Monday, July 20, 2015

Getting started: Sharing your Oracle Database Developer experience

Last week, I was emailing back and forth with Paul, who is a senior developer/architect at a major financial firm. He is widely respected within the company, a valued resource for many development teams. He has also garnered the respect of the PL/SQL development team.

Yet Paul is not well known outside of his company. He does not use Twitter, does not have a blog.

I encouraged him to share his knowledge publicly and he asked me: "How should I get started?"

My first instinct was to say:
  • Register on the OTN Community!
  • Start a blog!
  • Start a Twitter account!
  • Set up a Facebook page!
  • Join LinkedIn!
  • etc.
etc. But then I reflected back on the effort it's taken me, "Oracle celebrity" me, to build up my Twitter following, get people to read the posts on my blog, and I decided to hold off on the instinctive response and instead ask myself:

How can someone who is technically strong but without name recognition contribute to the community in a way that doesn't feel like a waste of time (as in: "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it....")?

So here goes:

1. Sure, go ahead and make sure you are fully social media-augmented. Create a Twitter account (and follow me @sfonplsql and oddly enough @stevefeuerstein). Create your Facebook page. Create your LinkedIn account. Make sure you are registered in the OTN Community. Etc.

Then follow people you respect who are present in these ecosystems. This is an incredibly important thing to do for all Oracle technologists (by which I mean: follow me! :-) ). Compared to many other programming communities, Oracle Database developers (SQL, PL/SQL, etc.) are not present to great numbers on Twitter. This means that the "big names" in this same arena lag behind the counts you will see, say, in the SQL Server world. 

And that sends the wrong signal about the vibrancy and breadth of our community. It's a numbers game and we need all of you to "be a number."

2. Make yourself heard on existing forums and popular accounts. Basically the advice "Go where everyone is and participate". 

Once you follow enough people on Twitter, you will have ample opportunity to read and respond to tweets in your area of experience. Ask questions, add nuance to a tweet, share your specific experiences. Go to StackOverflow and take a shot at answering questions. 

Do you read blogs of your favorite programmers and authors? Enter comments on their posts, adding your experiences, asking questions. Bloggers love getting comments and love answering questions. 

3. [With all proper approvals from your employer] Contribute to or otherwise support open source projects for Oracle Database developers. While open source doesn't play a very big role in our lives now, it can only increase over time. Check out the following:
  • OraOpenSource - "Build great open source products for Oracle."
  • Alexandria Library - "A collection of various utility packages for PL/SQL, as well as links to useful libraries hosted and maintained elsewhere."
Don't expect your life to be changed overnight. It takes time to be noticed in a world in which everyone has a voice, and we all go on and on.

Do you have other suggestions for getting started, building a following, sharing your expertise? Please, then, post a comment!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Steve, An interesting post. This helped push me over the edge and I decided to take the plunge and have started a blog about sql tuning.
    https://community.oracle.com/people/n1ckst/blog?customTheme=otn

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