This year, I’ll be competing in DB2′s Got Talent again. In 2012, I was voted off the island somewhere between 7th and 10th place. I was really crushed, and hesitated to join the competition again this year until a friend put it in perspective for me. He said:
If your son was a freshman in high school and missed the cut of a team by 1-2 votes after busting his tail for the summer training and said “Mom, Coach is asking me to come try again – but that was so much hard work last time. I don’t know if I should?” What would you say?
I would tell him that if it was something that he wanted to do, or something that he thought would have a positive impact on his life, he should try again. One shouldn’t stop trying just because one fails the first time. I’ve always been an overachiever, and one of the challenges of an overachiever is a tendency to avoid things one might fail at. It is something I’ve been working on in myself for a long time.
What DB2′s Got Talent Did For Me in 2012
DB2′s Got Talent in 2012 was instrumental in driving more hits to my blog. It also helped me make crucial contacts that helped me meet influential people at the IDUG NA 2012 conference. It was absolutely critical in getting me the opportunity to write my developerWorks article (which was published in November: http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/data/library/techarticle/dm-1211packagecache/index.html).
Straight out of college, my goal was to be a DBA. When I had accomplished that and had a good 5 years of experience under my belt, I started looking for a new goal. But the truth was that I loved my job, and I was good at it, so I didn’t want to move into management or architecture or one of the more common paths. My new goal became to be a “DB2 Guru”. I even put that on my resumé.
Well, I’m sure moving down that path. I’m writing a blog entry a week or more. I’m a published author. In 2013, I’ll do my first presentation at a major technical conference. But DB2′s Got Talent and the DB2Night Show get a lot of the credit for helping me get my name out there.
Do you disagree with some of my posts? Do you think you know more than me in one or more areas? Do you simply want to go down the DB2 Guru path too? Are you a fairly new DBA who likes to write or present? Then join DB2′s Got Talent with me! All you have to do is to fill out an application at: http://www.dbisoftware.com/db2nightshow/db2sgottalent.php
The only requirements are the time and willingness to compose and present short (4-10 minute) presentations on specific areas of DB2, and not having presented at more than 3 conferences (if you work for IBM, only one conference presentation is allowed). It helps to have friends who will be willing to vote for you, too. Even if you don’t think that you have the expertise that some other DBAs do, you don’t have to. You only have to research and/or know the specific areas that you present on. Last year’s winner had been a DBA for only 2 years!
Frankly, I don’t do it for the prizes. They’re pretty nice too, but they’re just icing on the cake of the career benefits you’ll see. The prizes are:
- 1st Prize: One FREE IDUG Conference Registration to any IDUG Conference in 2013 (North America, Europe, or Australia) provided by IDUG, plus up to $1,500 USD travel expense allowance provided by DBI. Approximate value of prize package: $3,500 USD
- 2nd Prize: One FREE DB2 Symposium Registration (3 Days) to any Event in 2013 provided by KBCE, plus up to $1,000 USD travel expense allowance provided by HLS Technologies.
- 3rd Prize: Apple iPad (approximate value $500) provided by Responsive Systems.
- Finalist Prizes: Each of the top 10 Contestants that are invited by the judges to participate in Finals Shows will win $50 Amazon.com Gift Certificates provided by Triton Consulting.
If you’re not allowed by your company to accept such things, I think Scott Hayes would probably be willing to work out a donation to a charity as an alternate prize.
If you compete, the worst that can happen is that you will fail. But even in failing, you may find benefits, like I did.
Even if you Don’t Compete, Attend!
Even as a contestant, there was something I learned each show that I came away rearing to apply to my databases. I was taking notes each episode, not just on the strengths and weaknesses of my competitors, but also on what I learned from them and ideas they inspired. I learned such valuable things from people who are facing the same challenges I am. Even if you’re not interested in competing, and even if you don’t want to attend just to support me, go to learn the stuff IBM doesn’t tell you or that isn’t obvious.