Finally getting started – studying for Microsoft 70-461

The last couple of months, I’ve kind of drifted, lost sight of my goals.

I wanted to start playing with SQL Server 2008 at work, but I end up always working in Access instead. I’m also pulled in a lot of different directions as I do desktop and network support as well as reporting and still a little bit of clerical work.

The blessing and the curse of working for a small company is that you get to do a lot of different things. On the one hand, it means you’re always busy and always learning. On the other, it’s hard to concentrate on just one task.

Anyway, I studied for and took the MTA: Operating System Fundamentals test instead of studying for a SQL test. I thought, “I’ll get better at this part of my current job before I move on to the next phase of the SQL learning.”

I finally took (and passed) that test last week. I realized while studying for it that I did NOT want to go into the desktop support and/or network engineer stuff. I really do want to play with data.

Refocusing on that, I also realized that it would probably be better to go with the 2012 SQL Server stuff than the 2008, even though a lot of companies are still running on 2008, and even though the company I currently contract with uses 2008.

On Microsoft’s Virtual Academy, there’s a lot of training material for 2012, and none for 2008. That was a very influential factor in my decision. I don’t think you can use the MVA alone to pass the exams, but it is a very helpful supplement.

I’ve purchased the Training Kit and the Joes 2 Pros Volume 1 to get me started.

It took me a bit to get SQL Server 2012 installed [insert long boring story about needing to install Service Pack 1 on my Win 7 laptop before I could get started. . .] but tonight I got it all up and running.

Because of some things that have happened at work lately, I’ve been questioning whether I really want to go in this direction or not. Yeah, I’ve got the math degree and it seems like a good fit with database stuff, but can I actually do the work? [The old impostor syndrome rearing its ugly head].

There are days when I figure out something complicated and I think, “YEAH, this is it!” and there are times when I mess up on something simple and think, “Who the hell am I fooling? Myself mostly.”

Tonight, I started reading the Training Kit and Chapter 1, Lesson 1 is about mathematical relations, set theory and predicate logic. I was having flashbacks to Modern/Abstract Algebra classes and felt like it’s validation of what I’m doing. Yes, this is the right direction now.

I finally feel like I’m on my way.