Michael J. Swart

October 28, 2010

3 Problem Solving Resources That Make You Look Like A Genius

Filed under: SQLServerPedia Syndication,Technical Articles — Michael J. Swart @ 12:45 pm

developer morphing into einstein

Lookin' smarter!

Okay, so I consider myself relatively bright. With enough effort I can usually fix nine out of ten database problems that get thrown at me. But if (actually when) I get stuck, there’s a bunch of resources I rely on.

Maybe you’re in the same boat as me. Sometimes a technical problem comes along and there’s no one left around to ask for help. The buck stops with you. Either you crack this problem it or it doesn’t get cracked. Often the people who want an answer or solution don’t care where you get it; They just want to clear away an obstacle that’s stopping them from doing what they want to do.

So here are my three favorite internet resources in no particular order.


Okay, this is kind of an obvious one. But you probably don’t have to think too far back to remember when someone asked you a totally google-able question.

But I’m adding Google in this list because I’d be lost without it (plus it also expands this list to three instead of two). It’s still valid though. Even if all you did is punch in an error code and examined the first solution that Google reports, you still look good.

Twitter + #sqlhelp

Check it out.

I asked a question on Twitter the other day and got great responses almost immediately. I showed a friend at work (Hi Scott) these answers and he said “Huh. Twitter is a great resource if you have enough followers.” *

But that’s just the thing! I explained that I don’t have many followers at all. And you don’t need any followers yourself either. The trick is to add the #sqlhelp tag to your tweet and bingo: there is often a large group of professionals just waiting to help. What’s in it for them? I’m not sure. My guess is that knowing they’ve helped someone out is a great feeling. (Altruism FTW!)

Any way, the success of #sqlhelp is a direct result of the active Sql Server community out there. The hashtag #sqlhelp lives and dies based on participation level. There’s probably some unknown threshold of askers and answers that’s needed for the resource to remain useful. Whatever it is #sqlhelp is way beyond that! I counted about 150 questions in the last 24 hours.

For more info, Brent Ozar covers this method in depth at his site his post. Or just go straight to Twitter’s #sqlhelp page.

Stackoverflow + sql-server tag

Check it out.

So if you’ve got a question that needs some explaining and if your question doesn’t fit into the 140 character limit that Twitter enforces, you’ve got stackoverflow.com.

Newsgroups have been around forever. And technical online forums have been around for a while too. But after discovering stackoverflow, I’ve never needed any other sites (Once you go stack…).

And again, it’s the high number of askers and answerers that make this site so useful. No decent question lasts unasked longer than 20 minutes. And more often than not, your question has already been asked.

Did I Miss One?

So tell me where you look. Is there a favorite internet resource of yours that I missed?

I preemptively stick my tongue out at anyone who mentions MVP newsgroups.

* ~ By the way, that’s Scott in the photo who agreed to sit for the photo (He’s the one on the left) Thanks Scott.


  1. I would like to put in a strong recommendation for SQLServerCentral.com!! Not only do they have wonderful forums, but also many other resources including (but not limited too) full articles, blog posts, script library, videos/podcasts, etc!

    Comment by TheSQLGuru — October 28, 2010 @ 3:12 pm

  2. Yeah, for sure SQLServerCentral is what everyone was aiming for in the 90’s when they thought of designing a “web portal”

    Comment by Michael J. Swart — October 28, 2010 @ 4:10 pm

  3. […] @MJSwart posts 3 Problem Solving Resources That Make You Look Like A Genius | Michael J. Swart Posted on October 29, 2010 by sqlmashup 3 Problem Solving Resources That Make You Look Like A Genius […]

    Pingback by @MJSwart posts 3 Problem Solving Resources That Make You Look Like A Genius | Michael J. Swart | sqlmashup — October 29, 2010 @ 2:26 pm

  4. […] you up when it counts.  You can pay people like me to help, or you can get help for free using Michael Swart’s 3 problem solving resources every DBA should know – Google, #SQLHelp, and StackOverflow.  Either way, the key is to know when you’re in […]

    Pingback by T-SQL Tuesday: Why Do You Need DBA Skills? | Brent Ozar - Too Much Information — November 2, 2010 @ 8:15 am

  5. […] So how about me? Who do I turn to when I need outside help? It’s #sqlhelp and stackoverflow (or dba.stackexchange) to the rescue. Those are still the best forums for SQL Server issues. And I’ve said it before; here’s my post about three problem solving resources that make you look like a genius. […]

    Pingback by Lessons From Sherlock Holmes | Michael J. Swart — July 29, 2013 @ 11:43 pm

  6. […] The SQL Server technical community. You guys had my back. If I didn’t know an answer immediately, I could find out. You guys were a tremendous resource. See 3 Problem Solving Resources That Make You Look Like A Genius. […]

    Pingback by My Work Autobiography | Michael J. Swart — January 13, 2016 @ 8:01 am

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