A Tale of Two Saturdays

November 17, 2013

I’m back home and decompressing after two amazing SQL Saturday learning events on back to back weekends. For those of you who may not be aware, SQL Saturday is a vendor-sponsored learning series run by the Professional Association of SQL Server and build around Microsoft’s database technology.

I was fortunate enough to fly across the country last weekend for a three day SQL Saturday business intelligence workshop in Tampa, FL. The event featured several great precon training days, of which I attended Jose Chinchilla’s workshop on building data warehouses and SQL MVP Tim Mitchell’s presentation on advanced SSIS techniques. Both sessions dovetailed really nicely and provided a very helpful on-ramp to the business intelligence super highway. My takeaway goal from the weekend is to build a proof of concept data warehouse with some basic reporting off SSAS to show my employer how the technology can be leveraged to improve business analytics on sales and production, two areas of top concern.

Then this weekend I jumped in the car down to Portland for SQL Saturday #265 - the event fell, not accidentally, on the weekend before Microsoft’s big MVP Summit in Redmond so the speaker list was impressive to say the least. I sat in on Jes Shultz Borland’s presentation on technical presenting, followed by Tim Ford’s case study for troubleshooting an installation with I/O issues. Seattle MCM Robert Davis gave a presentation on troubleshooting performance issues with dynamic management views, while Vern Rabe taught me a few things I didn’t know about data type choices. Arnie Rowland’s session on SQL schema security was very informative as well.

I’ve been working with SQL Server for 12 years now, yet continue to learn lots at events such as PASS user group meetings and SQL Saturdays. The sessions are great, and I also try to pick up new tips and tricks by striking up conversations with the people around me. It was a bonus to hear my peers talk between sessions about their experiences on topics as such as agile methodology, data modelling, sql diagramming as an indexing strategy and building test units.

The SQL Server database community is on the whole very passionate about what they do, and show a strong willingness to share knowledge, for free. Thanks to event organizers Jose Chinchilla and Arnie Rowland, as well as all the volunteers who help make these events possible.

This is it for me as far as training goes for 2013. My next training event will be the developer-focused Portland Code Camp January 11, 2014.

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