If you’ve been reading my blog, you probably saw the posts I made about SQL Rally, the PASS Summit, and a couple SQL Saturdays. It is the SQL Saturdays, in particular, that really show the strength of the SQL community. For those unaware, SQL Saturday is a run of regional events, put on by local user group chapters and supported by the Professional Association for SQL Server, that provide a day of free training and networking. It’s a great chance to connect with others who do what you do, along with learning about how to do your job better.
SQL Saturday #104 in Colorado Springs was a stellar example of what these events offer and ended up being a great way to start off a new year of career development. Here’s a brief overview of some of what went on:
- Scheduled networking activities included as part of the presentation tracks: Many events will only have a dinner or some after party, but I thought it was a nice way to break up the sessions by including games and other opportunities to network with other data professionals.
- Regional and national speakers on a variety of topics: I thought the speaker mix was fantastic, with many “big name” speakers such as Karen Lopez(b|t), Grant Fritchey(b|t), and Tom LaRock(b|t) (amongst others), but also the local talent, including: Marc Beacom(b|t), Doug Lane(b|t), Jason Horner(b|t), and…..me!
- Professional resume reviews: Face it, job hunting sucks. We all have to do it sometime and it’s rare that we get a chance for someone who deals with resumes all day to help us with ours. I think the organizers of #104 scored a coup getting professionals to come in and go over resumes with people.
- Free precons: Thanks to the sponsors of #104 for helping out with this one. It was great to spend an entire day learning concentrated SQL info from Glenn Berry(b|t). I know a lot of other folks benefited from this. Not many SQL Saturdays can squeeze these in, but I’m glad the Springs folks made it happen.
As for my experience, I had a couple great highlights. First off, I got to present again, and with a whole new presentation. It went very well and I got great feedback. There were also some great sessions that I learned from (have I mentioned how awesome Grant Fritchey is?) Catching up with those of my SQL family who flew in for the event is always great, because sometimes having friends in other states sucks (and going skiing with these folks was AWESOME!). Finally, being immersed in the SQL community gives me such a great feeling, both from being able to contribute and all the stuff I learn from it.
If you haven’t ever been to a SQL Saturday, go. Keep an eye on the website and if there’s an event within easy travel distance, I can’t recommend enough that you get there. It’s more than learning about SQL Server, it is about getting connected to SQL Server and the people (just like you) who work with it day in and day out. It is finding out the gotchas and hidden gems within the application that will make your life easier. It’s about boosting your career, knocking yourself out of that rut, and becoming “the DBA” instead of just a DBA.
I want to thank everyone who made this event possible(such a long list!), but especially Chris Shaw(b|t) and Jeremy Lowell(b|t), the engines that made this awesome event happen. Keep up the great work!