 17 years.

    No, I havent been able to find an IT position within the company and dont expect to.

    I just dont want all that study to go to waste. Not to mention the money I could be making. Would making up a database, say in Access, be enough for experience to get me in the door?

    Can I go in the door making at least $60K? How? I live in Birmingham, AL. Do I need to move?

    Am I too old to ‘start over’? Would it be stupid for me to leave the so-called security of the government job? (Even with the turmoil the post office is going through)?

    I’ve given you my so called credentials thus far, and as you can see I have NO practical experience, plenty of academics, foundation, but no hands dirty work.

    So, Id like to go the way of the SQL Server grasshopper. Where do I start Senseis?

    I read about certification and how I should really get experience before trying for certification.

    So where do I start with SQL Server qualification?

    How do I get a job?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    In front of the computer
    Posts
    15,579
    First off, nothing happens overnight. It will take several steps and it will take you a few weeks or months for each step. You need to be just a bit patient to work through this process.

    The hardest nut to crack for someone reinventing themselves at mid-life is getting experience. There are opportunities out there to start at the ground level and work your way up, but those are few and far between for the six figure job with a corner office. However, those opportunities are readily available for volunteers.

    Pick any volunteer or charity organization that suits your personal needs and goals, and offer to help them with their "IT problems"... Every one of them that I've ever seen has problems, and there is a chronic shortage of geeks willing to help so it makes a great way for people to get started.

    Just FYI, with the present restructuring that is occuring within the postal system it is quite possible that you may be able to find a project or a position there!

    -PatP
    In theory, theory and practice are identical. In practice, theory and practice are unrelated.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    221B Baker St.
    Posts
    486
    But, how do I get a job? I have a full time position in the postal service and Ive been there 17 years.
    How long do you have to be there to get a pension?

    No, I havent been able to find an IT position within the company and dont expect to.
    Depending on the upcoming changes, some of the IT people who can retire may do that. Might be a way for you to get a "foot in the door".

    Would making up a database, say in Access, be enough for experience to get me in the door?
    Not anyplace that i've supported, but it would be good experience.

    Can I go in the door making at least $60K? How? I live in Birmingham, AL. Do I need to move?
    $60k may be a bit high starting out. . . Depending on what you want to do, there is work in Huntsville and Ft Gunter (Montgomrey). Either might be a bit of a commute.

    So, Id like to go the way of the SQL Server grasshopper. Where do I start Senseis?
    I read about certification and how I should really get experience before trying for certification.
    So where do I start with SQL Server qualification?
    Am I too old to ‘start over’?
    Too old - Heavens no . . . What you DO need to think about is what do you want to do for the next several to 25 years? I would suggest you invest in some current SQLServer training. One of the "things" that has hurt our profession is the number of certifications obtained with little or no qualification. Learn/believe that YOU are your security. "They" may be gone or you may decide you're "outta there".

    How do I get a job?
    Looking for work can be more work the actually working. . . When you decide to change jobs, spend part of every evening (if you work days<g>) looking for opportunities. Start a file of employment opportunity web sites. For technical jobs, dice.com has appeal (to me).

    One other thing you might do is look at the jobs listed on the State of Alabama web site. If memory serves, there are often entry level jobs posted and the main way in the door is via a test given at intervals. Passing the test can get you on what is called a "register" or something similar (seen these on several different state sites) and when some group has an opening, they have to pull from the current list of people on that register.

    Good Luck!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    4

    Thanks much.

    Well hello homey Papadi.
    Thank you so much, your advice was sound and quite thoughtful. I actually have 16 or 17 more years before I can get a full retirement. Do you work for the govt? Commuting to Montgomery or Huntsville would be of very little consideration for me. Besides the fact I love to drive, actually working in my field of choice and getting paid very nicely for it would make the drive that much sweeter.
    I also got a great deal of good advice from ITCareerCoach.com. I definitely have my work cut out for me. My concern isnt if I have the ability, but if I actually have the commitment level necessary. I cant say this is my passion in life, but then again I have no idea what that is. It was almost overwhelming just to read the list of steps involved in 'getting ready'. I didnt really know where to start. I decided that I have a good bit of the theory and foundation of database design, so I would start working in SQL Server Express with MySQL. Does that sound feasible, or do I even know what Im talking about?
    Last edited by purrfkt1; 05-27-12 at 03:59.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    221B Baker St.
    Posts
    486
    Hello,

    No, i don't "work" for the gov't. I have contracted to several Federal agencies, several state agencies, and some counties/cities though. Gov't contracts are a bit less than half of my work. I've been contracting/consulting since 1978.

    The commitment level is quite important - whether it is IT or something else. If you are going to do something for "the rest of your (working) life", it had best be something you really enjoy. This is usually (almost always) more important the a larger salary for something you hate.

    The last time i downloaded SQL Server Express, it had everything included - no need (then at least) to download an SQL front-ent.

    If you intend to work with SQL Server, i'd suggest working on some sample apps - either as part of some formal training or trying to get it all from books / internet. I suspect many organizations might hire at the entry level, but not at the DBA level.

    Right now (Spring 2012), i believe going into SQL Server is feasible.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    4
    Thanks so much for the advice. Im gonna try to see if I really have what it takes to work in this area. Tell me something, how many hours daily would you say you spend on the computer? I guess I ask because I think if this is my passion, wouldnt I be at the computer at every spare moment? I had a three day weekend for the holiday and the only time I even looked at my computer was to play a game.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    In front of the computer
    Posts
    15,579
    To be successful as a DBA, I think that you need to have passion. That passion can be for databases, for people, for technology, etc. but you still need passion of some kind.

    There's nothing wrong with taking a holiday weekend away from the computer. There's nothing wrong with taking a vacation. You need to do those things, and everyone ought to do them on a regular basis. The downside to being a DBA is that if you're good at it you will become part of the infrastructure within the company, and you'll start to get calls at all hours when systems go down unexpectedly... That's when being part of a team is important, because sometimes you'll have to take those calls for others and sometimes those others will take calls for you!

    Being a DBA can be a wild ride and a ton of fun if you do it right. There are endless opportunities to learn, to help others, and to make a buck or two in the process. As you might have guessed, I love what I do!

    -PatP
    In theory, theory and practice are identical. In practice, theory and practice are unrelated.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    221B Baker St.
    Posts
    486
    As you don't currently "live" computers, the time spent over the weekend wouldn't indicate anything that i can think of (other than you have a life and chose to spend it away from a monitor. . .). If you primarlily use your pc for games or e-mail (or social networking), you still wouldn't spend so much time there usually.

    If you start studying and working on computers, i suspect your time in front one will increase over time. Until you get "hooked", if you do, it won't be your passion.

    I spend more than 10 hours a day on one system or another. The last 15 years, i've spent several hours most days providing online technical support - similar to this forum or for clients. The good news is that i don't sleep so much, which is also the bad news<g>.

    This kind of work is my enjoyment and i've been most fortunate that i get paid to do this. I don't know what i'd do if i had to get a "real" job . . . All of my clients have insisted i be able to connect for more than 20 years - using dial-up with rather slow connections back then. They have not yet gone along with work-from-home - if you are not in the building, you might not be working<g> Especially on government contracts.

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