Times Are Tough. Companies are struggling to survive and layoffs common. There is very little budget (company or personal) to get yourself the training that you need to keep your skills current or allow you to move up to the next level.
Managers frequently find themselves with no budget for staff training, so even when you are able to provide a strong business case you aren’t going to get the opportunity (short of paying for it yourself).
Get Some Free Training
The SQL Server community is quite amazing in the resources that it provides to help it’s members new and old with scripts, advice and also training. All that needs to happen is for you to actually utilize these resources and learn something new.
Free one day training events in locations all around the US. Run by volunteers and supported by vendors, SQL Saturday was started by Andy Warren, Brian Knight and Steve Jones it has recently been acquired by PASS. I like to equate it to a mini-PASS Summit as you’ll find a bunch of presentations for different skill sets with different areas of focus.
Take 30 minutes and learn something. With the tagline “No Fluff, Just Stuff” Patrick LeBlanc started SQL Lunch, it’s aim being to provide you with intense compressed knowledge without the filling. Along with providing a fresh new live webinar every couple of weeks you’ll find all of the old presentations hosted at the website where you can get to them any time.
SQL Community Webinars
Hosted up on the Pragmatic Works site a group of authors from the SQL community have provided their time and knowledge and are hosting live webinars. Supported by WROX, SQL Server Central and Pragmatic Works February was all based around SQL Server 101 with March focusing on BI. All of the webinars are recorded so you can go back and watch them whenever you are ready.
Microsoft Webcast, Videos & Labs
You can head out to Microsoft to find a great deal of learning materials. You’ll find webcasts both live and recorded, technet videos, podcasts and most importantly virtual labs. It can be a challenge to set up some of the complex environments that are needed for learning certain things such as peer to peer replication, having these labs eliminates that as a problem. It provides you a great opportunity for hands on learning. You can check out sections for SQL 2008, 2005 and BI.
These are just a few of the resources out there. The resources are great, but it is up to you to take advantage of them.
A SQL Saturday will take you away from your family for a day, but it provides you with a lot, the other items listed you could take at work. Speak to your manager, tell them that you can get some training and it won’t cost them anything other than an hour or two of your time a week, a pretty easy sell.