Learning New Skills

A lot of folks have taken advantage of more time at home recently to pick up new skills and hobbies. In my case, I have started learning more about 3D printing. I bought an entry level 3D printer about a year ago to have something fun to do with my grandson during the summer. The model I chose is so easy to use, that its Amazon page shows a photo of a grandmother and her grandchildren using it. The only problem I found is that the bed is tiny, only 150 mm x 150 mm.

Because I want to print ear savers for healthcare and retails workers, I bought a bigger and better printer with a 300 mm x 300 mm bed. Not only do I have a larger printing surface, I also have dozens (maybe hundreds?) of physical and virtual knobs to turn to get this thing printing well. After futzing with the leveling every evening for two weeks, I finally caved and began using glue stick on the bed to help with adhesion. It’s now printing the ear saver straps perfectly, but I do feel a bit guilty about using glue. One person on a Facebook group dedicated to 3D printing said, “If you have to use glue, you are doing something wrong!” It feels like adding a nolock hint to a T-SQL query. I promise that I’ll keep watching videos and reading articles to learn more about printing, but, in the meantime, I just want to get those ear savers printed!

In addition to seeing lots of people taking up 3D printing as I am, there are people learning new hobbies like knitting, crocheting, cooking, painting, gardening, woodworking and more. It’s also a great time to improve technical skills. One of the things that I have always loved about working as a developer or database administrator is that there is always something new to learn. (Well, I have also hated that, too, since I feel like I am always so far behind on what I need to know.)

Lots of folks are stepping up to offer free online technical training and events, so it’s a great time to pick up new tech skills. I recently presented a session about T-SQL for beginners at a new online conference, Developer Platform Discovery Days (videos). Another group is hosting an online conference about SQL Server internals with more advanced sessions next month called EightKB. Redgate, the owners of Simple Talk, are offering four free courses from the Advocates Team. The classes are:

It’s a great time to learn a new skill or improve your existing skills if you have the extra bandwidth while staying at home.


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