They start out holding some other job (like sys admin or programmer) and then, by circumstance or desire, slowly move into the performance world.
They learn some performance fundamentals, master a performance tool, notice patterns in the metered data, and slowly pickup the detailed tech-specific knowledge. They take some chances, make some performance predictions and suggestions and… Voilà, they become a performance guru!
If you are starting your journey, welcome. Keep reading this blog, because I am writing it just for you. Learn, play, explore, and grow.
My best fundamental bit of advice is to be relentlessly kind to those around you. You need their help and can not do this on your own. Once you know something useful, share it. When you can be helpful to others, do it. Be easy to work with. Be kind.
These acts of kindness will help others, but they also help you. First of all, in kindness we find our freedom. Your boss can order you to do many things, but you decide to be kind and in that decision is a freedom that feels very good. Kindness can also be the source of new friendships. Friends will often give you more help than they are required to give because they have seen you do the same. Friends, who move on to other companies, often call you up and give you the inside track on great jobs opportunities.
In my high tech career every single job I ever had came to me through a friend. I was offered these jobs even though I was often missing a key skill-set. This is not because I’m super-smart, or beautiful, it’s because I am kind, helpful, and easy to work with.
Be kind. It will serve you well, and make the world a much nicer place.