Disclaimer – I am on the committee organising the next SQL Saturday Exeter. To be kept up to date about SQL Saturday #269 in the South West, follow @SQLSatExeter and#SQLSatExeter on twitter and see details at the bottom. This post is about my experience at this years event.
In March this year the SQL South West User Group hosted SQL Saturday #194 in Exeter. I was a new member to the User Group having finally been able to join them for the first time in January. At that meeting Chris Testa O’Neill presented a session and was very passionate about the SQL Community and the benefit of the SQL Saturdays and other events. I am always keen to learn new things and find ways of developing my skills. As I haven’t won the lottery I also look out for good deals as well!!
SQL SATURDAY PRE-CONS ARE EXCEPTIONAL VALUE
It was relatively easy to persuade my bosses to pay for my pre-con. For £150 I was able to spend a whole day in a room with about a dozen people being trained in SQL Server Security by Denny Cherry @mrdenny. The conversation went along the lines of
“I want to go to this training session being delivered by this guy. Link to MVP page. It’s £150 and is in Exeter so no other costs required”
My boss – “OK”
Of course there was a little more fun and games to be had with the payment but it was easy for me to get training sorted and £150 is not going to break the training budget.
Looking back through my notes from the session today I realise quite how much I have taken from it into my role at work. I can’t really comment which and what though that wouldn’t be good security!!
I remember an enjoyable day with plenty of technical learning, a lot of questions and answers and plenty of laughs as well. But more than that was the opportunity to mix with other professionals and talk with them. During the breaks and at lunch there were plenty of opportunities to chew the fat, learn how others do things, make new friends and put faces to twitter handles. (NOTE : I do look pretty much like my twitter profile picture so if you see me at SQL Community events I expect you to come up and say hi, that’s part of the benefit of attending these events, having a good natter)
Take a look at the end of this post for details of 2014 Pre-Cons
SQL SATURDAY – CAN’T GET CHEAPER THAN FREE
SQL Saturdays are FREE
SQL Saturdays offer sessions from internationally renowned and local SQL speakers on subjects relevant to you and your job, your future career, your development plan or just to challenge yourself by learning about something outside of your comfort zone. For Nothing. Add in the networking opportunities, the prizes from the sponsors, (if you were at Exeter this year the beer and the pasty) and if you added it up its a sizeable investment in yourself, your career and your development (did I mention a free beer and pasty?)
NOT BAD FOR FREE!!
To enable that, SQL Saturday organisers have to go out and talk sponsors into putting their hands into their pockets. They will only do that if it is worthwhile to them. You can make it easier for the organisers by going and spending time with the sponsors during the breaks, chatting with them and giving them your details. Also, if you choose to use one of their products please tell the sponsors you spoke to them at a SQL Saturday. They are (usually) data professionals who will record that and use that to make future decisions which will we hope include sponsoring SQL Saturdays.
This year on the Saturday I went to the following sessions
A temporary fix for a short term problem by Ian Meade Advanced SQL Server 2012 HA and DR Architectures by Christian Bolton Busting common T-SQL myths by Dave Morrison Power View and the Cube by Régis Baccaro Natural Born Killers, performance issues to avoid by Richard Douglas Tracking server performance without slowing it down by Jonathan Allen which I also Room Monitored Increasing Business and IT collaboration by Chris Testa-O’Neill
It was a really good day. I learnt so much from all those knowledgeable and talented people. It really kicked me on in my development at work. I was able to take from each of those sessions and use that knowledge to do my job better and I made new friends and new contacts. Just going back to my notes today has reminded me of something that I need to look into for work. Some of the conversations I have had at events this year have been fascinating - learning how other people do the same thing you do in a completely different but equally valid way, problem-solving with a different set and type of minds than the ones at MyWork, laughing at the same things and moaning about similar frustrations. All have been both entertaining and rewarding and I think are worth mentioning as things I enjoyed about going to SQL Community events this year and play a part in the reason I shall continue to go to them (Just hope my boss doesn’t read this and think he won’t have to pay as I will go anyway!)
It’s busy and hectic, the sessions come along thick and fast and there are lots of people around to talk to. I wish I had made use of the SQL Saturday mobile phone app and I definitely recommend researching ahead of time and planning your day out.
This years sessions have not been decided yet but I have seen some of the submissions and there are some fabulous sessions there. You could also submit a session yourself. Choosing the sessions will be tough, but we want to offer the opportunity to speak to as many people as possible both new and experienced speakers.
You can submit your sessions at this link http://www.sqlsaturday.com/269/callforspeakers.aspx
ROUND-UP SQL SATURDAY EXETER WHY WOULDN’T YOU COME
For a newbie, as I was last time, SQL Saturday Exeter was a revelation.
An opportunity to learn without spending thousands of my own or MyWorks money to sit in a lecture room and listen to a trainer.
A chance to develop my understanding in a friendly environment amongst my peers where I could ask questions.
A place to meet new people and build relationships who have helped me with situations at work throughout the year. I reckon I’m in credit already
This year I have attended SQL Bits and SQL Saturday Cambridge and this month I shall be at SQL Relay in Cardiff and in Bristol. That all started with SQL Saturday 194 in Exeter 2013
WHAT ABOUT NEXT YEARS SQL SATURDAY EXETER?
Next years SQL Saturday in Exeter, SQL Saturday #269, will be held at the same place - Jury’s Inn Hotel Exeter on March 21/22nd 2014.
We had such amazing submissions for our pre-cons that we have had to find more rooms to be able to fit them all in.. You can see for yourself the quality of the sessions and speakers for SQL Saturday Exeter 2014 at the following link
What do you think? I want to split myself into 8 and go to every one!
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?
I suggest that you should book Saturday 22nd March 2014 out in your calendar right this minute. Done that? Good.
Now go to this link
and register for FREE to attend and let us know @SQLSatExeter
Next make yourself a coffee (Other beverages are available) and head to the pre-con page
This bit is up to you, the choice is hard. I can’t tell you which one of our eight fabulous sessions you want to go to. It’s not for me to say which amazing speaker you want to spend a day with for a bargain price but if you need further info please get in touch and we will try and help. Unfortunately our human cloning experiment is not stable enough to allow you to go to more than one!
Then, let me know you have done so and come and say hi when you are here.