Matt Velic

1. Everyone’s an accidental DBA (or database professional) – what’s your story? How’d you become a SQLPerson?

I think my story is common enough: IT Director dropped the then DBA and had a meeting with my team. It was decided that I’d take over the administrative duties while my coworker would focus more on reporting via SSRS. Before that point, the then DBA had shown me a few “emergency” things I could do if he were out of office. I’ve still got those notes, and it’s a little scary how wrong it is in someplaces and threadbare advice all over. It’s going to make for an interesting blog post some day.

I do need to point out that I wasn’t hired as a database professional at the Foundation. I was brought on during a database conversion, and after that I supported the Development (Fundraising) department administratively – mostly through gifts processing, but also working with donors, helping write policies and procedures – the usual kind of department support minutiae.

Still, I didn’t become a SQL Person for a few months after the DBA had been let go. The database was slow, but nothing seemed broken, and so I had this fear about touching it since I could inadvertantly screw up something out of gross curiosity. Sadly, I don’t remember exactly how I figured out that I needed more training. I know it wasn’t an “event” of some kind, and nothing “broke.” But I started finding and reading blogs, and I eventually found the sqlpass.org website and jumped into webinars and Twitter. By the time I was sent to my first official training (an Intro to SQL Server 2005 Learning Tree course), I had already surpassed all the knowledge that the instructor gave us. And I saw some advice given that wasn’t the most sound.

It was soon after the Learning Tree course that SQLCruise was announced and I went for it. The rest has been an exciting ride.

2. What’s your favorite part of your current gig?

The parts where I get to solve problems with SQL Server. Sounds funny, to be sure, but as I explained above, I wasn’t hired as a DBA at the Foundation. While I’ve taken on a lot of responsibility in that area, I continue to support the Development Department as well, and often times those responsibilities take priority. At the time of this writing (December, 2010), we’re in our busiest time of the year as everyone has to get in their last minute gifts for deductions.

3. Complete this sentence: “If I could do anything else, I would…”

Write fiction. I’ve written two drafts for novels, though neither were particularly good. But I enjoyed the process immensely. My favorite kinds of stories are science fiction and dystopean fantasies, and I’m hoping with enough planning and practice, I’ll write a good one myself.

4. Complete this sentence: “When I’m not working I enjoy…”

Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of SQL Server books to continue to build up my knowledge. When I’m not doing that I like to read non-SQL Server books (though I can’t remember the last time that I have), play XBox360 (my gamertag is mvelic, see you on Live), keep up with blogs and Twitter.

5. Complete this sentence: “I think the coolest thing in technology today is…”

Is SQL Server a cop-out answer? I feel like I’m still learning so much everyday that it’s always pretty cool.

Outside of the database world, I find the stuff that modders have been doing with Android to be pretty interesting. And I’ve seen some cool Arduino projects too. Would love to get more serious (read: understand) those technologies, but I can only take on one thing at a time right now, and that technology is SQL Server.

6. Complete this sentence: “I look forward to the day when I can use technology to…”

Completely automate my job? Is there a PowerShell script for that?

I’m not sure how to answer this question. I like to help people, both directly and through causes (such as where I work). I don’t think that I’ll program a database that will cure cancer or find basic needs for the homeless, but as long as I can use technology to help support the causes that are working towards these goals, I’m golden. I guess that’s a roundabout way of stating, “I want to use technology to change the world,” but in a way I do.

7. Share something different about yourself. (Remember, it’s a family blog!)

I’ll share a few things:

I attained by Bachelor’s in Fine Art, specifically sculpture, video and installation. (In the art world, I’d be termed “New Media.”) I didn’t do it because art is fluffy, I did it because creating art is challenging.

One of the afforementioned novels was written on typewriter. Three typewriters to be exact. And it felt like sculpture as I built it from the ground up, one page at a time.

Whenever I go home to Cleveland, OH, I have to get myself some polish food. My favorite place thus far has been Sokolowski’s (http://www.sokolowskis.com).

Originally published .

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  1. [...] a SQLPerson! Yes, that too, but Andy Leonard and Brian Moran – co-owners of SQLPeople™ – have invited me to [...]

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