Name: Gail Shaw
Designation: Technical Lead
What do you do every day? That depends on the day and the project. It’ll probably involve some query optimisation. It will definitely involve SQL Server. Most of my time is spent doing performance tuning for clients’ systems. The rest is spent writing documentation, whether it be implementation documents for things like replication or design documentation for HA/DR or helping out other teams with SQL Server problems.
How did you get into the tech space? I kinda grew up in it. My father started a software development company when I was still at primary school. My first computer was an 8086, given to me when dad got himself an 8088. I got involved in after school programming classes before high school. We wrote GW Basic on old NCR machines. Despite that, I never really considered a career in IT, I wanted to go into physics. By third year at university however I realised there weren’t good jobs for physicists in SA, unless I wanted to teach. So instead of continuing with physics for my Honours year, I continued with computer science. When I graduated there was really no question of doing anything other than development.
What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? That would have to be from Kimberly Tripp, when I asked her (back when I was just getting into DBs) how to get to where she was. While I can’t remember the exact advice, she recommended starting to write. Blog, articles, whatever possible. Because writing gets your name out there and because you can’t teach a subject unless you understand it thoroughly.
What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Your reputation is everything. It’s a small industry. Get a bad reputation, it lives with you forever. Be honest, be trustworthy, do your best. Work hard, don’t shirk from the tough jobs. Volunteer to help out when you can. There will be times you’re working evenings/weekends. Make sure those are the exception not the norm. Learn something new every day. Share what you know.
What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? Challenge. Problems to solve, things to figure out. Doing the same stuff every day would bore me silly.
Who do you want to be when you grow up? Kimberly Tripp (or, if I was going to wish for the impossible, Sally Ride).