So I have earned my pay over the years working with a lot of databases. SQL just seemed to come naturally to me, it makes sense. Even when I only halfway understood what I was doing, I wrote an online grade book using ASP and an Access database. Don’t laugh, it was waaaay back during the first half of 2001. Even before that, I was the guy everyone came to for changing how their screens looked in Access, or creating a new and complicated report based on what check boxes were checked. I was one of the most skilled people I knew in Access, and later MySQL. I even had to rescue a business that was using an ancient DBMS called Nutshell (a predecessor of FileMaker, ick), which kept its data in a text file, but it was stored in a text version of a form, one record per form page, all in one long text file. Over time, I stumbled upon a job where I became a MS-SQL administrator. I learned all the ins and outs of that DBMS from someone who was truly an expert. At one point during that job, I touched on Hadoop, which really seemed different. Because of my job at the time, I wasn’t allowed to touch Hadoop, but I managed the servers, and gained some understanding.
Now, as I’m giving heavy consideration of applying for a Doctoral program, I stumble into a whole new world that I really had no idea on…NoSQL databases. I’ve seen the term mentioned over the last few years, and thought it was just another DBMS, but how it didn’t use SQL was a complete mystery to me. After some looking, I decided to purchase the book Seven Databases in Seven Weeks, and my mind is blown. One of the databases I’m finding very striking are the ones that are based on graph theory. Understanding graph theory, it makes a huge amount of sense to relate data in that fashion. Currently, I don’t have any proficiency in it, but I’m starting to play with Neo4J. So far the syntax is…different, but once that’s worked through, I hope to be sharing further insights into the DBMS, and others.