On the Third Day of Christmas… 2011

On the third day of Christmas my Manager gave to me… Three Training Events

Two Twitter Handles…

and Mirrored Disks with Parity


I Can’t Get No Satisfaction

I am never satisfied with the amount of knowledge I possess.  Most of us are like that in our profession because if we stand still we are left behind.  Constant advancements in the technologies we support coupled with the inquisitive nature of those that gravitate towards the technology sector reinforce this drive for continuous accumulation of, well, data.  This trait surfaced as one of my strengths when I took the test associated with Buck Woody’s session on the last #SQLCruise Alaska in May of 2011 which is also one of the books I committed to Buck to read in the next 12 months and I’m blogging about through my What Gets Measured Gets Done series.  We used the results of the Strength Finders 2.0 test to identify our top 5 strengths, of which two of mine were Input (I’m a Knowledge Hoarder) and Intellection (I can’t stop thinking and like mental activity so much that I may get distracted easily)



oh, where was I?

Ah, that’s right, knowledge.

Three Training Events per Year

I find it recommended that you strive to learn one new thing daily that pertains to your career.  This could be either a technical or “soft” professional development topic.  I also recommend you attend as many SQL Saturday events as you can afford to visit: they’re free, they offer a vast spectrum of topics and levels of training, and they’re grassroots so you’re supporting your local SQL Server community in the process.  Also, one of the main focuses I had when I organized SQL Saturday #84 in Kalamazoo in September 2012 they highlight your city.  No one truly expected Kalamazoo to put on a decent SQL Saturday event, but those I’ve spoke with that speak at (or organize) SQL Saturday events worldwide have stated it was one of the best yet.  I’m not including SQL Saturdays in this count though because they are free.  I would hope you could find three SQL Saturday events within driving distance from home per year for you to attend even if you need to foot the bill yourself.  Uncle Sam will give you a cut back for some of those training expenses probably.  No, I’m referring to three travel-oriented-get-out-of-the-office-and-rid-yourself-of-the-distractions-training-events.

Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) Summit

Held in the fall, this event brings thousands of attendees together to partake in hundreds of presentations across Database Administration, Business Intelligence, Application Development, and Professional Development topics over the course of a week (including full day pre-conference sessions.)  Leaders in the SQL Sever sector provide compelling training in addition, the Microsoft SQL Server Customer Advisory Team throws open it’s doors to provide knowledge and guidance, and we all have a bit of fun too.  For a diverse, valuable, entertaining, and substantive week of SQL Server training this is my top pick.

SQLskills Immersion Training

What can you say about the SQLskills team that has not already been said by the SQLskills team?  Seriously, you want to find a collective of SQL Server Professionals that can address just about anything that comes their way then go no further.  Their week-long Immersion classes are not cheap ($3000-$3500 for a 5 day session + travel expenses) but they are valuable.  You’ll walk away knowing you’ve been school’d… and school’d well.  I can’t say enough good things about Kim Tripp, Paul Randal, and the team they’ve assembled.  They are fantastic technical presenters and educators as well as some of the most genuinely caring people I’ve met.  I hope to attend one in 2012 myself if I can line up the time and funding.

SQL Cruise

I developed SQL Cruise around the premise that networking and professional development are just as critical to success as the technical skills you pick up in the classroom.  On SQL Cruise you receive technical training from SQL Server training professionals whom have decades of real-world experience administering SQL Server and storage arrays as well as developing solutions based in SQL Server.  They’ve been in your shoes and can guide you through your current issues.  As much time is devoted to networking and professional development as in formal class training.  Outside of class, spend time with one of the presenters for some free individualized consulting time, bounce ideas of fellow “Cruisers” and Presenters, and collaborate to solve actual issues while recharging your batteries in an informal training environment.  SQL Cruise training is quite inexpensive – $895 for a 7-day cruise – and the room and board associated with a SQL Cruise is 50% of typical travel-training on dry land – about $100/day.  In 2012 I’m assembling the likes of Brent Ozar, Aaron Bertrand, Kendra Little, Jeremiah Peschka, and a few surprises in the works to join me in the Caribbean in January and Alaska in May.  The hardest part is convincing your boss that this is not just a cruise.