Gabriel's Database Sherpa and Journey


When I first started my journey, I knew next to nothing about databases. I grew up in the digital age, so I certainly know my way around a computer, but I’ve never been crazy about them. I prefer my social to be unmediated, whenever possible. I live off the grid (the power grid, anyway) in an intentional community devoted to alternative energy, sustainable agriculture, natural building, and reimagining a traditional village way of life. In so many ways, database technology seems a bit of a stretch.

I have two main reasons for telling this story. The first is to explain why I ended up as an apprentice here at Database Sherpa. The second is to drive home a point that is central to the whole Database Sherpa concept: you can learn, even if you know nothing about it, and even if you, like myself, are somewhat allergic to the entire information technology revolution. So how did I get into the so-called “ecosystem”? And why Database Sherpa? The way I see it, when I started with I didn’t really know where it was going to end up. I was simply in search of a career. Something that I could do well, something that was in demand, something that would make me a living and still leave me time to farm, play with my kids, and participate in village life. was appealing because it was a tech job that I could get into without knowing code, and because many non-profits use,, and I knew that I wanted to work in the public benefit sector in some way.

So I dove headfirst into everything I downloaded workbooks, signed up for Trailhead, built a developer org, and started offering my time to local non-profits pro-bono, as a way of building my skills and experience. I learned fast, and I quickly discovered that the only way to learn everything I needed to know was to seek guidance. That’s where Database Sherpa came into the picture.

I found the Database Sherpa website while I was searching for something else, and I was immediately entranced. This was exactly the kind of work I wanted to do. Far more than just moving data around on a screen, this was a chance to have meaningful connection with clients, to serve as a coach and a mentor, and to empower people to do amazing things for themselves. As a longtime teacher and a lifelong student, and a firm believer in the pedagogy of empowerment, this sounded like a dream come true. I called up Ashima right away and asked if she would be interested in being a mentor for me as I grew my own consulting business. She was delighted, and before long that mentorship relationship grew into the full-fledged apprentice program that I am a part of today.

I have always been an independent, self-directed learner. I believe that if I really set my mind to it, I can learn anything, and I’m not afraid to fall down a few times in the process. Without mentorship, however, the falls tend to be far more frequent and the recovery much slower. I am deeply grateful for the guidance and support that I have received from my colleagues here at Database Sherpa, and I know that I would not be where I am today without them. I hope that I will be able to offer the same to you on your own journey towards finding peace with your data.