it took me 16 years of “all about oracle” to be here. started as a programmer/analyst on the mainframe writing PL/I code against SQL/DS and DB2 (PL/I is still by far the coolest language I’ve ever used). That started my SQL career. I bought Oracle version 5.1.5c from Dr. Dobbs Journal for $99.00 in the late 80’s and started building systems with it. Then I was “forced” to use
Sybase, Informix, Ingress, Gupta SQLBase and other “rdbms’s” as well.
I also learned all about databases then — read the theory (like Jim Grays Transaction Processing Book, not really light reading but taught me lots of stuff). Then read the practical (the reference manuals).
So I spent six years as a developer/dba. Even though I was a coder — i found doing things in the database to make tons more sense then writing tons of code to do the same. I actually quit my first job after six years soley for the reason that they wouldn’t let me exploit the software they paid so much for (they were so into this “generic database”, the “database is a commidity”
concept that they had me coding our own two phase commit protocol, our own stored procedure language, our own compilers for the same, our own sql parser — it was frightening. Funny thing is — I meet with customers all of the time
still doing just that!)
the first six years is what really did it. on the job training, reading — tech books (egads — the manuals!) lots of magazines (i was a magazine junkie, dr dobbs, the c programmers journal, you name it).