Learning for yourself!


This subject comes up again and again. See:

In a freaky coincidence, two people asked virtually the same thing of me yesterday and I answered each of them individually, but it paved the way for this post.

In the first case, the person asked me several questions about getting better at Oracle. This is part of my reply.

Q: What is the secret behind your knowledge in oracle?
A: No secret. I’ve been doing this for nearly 20 years and I’m constantly reading and trying to learn.

Q: How have you gained knowledge in oracle and able to answer our questions of your own?
A: I am not on my own. I have the manuals, MOS, and Google.

Q: There should be some tactics with you that how you could able to answer our questions .Please share with us to become like you in future.
A: Every time you have a question, try and answer it for yourself by searching the manuals, MOS and the internet. When you think you have the answer, test it to make sure you are correct. The process of getting the answer for yourself will teach you a lot. You will often stumble across other totally unrelated information, which adds to your total knowledge.

In the second case, I suggested the person start trying to answer questions for themselves, to which they asked what was the benefit of searching for themselves over just asking me. This is part of my response.

1) You are learning how to find answers and research for yourself. This is a very important skill. Do you think all the people answering questions know all of this by heart? We don’t, but we know how to quickly get information. Over time you start to remember stuff, but I rarely rely on my own memory. I nearly always look for a link in the docs to prove I am not mistaken, or remembering how things were in a previous version. It’s important you learn this skill if you want to get good at anything.

2) You might ask me a question when I am away from the keyboard, like when I’m sleeping, and you will wait hours for the answer. If you know how to find the answers for yourself you can work at your own pace.

3) Often, finding the answer for yourself is quicker than asking the question. For example, for that last question, if you had gone to Google and searched for “oracle uninstall” the first four links are:
– 2 document references.
– The OTN forum, where people link to my article as the answer.
– My article.

Chances are, you would have got the answer quicker than the time it takes to write the question to me. It would certainly be quicker than the time it took to receive the answer. 🙂

4) People on the internet might be wrong. You need to check everything I say anyway, so why not find the information for yourself. Even the manuals are wrong sometimes, so you always need to check. You might be reading an old article etc.

I know people think there is some secret to this, but there really isn’t. When I look at all the people I admire in the Oracle community, they have all put the hours in.



Author: Tim...

DBA, Developer, Author, Trainer.

One thought on “Learning for yourself!”

  1. An ‘expert’ knows the vast majority of information they need to do their job with no resources other than their memory.

    When something comes up that they don’t know off the top of their head, they have a very good idea where to acquire the information rapidly.

    When ‘the usual sources’ fail and the information is either not available or not correct, they’re willing to roll up their sleeves and perform the testing and/or diagnosis required to get the information.

    A ‘recognized expert’ is someone who is willing to spend the time and effort to document the last step and make it available for others to use.

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