Cannons in SC: #SQLVacation visits Columbia

Kevin Kline

Published On: June 30, 2017

Categories: SQLFamily, Community, SQLVacation 0

As you drive through part of Columbia, SC you might be intrigued when you see six bronze stars on the capital building. I soon found out that each bronze star represents where, in 1865, a cannon struck the building under General W.T. Sherman’s command. Along with the historical district, a rich culture exists within Columbia, seen at the Town Theater, the country’s oldest community theater.

Columbia is the second largest city in South Carolina and home to South Carolina University. Columbia also hosts the largest United States Army installation for basic combat training, Fort Jackson. Being one of the first planned cities in the United States gave Columbia a chance to grow rapidly and into the beautiful city of the Midlands.

Boom Boom Boom UG Leaders in the Room:

Nick Harrison, author of Code Generation with Roslyn, helps host Columbia's SQL user group meetings.

When did you begin your professional career? I graduated college in 1996 with a degree in Computer Science from Wintrhop University.  Two weeks later, I start working with Fleet Mortgage Group as a Junior Programmer Trainee.    Three 3 years later, I left Fleet as a Senior Technology Consultant.    Titles mean nothing

What’s a normal week at work like for you? As a technology professional, the concept of a normal week is a myth.   Every week is different.   Most days are different from what was expected.  Most days I start off with a long list of admirable to do items.   Quite often I end up having a very productive day with very little crossed off of my to do list.  Instead there were many items not even on my radar tackled throughout the day.   Through the course of a week, I may find myself troubleshooting a Production Support issue, designing a new feature to be developed, review the code written for another new feature, poke holes in a proposed design, show off something interesting that I have recently learned, and well all kinds of things pop up. 

What was your first IT or computer project that added value? (For example, something that was not a part of school assignment or a learning project) In college, I mainly wrote C applications in a UNIX environment.  My first job was primarily doing Windows development with PowerBuilder.   So I was out of my element.   Like any newbie starting out, I tried to recast every problem with tools that I already knew, even if that meant fitting a round peg in a square hole.   I was quite proud when I managed to run PERL scripts from a windows desktop to pull data from a database running on UNIX.   While this may sound like an academic exercise, it did add value.   For a long time, this served as the primary reporting processes for Production Support.

What sort of career do you think you’d pursue today if you hadn’t chose IT? I often joke that if this programming thing doesn't workout that I would be a chef.  This is at most partially true.   I have often dreamed of running a speciality dessert restaurant.  Unfortunately, I am not much of a baker.   Fortunately this programming thing has worked out well so far.

When did you come to the area? I came to Columbia in the mid 90s for a job.   Columbia has a diverse economy, especially for a small southern city.

What caused you to decide to help as a volunteer leader? I try to give back to the community.   I get a lot of satisfaction watching someone's eyes light up when they learn something new.   This is a great way to head off burn out.   My work with the Columbia Developer's Guild gives me a lot of opportunities to share in the excitement of discovering something new. 

What is the IT community like in your town? Columbia is an interesting city.   We are a Government town being the seat of Government for the Palmetto state.  It is a Military town being the home of Fort Jackson for the past 100 years.    Columbia is also a College town with twelve universities including the University of South Carolina.

What do you enjoy doing in the area? USC provides exciting sporting events whether you prefer football, baseball, or basketball.   Watching the Lady Gamecocks win the National Championship in Basketball was quite exciting.

What do you recommend visitors to your town do on their own #sqlvacation? Anyone visiting Columbia should plan to dine at Blue Marlin in the Vista at least once.  Saki Tumi is also not to be missed.  Columbia also hosts the Botanical Gardens as part of Riverbanks Zoo.  Both attractions are impressive.   Columbia is known for the three rivers that meet in the city.   You can take a meandering stroll along Riverfront park where you can walk or jog two and a half miles along the river.

Enter the #SQLVacation 2017 Contest!

Have you set your vacation plans for the summer? If so, share them with the #SQLFamily community and on social media using the hashtag #SQLVacation for a chance to win an awesome apron and ThinkGeek gift card! Visit the SQL Vacation page for more contest details.

Contest ends July 29th, and you don't want to miss it. Happy Summer!


Connect with me online! Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Blog | SlideShare | YouTube | Google Author 

Kevin (@kekline) serves as Principal Program Manager at SentryOne. He is a founder and former president of PASS and the author of popular IT books like SQL in a Nutshell. Kevin is a renowned database expert, software industry veteran, Microsoft SQL Server MVP, and long-time blogger at SentryOne. As a noted leader in the SQL Server community, Kevin blogs about Microsoft Data Platform features and best practices, SQL Server trends, and professional development for data professionals.