I will the first speaker at the FOSDEM MySQL and Friends Devroom and unlike the other speakers I will not be presenting on new technical developments, better ways to run MySQL, or anything technical. But it may be the most important talk of the day. How can we grow the MySQL Community?
How do we attract new developers and database administrators and then guide them through the steps to a ‘journeyman’ level before showing them the way to becoming seniors in their fields? There is a shortage of talent and this cuts two ways. First hiring managers get frustrated in their searches for talent and then they reduce the scope of what they want out of their database. Second the same hiring manager later will assume there is still no talent for them to hire and alter their demand accordingly. I want to bring in as many people as possible into the MySQL ecosystem because there are jobs out there in an ever increasingly tough economy and because I think MySQL solves so many problems efficiently. Nobody starts as a fully fledged developer or DBA and the start of the career path needs exposition, easing, and encouragement. So how do we grow our numbers?
There is a very similar community to the MySQL Community and that is found in the PHP world. In the last few years they have really pulled together to bring in newbies, tighten relationship between subgroups (efforts like the Framework Interop group), provide mentoring at all personal development levels, establishing active career coaching for experienced developers, and even mental health support. This has all been done by the PHP Community and they are growing, cohesive, and frankly I am envious.
A strong user community brings value to a product. I am seeking your input on how can get we more of ‘us’? What can we do to improve certification to make it a truce touchstone of a job candidates value? How can we best leverage groups like the International Oracle User Group’s MySQL Council and other sources of customer feedback to guide the development of the MySQL Products. What information are you seeking that you are not getting and what is the best way to get it to you? Are their better ways to train novices in subjects like data normalization, replication, account management, security or what have you that we have missed. What can we do to help you network with you peers? Do need a mentor or want to mentor (and yes you can be both at the same time).
So how do we grow the MySQL Community and help grow MySQL?