Episode 241 – Every Day Actively Practice Your Skills and Recognize Your Strengths and Weaknesses with Kevin Kline

 In Podcasts

Phil’s guest on this episode of the IT Career Energizer podcast is Kevin Kline. He is the Principal Program Manager at Sentry One, a leading provider of award-winning tools for database management and monitoring.

Kevin is a founding board member and former president of the international Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS). He frequently contributes to database technology magazines, websites, and discussion forums.

Kevin is also an author or co-author of several books including SQL In A Nutshell, published by O’Reilly Media which is now in its third edition.

In this episode, Phil and Kevin Kline discuss how seeking out ways to actively practice your skills pays dividends. They talk about why soft skills really matter for IT professionals and how to develop them.

Kevin shares his insights into the future of the IT industry. Including how automation and big data will greatly benefit everyone.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

(4.32) TOP CAREER TIP

Deliberately practice both your tech and soft skills. Do this in an active way. On a daily basis, seek out opportunities to practice what you know as well as learn more. Pay particular attention to your soft skills.

But, don´t do this in a vacuum. Learn alongside others and get a mentor. Someone you can emulate and is a few steps ahead of you in career terms.

 

(8.53) WORST CAREER MOMENT

Some time ago, during a bout of quite deep depression, Kevin struggled with communicating. He became what he describes as closed-lipped. In the end, his team sat down with him and explained that they needed him to change this behavior or step aside.

Understandably, this was a low spot in his career. But, when he opened up to his team about his problem they supported him. Together they were able to work through the situation and become a fully productive unit again.

 

(13.25) CAREER HIGHLIGHT

Stepping out onto a SQL Server (PASS) conference stage, in 2010, and seeing an audience of 6,000, was a career highlight for Kevin. It bought it home to him just how much the community had grown.

He was immensely proud that his voluntary work, and that of others, had paid off to such an extent. In the podcast, he shares several other career highlights.

(16.43) THE FUTURE OF CAREERS IN I.T

Using a great analogy inspired by Downton Abbey, Kevin explains that we are at the stage where the tech we create requires far less maintenance. We are also right on the cusp of apps being able to write themselves, at least partially.

These two changes will lead to developers being free to add value. To be more creative and able to achieve truly amazing things. With the added benefit that all of this can be done very quickly.

 

(20.59) THE REVEAL

What first attracted you to a career in I.T.? – Being able to earn a good living doing work that he loved.

What’s the best career advice you received? – Be aware of how you might be perceived by taking one course of action over another.

What’s the worst career advice you received? – You have to show your power. In the podcast, Kevin shares a story that demonstrates why this is usually a very bad idea.

What would you do if you started your career now? – Helping companies to extract more from their data. Big data has a bright future.

What are your current career objectives? – Technology evangelism. Kevin explains what that is and why it makes sense to get involved.

What’s your number one non-technical skill? – Being an effective communicator. Someone who can sell an idea or position in a way that the audience can understand.

How do you keep your own career energized? – Traveling and public speaking both energize Kevin´s career. But, every now and again, he also takes a complete tech break, which also energizes him.

What do you do away from technology? – Back in 1975, Kevin started playing Dungeons and Dragons, something he still enjoys doing. He is also a keen gardener and reader.

 

(32.31) FINAL CAREER TIP

Spend some time really getting to know yourself. Recognize your strengths and weaknesses. Maybe take some psychometric tests to help you to do this.

This will enable you to truly understand yourself. To be able to identify what you need to work on and what you do well so that you can follow a career path that really works for you.

BEST MOMENTS

(5.34) – Kevin – “Practicing things in a deliberate way improves your skills and pays dividends.”

(6.42) – Kevin – “Soft skills, pay enormous dividends. They enable you to have good conversations and get to the core of things.”

(22.10) – Kevin – “Be aware of how you might be perceived by taking one course of action over another. It will affect your career progress.”

(29.33) – Kevin – “Taking a short break from tech will enable you to refocus and become more productive.”

(32.43) – Kevin – “Consider taking some psychometric tests to learn more about yourself. This will make it easier to identify the right career path.”

 

ABOUT THE HOST – PHIL BURGESS

Phil Burgess is an independent IT consultant who has spent the last 20 years helping organizations to design, develop and implement software solutions. Phil has always had an interest in helping others to develop and advance their careers. And in 2017 Phil started the I.T. Career Energizer podcast to try to help as many people as possible to learn from the career advice and experiences of those that have been, and still are, on that same career journey.

 

CONTACT THE HOST – PHIL BURGESS

Contact Phil through the following Social Media platforms:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/philtechcareer

LinkedIn: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/philburgess

Facebook: https://facebook.com/philtechcareer

Instagram: https://instagram.com/philtechcareer

Website: https://itcareerenergizer.com/contact

Phil is also reachable by email at [email protected] and via the podcast’s website, https://itcareerenergizer.com

Join the I.T. Career Energizer Community on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/groups/ITCareerEnergizer

ABOUT THE GUEST – KEVIN KLINE

Kevin Kline is the Principal Program Manager at Sentry One, a leading provider of award-winning tools for database management and monitoring.

Kevin is a founding board member and former president of the international Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS). He frequently contributes to database technology magazines, websites, and discussion forums.

Kevin is also an author or co-author of several books including SQL In A Nutshell, published by O’Reilly Media which is now in its third edition.

 

CONTACT THE GUEST – KEVIN KLINE

Contact Kevin Kline through the following Social Media platforms:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kekline

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kekline/

Website: https://kevinekline.com/

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