I started to work with databases already in college, but more from the data modelling/business analysis angle. When I moved to the USA in 2000 (just after graduation) I quickly recognized that my language skills are too limited to work as BA, so I went to evening Oracle courses in Philadelphia to deepen by technical skills – SQL, PL/SQL, SQL*Plus, into to administration etc.
And suddenly I realized that I like it even more than playing with ERDs! Also, a bit of a lucky break – one of my teachers recommended me to his former boss. To be fair, I have no idea how I survived that interview – somewhere in the middle of it I realized that this boss is no less than Dr. Paul Dorsey, whose book I was recently quoting in my Master Degree Thesis… Anyways, on February 26th, 2001 Dulcian Inc got a brand new 21-year-old employee with the focus on database development.
And couple of months later I’ve got a task that really shaped my specialization: I needed to write a module that would check for invalid objects in the schema and compile them in the appropriate order of dependencies. So, the set of tools is obvious (now), but at that time I had to discover: data dictionary views, object collections, recursion, and, finally, Dynamic SQL. For my reader/listeners – that list sounds really familiar, isn’t? :-) Looks like Oracle versions change, but favorite toys stay the same!
After that module started to work (I think, even Dr. Paul got surprised!) my field was settled: solving strange/unsolvable database problems using SQL and PL/SQL. That’s pretty much what I still do now – even 14 years later. Bad news – there are lots of such problems. Good news – it’s fun to solve them (and that’s the way I get new stories for books/presentations!)
Not exactly a fairy tale, but it definitely shows that you never know how your career will move forward, especially just after college. By the way, I brought with me to the USA that Russian-translated book by Dr. Paul! It stays right now in the office together with other memorabilia. Here is the scan: