QA | 28 September 2012
One of the key benefits of instructor-led training, is finding a solution to a customer problem by giving them the opportunity to discuss it with an expert on the product or technology.
Light bulbs are brilliant, aren't they? Even the modern eco ones, where you flick the switch and for a moment you think the bulb has blown, then it flickers and reluctantly fights from a dim glow to a useful luminosity. My wife gets up after I have left for work, and as autumn draws in I fumble in the gloom for my watch, pills and other accessories to the start of the day, not wanting to wake her. Sometimes, though, there's nothing else for it, you're never going to find what you want without that light bulb.
I'm training an SQL admin course this week, and today I switched on a light bulb for a couple of my delegates. This afternoon, buried in a chapter about distributed solutions, I gave a thirty-minute demonstration of SQL Server Integration Services. I deliver a three-day course on the subject, so as you can imagine, this was an overview of the product, and a sprint at that. As usual at the end of any subject, I asked if there were any questions. A couple from the same company sat at the back of the class. One raised his hand and started asking questions. Not Brain of Britain questions. Not questions I'd need to study his business to answer. Just generic, 'Can it do this' type of questions, but as I answered, he became more and more agitated. He started literally bouncing up and down on his chair, and as he asked the final question he was actually clapping his hands together. He was six again and I had just told him he was going to Disneyland.
I still had twenty minutes or so of chalk and talk before I let the class go, but the pair at the back weren't really listening. They were chatting together in low voices, scribbling on paper and pointing at their screens. At the end of the day they were the last to leave.
"Sorry about that," said the questioner, as he passed my desk. "Only we've had this problem at work, and SSIS is the answer. I just never realised it could talk to systems other than SQL. You've just saved us a shedload of money." His grin was so wide I feared the top of his head might fall off. The light bulb had come on, and it was incandescent.
It's at moments like these I love my job. Aren't light bulbs absolutely brilliant?