Saturday, July 3, 2010

A life among databases...

A long time ago, in the early 1980's, I decided to change jobs. I was a young guy, with no real experience of commercial software or anything like that, rather I was a self-taught sysadmin for an ancient UNix system. The company I worked for was in the Telco business, so I looked for another job where I could develop myself and at the same to use my telco knowledge.

I found a Telco startup, privately held. I must say that the fact that it was privately held meant nothing to me at the time. Nothing. They were building a system, the servers were VAXes running VMS, and again a became a sysadmin.

Having been sysadmin at this company for a while, building up the central datacenter (to be honest, in todays words, that was what I was doing, but at the time, I had no real clue. I was mosr enthusiastic and ready to take on any task than I was smart or intelligent or knew what I was doing, really). But I wanted to develop myself, and at the previous job I had learnt to code in C (it was a Unix system after all), so I slowly migrated into database development, managing sysadmin duties on the side.

Still, I wasn't truly professional I think. But I was willing to work and I was persistent and just wouldn't let go. I came to the office dressed in a pair of Jeans and a T-Shirt, and wasn't really aware that sometimes it would be a good idea to dress up or something (this was the 1980's still, so that might have been a good idea back then).

As a developer, I realized that the system used a database, and a SQL database! I had no clue whatsoever what this was. But I started writing code creating tables and working my way through this, learning as I went. That you needed something called an "INDEX" became obvious to me after I had shown my latest creating to my colleagues and the things was just soooo slow. In the end, I actually picked up the manual for that "SQL Database", whatever THAT was.

After about a year at this company, they decided to move their operations abroad, and I wanted to stay in Sweden, so I went looking for another job. The company behind the SQL Database I had used was looking for people it seemed, so I applied for a job. What it was like working for a US based software company was something I had no clue about. I got the job and turned up for my duties as a support engineer dressed in Jeans and a T-Shirt, and got to work. What a support engineer was really supposed to be doing wasn't something I really knew, it was more along the lines of people calling me with questions, and I tried to help them, as best as I could.

The company in question was Oracle. And Oracle really did support me, and courage me, to develop myself, to go to training classes (I didn't ask for these, I was just sent away on them), to take on other jobs inside the organization to to develop my technical and business skills.

For all this, I am grateful. Oracle largely shaped me for my future career among database companies, and if that is a good or bad thing is up for you to decide. Now I'm back at Oracle, and I still enjoy it. I am aware that not everyone will agree with me here, but I am glad to be back, after nearly 20 years after I left, and many things with this geart company is still around.

All in all, I'm sure Oracle is a good home for MySQL. You may think differently, but I am honored to work for Oracle, and even more so with MySQL at Oracle. Frankly, I can't see that it can get any better.



Unknown said...

Well said, Karlsson.

Many times when people publicly question, criticize or denigrate their former employer, the act is merely a signal that they themselves are unable to face the reality of no longer being needed for the continued success of a beloved product or business.


Lars Johansson said...

Hej Anders,
Since you use english I do the same.
My career is similar to yours. I'm probably older, for me it was DB2 and a dbms called MIMS. I worked my ass off at Atlas Copco in clogs, jeans & teeshirt and I loved every minute of it, and AC was good to me. 85 I left AC and worked mainly as a consultant in Netherlands, USA and Sweden. Year 2000 Atlas Copco asked me to come back and I still like every minute maybe not as passionate as in the past. I dress differently, my old mans body looks rediculus in clogs, jeans & teeshirt. And yes of course I use MySQL these days :)

hingo said...

So did you get back your original employee number? What is it? Something 3 digit?