Over the past 13 years that I have been a DBA, I have had the opportunity to meet hundreds of other DBAs through the website I started, at my place(s) of work, at other companies, at user group meetings, and at conferences. I have meet DBAs who are new to the career, others who are experienced SQL Server MVPs, and everything in between. One thing that really has stood out when talking with other DBAs is that there are no sources of information on how to become a DBA. In other words, there are no career guides on how to manage one's own career. After a lot of thinking, I decided to write a book called, How to Become an Exceptional DBA, as a primer for those who wanted to learn more about becoming a DBA. As you can tell by the title of the book, I wrote it with the assumption that if you want to make a career out of being a DBA, that you might as well aim towards becoming an Exceptional DBA, not just an average DBA. Anybody can be average, and you don't need a book to tell you how. It was my hope that the book would get DBAs thinking about their career, and how they can actively manage it, so that they excel in what they do. As most of you know, I am the Director of DBA Education for Red Gate software. Red Gate Software, through their Simple-Talk Publishing group, published the book, and has made it freely available as an e-book. This book is my first attempt at a career guide for DBAs, and as I receive feedback from the book, I intend to continually update it, adding and updating its contents, so that it continues to be the DBA career book of choice for DBAs. If you have time, download and read it. It will only take an hour or two to read, and I bet you will learn something you didn't know that can help you make the most out of your career as a DBA. When I was discussing the book with some of the people who work at Red Gate Software, I mentioned to them that more often than not, Exceptional DBAs are not recognized for all the work they put into their jobs and career. I know many DBAs who are essentially the kingpin of their IT organization's success, but because of the "behind the scenes" type of work most DBAs do, their work is not fully recognized, if at all. This comment struck a note with these same people, and as a result, Red Gate Software has decided to do something about it. Red Gate Software, in cooperation with SQLServerCentral.com, has started what they are calling the "Exceptional DBA Award." Essentially, this will be an annual event where an "Exceptional DBA of the Year" will be selected and recognized. Besides the recognition, the winner will receive some prizes, including a full conference pass for the 2008 PASS Community Summit (November 2008), plus some travel costs. You can find out more about the award at www.ExceptionalDBA.com. So, here is my challenge to you. Are you can Exceptional DBA? If you are, then tell us about yourself and enter the contest. If you are reading this and are not a DBA, but you know of an Exceptional DBA, then nominate that person for the award. Either way, the goal is to help elevate the status of all DBAs. If you have any thoughts on what it is means to be an Exceptional DBA, let me know by writing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.