ThatJeffSmith

My New Gig

The good folks at Oracle, namely @krisrice, approached me this past Summer with an offer I found myself unable to refuse. The short version would be something like, ‘Hey, come join our SQL Developer team.’

So next week, I will start the next chapter of my professional life as the Product Manager for Oracle’s primary database development tool. This is a very exciting moment for me. I remember first seeing Oracle in my senior year of college. I took a computer science course dedicated to databases. I vaguely remember learning some algebra and what ‘Boyce-Codd Normal Form’ was, but it was seeing SQL*Plus and writing ‘SELECT * FROM…’ that really caught my attention and imagination.

I had come to regret majoring in computer science as I pretty much sucked at programming. I loved computers, but lacked the ability to see code the way an artist views their paint. I was (and continue to be) a hacker. So when I saw that there was this big world of databases out there, I suddenly knew what I wanted to do.

My first job out of college was with a very small ISV and we sold a solution that stored its data in Oracle. I was instantly the ‘DBA on call.’ I was doing upgrades, migrations, and recoveries and I loved every minute of it. You folks already know what my next job was like, so you know what I mean when I say that Oracle has been figuratively paying for my mortgage all these many years. Now they will literally be doing so! I’m not sure it’s a ‘dream come true’ type of situation, but as far as my career path goes, it’s pretty darn close.

What about that OTHER tool you used to harp on about for the past 10 years Jeff?

That ‘other’ tool will always have a special place in my heart, but now that I am working for Oracle, I won’t be talking about it anymore. I’ll leave my posts up on the ol’ blog, but it wouldn’t be fair to Toad or Quest (and my new employer!) to continue talking about it. It almost feels like a divorce of sorts. Many mixed emotions, but I hope we can still be friends. Thank goodness there were no kids to split up!

What is it you’d say ya do here?

Well Bob, I take the requests from the customers and take them to the engineers. Ok, that was a horrible mangling of a classic quote from Office Space, and it’s not even really accurate.

You’ll see me at Oracle User Group conferences and meetings talking and teaching SQL Developer. If I’m not in a city-near-you, then you can find me here and on Twitter. I’ll be sharing my experiences learning the tool as I attempt to fully ‘grok’ it of course, but I’ll also be reaching out to Oracle users everywhere to make sure their experience is optimal.

I’ll be doing other stuff behind-the-scenes, but I’m not behind the curtain yet, so I’m naturally curious about that myself. And that’s exciting in its own right. I’ve had a sense of stability in my job for so long I was a bit scared to leave it. Now I have a chance to start over, but to do so in a place that I already have a really good foundation to rely on. I know what developers and DBAs struggle with. I know what makes many of you tick. I know why you slam your keyboards and throw your mice. Now I get to take that knowledge and apply it to a new space, and that’s going to be really fun for me.

The primary allure for me here was the chance to really have an impact on the productivity of every Oracle database user out there. The opportunity to actually rub shoulders with the Oracle database expert titans and see and take part in the making of the technology I love – that’s just icing on the cake.

Twitter and Blogging Made this All Possible

Thanks to everyone who encouraged me to ‘step it up’ with my online presence, and a big thanks to everyone in the community who has supported me and my ramblings. It’s easy to be passionate about this stuff when you’re surrounded by people who feel the same way.

If you love your job and want to take it to the ‘next level’, then start writing. Even if it’s just micro-blogging via Twitter. It will open doors for you that you didn’t even realize were there. It did for me!