Ten Years on Oracle

Almost exactly ten years ago, as all the Y2K bug projects were quietly winding down, I’d been getting ready for a new decade, which for me was full of uncertainty and promise. It was in 2000 that I got married, and started my first job in the I.T. industry (but not in that order). Many people thought the world was going to end, but for me it felt like the dawn of a new personal era.

After eight years of tertiary study, I’d finally gotten my degree and was fortunate enough to have landed a job as an Oracle analyst programmer at the Valuer General’s Office in Perth. Working there turned out to be a perfect introduction to the industry – I learned a lot about Oracle, about running I.T. projects, and about working productively.

There were some great people there, who mentored me and gently guided me in how to think about database programming. Specifically, it was there I started throwing off the shackles of procedural thinking, to be replaced with a relational approach, thinking about sets of data instead of individual rows.

These mentors never said, “just do it this way because I said so.” They’d allow me to make the mistakes first, then show me the better way, and explain why. For the most part, however, they just let me learn by doing, which (for me at least) is the best way to learn.

Over the last ten years I’ve gained valuable experience in a number of quite different projects, in different types of environments, different team structures, and different kinds of people, all working with Oracle. I’m open to trying new technologies, and always seek opportunities to expand my experience with different languages and software; but I think if I get to the end of my career, having never worked on any system without the Oracle database, I won’t be at all disappointed. It’s certainly not a perfect system, but there’s so much to like, so much to learn and explore.

Only God knows what my future will hold, but if the next ten years are anything like the last, they’ll involve a lot of learning, learning, and more learning. As I get older it might take a greater effort, but I always want to be the kind of person who never takes anything for granted, never assumes something just because someone said it, and who mentors others with patience and grace.

Happy new decade, everyone.

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