There are a lot of questions people ask about my background, and what I can and can't do to help them solve the problems they have with their database environments. I'll try to keep the common questions available here.

How long have you been working in IT?

Well, when I started in IT it was known as Data Processing, back in 1974. I started in "computer operations" at Dow Chemical, then American Greetings Corporation, and then moved on into a developer role (we called ourselves "programmers" then) for a variety of software companies. I moved my focus to databases in 1992 and have focused on that since then.

Tell me about your database background.

In 1992 I was introduced to relational database systems, first Oracle 6 at Sherwin Williams, then Sybase SQL Server for a small software house. When Microsoft released SQL Server 6.0 I focused on that and have been working as a database designer, developer, and DBA since then. In 2004, through a questionnaire I answered at the 2004 PASS Summit, I joined a team helping Microsoft develop the structure for the certification tests for the upcoming SQL Server 2005. Through that experience I started writing, both blogging and online articles, and was recognized by Microsoft as a SQL Server MVP starting in 2007. I've been working in various consulting roles since then.

Do you work with other databases than SQL Server?

While my first database was Oracle, and I have played a bit with PostGres, my expertise is SQL Server. I'll do my best to help with issues on another platform, but I believe that deep knowledge in a specific architecture is more valuable than general knowledge across platforms. Each one approaches the physical aspects of database technology differently, and a solution that works well for one won't necessarily work for another.