Nobody knows everything about SQL Server. There are plenty of folks who know a whole lot, and there are even some who only pretend they do; however, no matter your skill level, there is always something more to learn and there is always someone you can learn from. But how do you arrange for this to happen?
Attend a conference where you can surround yourself with just about anyone who's anyone in the SQL Server community, and immerse yourself in technical and professional development sessions from some of the best speakers in the industry. Arguably the most well-known conference of this type is the PASS Summit. PASS Summit 2013 changes scenery from the past few years: it is being held in Charlotte, North Carolina, from October 15th to 18th.
This year you can choose from over 200 sessions, in 6 different tracks, from around 150 different community and Microsoft speakers. I will be involved in the following three sessions:
- T-SQL: Bad Habits and Best Practices - this is the session where I try to coerce you to code more like me and avoid some of the most common problems I've seen over my career.
- How to Avoid Living at Work: Lessons from Working at Home - this is a panel discussion led by a group of folks who have collectively compiled decades of experience telecommuting: myself, Thomas LaRock, Andy Leonard, Grant Fritchey, Erin Stellato, Karen Lopez, and Kevin Kline.
- 10 Query Tuning Techniques Every SQL Programmer Should Know - Kevin Kline and I will present a series of patterns and anti-patterns and show which techniques you should avoid and which you should avoid.
I'm excited about these sessions, but I'm also excited to attend sessions by some idols and crowd-pleasers:
- Bob Ward : Inside SQL Server 2012 Memory: The Sequel
- David DeWitt's Keynote : Hekaton: Why, What, and How
Of course, there are plenty of other sessions I'm excited about, but those are the highlights for me.
Memories of Past Summits
So many memorable events have happened at PASS Summits. One of my first Summits, in Grapevine, TX in 2005, was where I met my current boss for the very first time. It was also the place where I met Joe Celko in person, and discovered that his real-life persona has a very different demeanor than what he presents online. I still remember the applause and laughter I got when I heckled him for using the word "record" instead of "row" in his own session. In fact I blogged about this back in 2008.
Benefits of Charlotte
Being on the east coast makes the event more accessible to folks on this side of the country, as well as to those flying in from over the Atlantic. Of course this makes it a bit harder for those on the west coast, but I think it's a good thing that the conference moves around occasionally.
Another benefit of being in Charlotte is that it's the headquarters of my company, SQL Sentry, and we are providing courtesy trolleys to take you around town on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings.
So why should you go?
Like I said above, nobody knows everything about SQL Server, but there are plenty of people who know more than you or I about any specific topic. One way we can all improve our knowledge is to share our experiences at conferences like the PASS Summit. A conference where there are plenty of opportunities to interact with these folks during and between sessions, in a group or 1-on-1. Every training event I attend has its own set of things that make it unique and valuable; for the PASS Summit, it's simply an unparalleled groups of peers with one thing in common: wanting to know more about this great platform we share.
Trouble getting approval?
If you are having difficulty getting employer approval, time off or the budget to attend the conference, there is plenty of advice out there in the community that may come in handy. Note that not all of these posts are about this conference specifically, but many of the concepts can be used for any technical training (and may give you a head start on attending PASS Summit *next* year).
- Grant Fritchey : Make the PASS Summit Work For Your Employer
- Allen Kinsel : Convincing your boss to pay for your training
- Ryan Adams : PASS Summit is NOT a Conference
- Andy Warren: SQLRally - Convince the Boss
- SQLPass.org : ROI Justification
- Jeremiah Peschka : Getting to PASS on the Cheap
- SQL Cruise : Convincing The Boss
- TechNet : How to convince your boss to send you to TechEd
- Brent Ozar : Wanna go to #SQLPass? Send this to your manager.
- Register for PASS Summit!
- Already registered? Start planning which sessions you're going to go to, and prepare any questions you might already have for the presenters.
- Never attended PASS Summit before? Get in on the fantastic resources for first timers and read up on these helpful blog posts.
Last Update: 9/30/2013
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