October 11, 2011

The Rewards of 'Expertise'

I've published articles and presented at IDUG conferences worldwide for many years, and every so often I'm asked how I got into writing and speaking. It started with a former employer that recognized the benefits of having its technologists recognized for their expertise. Back then (this was the early 1990s), writing articles and giving presentations seemed a bit overwhelming. What do I write about? What do I talk about?

I finally figured the best thing to cover was the project I was working on. So (again, this was almost 20 years ago) for my first presentation, I discussed the application designed to take advantage of a new DB2 feature called packages. I also went into the benefits of setting collection dynamically through a driver DB2 table. In testing I could update a row for my user ID and switch between different environments.

I submitted the topic and it was selected for a conference. Really, that was it. And that was the beginning of a long, fun and rewarding area of my career. Even with the extra effort involved, it truly is fun and rewarding to share what you've learned with others.

That said, writing and speaking in and of itself doesn't make you an expert. It hasn't made me one. Sure, sometimes I'm called an expert, but as I said, I simply discuss the areas of DB2 with which I'm familiar. DB2 is such a technologically rich database, it's almost impossible to understand it intimately from top to bottom. I'd bet that there's at least one area of DB2 that you know far better than I.

And that's my point, I guess. If you want to write or give presentations, start with what you know and what you've done. A lot of us can learn from it.

On that note, the next IDUG NA conference is May 14-18, 2012, in Denver. If you have an idea for a presentation, please share your expertise.