About a year ago I saw a video with a guy entering a “SQL Cruise contest” on twitter. At first I thought it was a joke, but it was well made and it made me smile. After that I kept seeing @mvelic and started reading his blog. He’s active in the SQL community (both on twitter and in real life), and has written several good blog-posts.
So, who are you Matt?
I’m a just a guy, originally from Cleveland, OH, and now living and working in Washington, DC. I moved here during college: I majored in Fine Art. I built sculptures and did installations with video and websites and even yarn. After graduation I made the conscious decision to not starve to death, and so I laid down my tools and went to work. I temped around DC, as is fairly average for graduates, but I was a step ahead of most because I had worked while in college. Most of my experience was in fund raising support and office administration.
How did you end up as a DBA?
Well, that’s where the story gets interesting. My final temp gig landed me at the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. They needed help through a database conversion and when I showed some aptitude for that project, they hired me full time to do data entry and fund raising support. A little over a year into the position, the official DBA was let go and his database administration tasks fell to me. At first I really didn’t know what I was doing, but with the community’s help, I was able to overcome many of my shortcomings in a small timeframe.
How do you find time to be active in the community?
I won’t lie, it’s tough sometimes. There are nights (and weekends) where I want to pick up the Xbox controller rather than work on blog posts or troll the internet for new SQL Server resources. But I enjoy doing it. I like to write, and I like to teach, and I like to share what I find. I hope I can continually get better at all these things.
And I won’t claim to be unselfish either: sharing can be a career growing activity. But as I came from an untechnical, temp-job background, I’m so glad to have a career!
If you should pick one thing, what’s the best thing about an active community?
There are so many great things about an active SQL Server community. Based on where I’m at in my life right now, the Best Thing is the feeling of support and camaraderie. I’m a one-man shop covering our fund raising systems. But I have no support. No one to ask advice, kick around ideas, or make plans. Especially through Twitter, I can get this support from the community and it’s filled that vacuum.
What do you do when you’re not in front of your computer(s)?
There’s non-computer time? Lately I’ve been reading fiction again: finished The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly, The Magicians by Lev Grossman and working on Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. If you couldn’t tell, I’m a bit of a sci-fi and fantasy nut. I’ve also been known to partake in strategic board games from time to time, and I do enjoy good food (home cooked or going out). And when things get heavy, I break out the acoustic.