Today's editorial on SQLServerCentral was about what your employer should provide for training and professional development and that got me thinking about what I have been doing. Over the the past year I have really made an effort to catch up with SQL Server 2005 and start managing my professional development. I relocated from northern New Hampshire to central Florida, right outside of Orlando and that has given me the opportunity to take advantage of local user groups (OPASS and ONETUG), Code Camps, SQLSaturday, and other technical events that were not easily available to me in New Hampshire. Through these resources I have probably learned as much about performance and administration as I had learned in the previous 5 years. I have picked up information about backups, profiling, performance tuning and monitoring, security, and reliability best practices. All without paying for a class or book. I've also taken the time to write a couple of articles for SQLServerCentral and I am preparing to speak at the next OPASS meeting. These are great ways to work on your professional development as one of the best ways to learn something is to have to teach it to someone else.
I also take advantage of online resources like SQLServerCentral, SSWUG, SQLServerPerformance.com, and many blogs. Most MVP's and Microsoft development teams have blogs so there many good ones, along with some you may want to out. So while I believe your employer should provide some time and money, I also think you need to take advantage of the same resources I have. Granted I take time at work to utilize many of these on-line resources, but since I'm not asking my employer to spend on me, I feel justified.
What do you do to "keep up"?