Being a Better IT Pro – Grammar

In my IT career, one of the things I have found that sets me apart is my ability to write. As IT pros, we write a lot. Whether we’re talking email or documentation, senior level IT workers are always writing. However, not all of us graduated college with a degree in English. I certainly didn’t. The good news is you don’t have to have an English degree to write well. Writing well consists of understanding the rules, observing good writing, and practicing.

One of the biggest areas that folks struggle is with respect to grammar. A grammatical mistake can obliterate an otherwise well-written message. Here are some of the big offenders:

CopyBlogger: 15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly

Do you struggle with any of these rules? The best way to overcome the problematic rule is to study the rule and then practice using it. For instance, the rule on there, their, and they’re is one a lot of people get wrong. There refers to a place, their is possessive, and they’re is a contraction of they are. If I was having an issue with this rule, I’d try to write 20 sentences of each example. After a few days of practice, I’d have the rule down. If you’ve never tried this exercise, it works on the concept of deliberate practice.

Master these 15 rules as a start to writing better. Writing, like most other skills, is a skill you can always improve on. Professional writers are always writing. They are always trying to improve. Even though writing isn’t our primary skill, it is still an important one for any IT worker. Invest time and effort in your writing and you greatly benefit your career.

Speaking at SQL Saturday #233–Washington, DC

For those who will be at SQL Saturday #233 in Washington, DC, I’ll be giving my professional development talk, Being the Swiss Army Knife of DB Pros, at 9:45 AM.

My career is ever evolving and so is my talk. For instance, I have just returned to the role of an infrastructure and security architect, once again stepping away from being a full-time DBA.  This brings new relevance to some of the material in my presentation. So even if you’ve seen it before, I hope there will be something new for you.

If I were to sum up my talk with one quote, this one I found recently from Miyamoto Musashi’s The Book of Five Rings is appropriate:

“You should not have a favorite weapon. To become over-familiar with one weapon is as much a fault as not knowing it sufficiently well.”

I hope to see you in Washington, DC.