Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Shortcut to expertise?

I received this request today:

"I want to learn PL/SQL but doubt I can; I want to understand,write and fix other's code, but where do I begin? I do not like sticking to code for hours; my head hurts. But I would like to go from complete ignorance to be like you!"

That set back in my Swopper chair for a moment. He wants to go from complete ignorance to being "just like Steven" without sticking his head deep inside code for hours.


Well, first of all, to anyone wanting to learn PL/SQL: do not doubt yourself! You can do it. PL/SQL is a relatively easy language to learn, especially compared to Java.

Second, I don't think are a whole lot of shortcuts you can take. That is, if you want to be an expert programmer, you will stick your head into code for hours. But:

1. Take lots of breaks! You don't have to get headaches.

2. Certainly learning from obsessive people like me can accelerate you along that learning curve to expertise.

In fact, you may want to consider attending one (or more) of my Fast Track PL/SQL webinars, sponsored by Quest. There is one more this month, and then we will likely plan another series soon.

Beyond that, I offer the following advice to "newbies" and others seeking assistance on PL/SQL:

http://tahiti.oracle.com - Oracle documentation available online
http://www.oracle.com/technology/tech/pl_sql/index.html - OTN PL/SQL information
http://www.oracle.com/technology/pub/columns/plsql/index.html - links to articles on OTN
http://oracle-developer.net - detailed explorations into various PL/SQL topics by Adrian Billington
http://forums.oracle.com/forums/forum.jsp?forum=75 - the PL/SQL forum at Oracle
http://asktom.oracle.com - the amazing Ask Tom column

In addition, there are a number of "beginner books", including:
Learning Oracle PL/SQL http://oreilly.com/catalog/9780596001803 (I am a co-author on this one)
Oracle PL/SQL for Dummies http://www.amazon.com/Oracle-SQL-Dummies-Michael-Rosenblum/dp/0764599577

Finally, I also encourage you to play the PL/SQL Challenge ( www.plsqlchallenge.com ) - a daily PL/SQL quiz with cash and other prizes!


Unknown said...

OK Steven, the next time someone says they want to be you but not put in the time. Tell them good luck with that. You are amazing at PL/SQL because I think you have been doing it since Diaper; right? :-) I too would like to be a Steven but I'll never be as good as you but that is OK. I have your websites book marked and I read here and there and I would say I do OK at PL/SQL and if I dont know something, I refer back to all my bookmarks and do some more reading.. Take care I hope things are going well.

Islam said...

just wanted to thank you with all feelings of appreciation as I refer to your column at oracle magazine Sep/Oct 2008 'On Signatures and changing Where clause', this column helped me so much in creating a procedure to change where clause dynamically of a table, i was in a very need for something like that in my work,

Eng. Steven, all that can i say is "You're and what you are doing are very appreciated"