Does MySQL need a mentoring program? I get calls, emails, and other requests for trained MySQL DBAs and Developers. Human Resources, managers, team leads, and entrepreneurs have the need but can not find the bodies. It is easy enough to download MySQL, get it running, and use it. But the next steps seem problematic for many. There are programs like MySQL Marinate and Girl Develop It to provide some hands on help for beginners. Autodidacts can find tons of MySQL Books and on line information. But how do we take the beginners and get them to intermediate or beyond?
How do we support these new comers, give them a hand if needed, a shoulder to cry on, or just provide someone who has been there before to bounce ideas around when needed? How do we pull them into social networks to warn them of pitfalls, pass on information about new technologies, or just be there as a friendly voice when the air movement device is being impacted by non optimal material? How do we pass on best practices, professional guidance, and the norms of our community? There is only so much forums, IRC, and Stack Overflow can handle. Local users groups are good if you have a local user group.
A good place to start is to see what other Open Source projects are doing. PHP Mentorting is a formal, personal, long term, peer to peer mentorship organization focused on creating networks of skilled developers from all walks of life. Read their info and let me know if you think the MySQL Community needs something similar.
Being a mentor has benefits too. There is an old saying that you really do not know a subject until you can pass on your knowledge to someone else. It also helps bring along someone who could replace you if you decided to climb the corporate ladder. Plus you never know what you fledgling might teach you.
So do we need a MySQL mentoring program?
I think that would be awesome. It would have and could still help me a lot because every place of my employment I have been a one man shop and nobody wants to discuss database stuff. I have focused my career on MySQL and I read a lot and try stuff out on my own but have found there is no place to share commonly. It sometimes feels there is no middle ground with MySQL, either you know a whole lot or you feel like you know nothing lol. This mentoring is a great idea.
I share the sentiments with Greg, there are a lot of one man band MySQL DBAs out there, and probably feel no matter how much they read, experiment, etc. they don’t really know if they are really improving their skillset. I was that guy for about 2 years, until I couldn’t handle the MySQL workload and scale I to had to air my views with management. I’ve been mentoring MySQL to two other junior MySQL DBA’s from scratch, with someone experienced on the way to address the isolation and general lack of MySQL knowledge in my department. My mentoring strategy is to provide a mix of assigning small real tasks that are important to the organisation and building up as they become more experienced, and following a general MySQL education using Oracle’s MySQL Certification Program as a guide. The certification programme is not ideal for mentoring because it’s very vague, but it’s an ok starting point for an experienced MySQL DBA like myself who needs to share knowledge in some structured way with staff who want to develop their skillset. I’m enjoying the mentoring process because it’s challenging my own understanding of MySQL. Win-Win.
In short, does there need to be a MySQL mentoring programme? Yes.
A mentoring program would be good.
I have worked in IT now for about 20 years. I have a grad degree in database technologies and have worked a little with Sybase and Oracle, and I have setup a LAMP stack on my own machine. It is going to be my responsibility to be a go to guy regarding MySQL databases in a small company, so I definitely need to get smart about it. I would be willing to pay an experienced MySQL DBA to mentor me. I realize how important it is to be really experienced especially handling databases, so if any of you can point me to people who would be willing to mentor me, I’d really appreciate it. I have a background with UNIX/Linux systems. Thanks for responses and ideas.