Thursday, 26 January 2017

SQL Server Community Events

By David Postlethwaite

I have just come back from a successful SQL Saturday in Vienna, Austria where I had 60 people listening to my presentation on SQL 2016 new features.
It was interesting how many people still wanted to know about SQL Server 2016 even though it’s been out for over six months.

It got me thinking about how we go about keeping our knowledge up to date.
When we start our IT career we are often sent on courses with a training company like Learning Tree. These companies provide great  technology training including updating your knowledge on SQL Server 2016.
For many who have been in the industry for a while, training courses can't always provide very specific, in-depth training in very specific part of the chosen technology within which we work. These specific areas might not need a multi-day course or even a full day course. Maybe just an hour or so of material.
This is where conferences like SQL Saturday, SQL Bits and SQL Relay come into play. They are all-day events, generally free to attend and you will have the chance to hear about all sorts of areas of SQL Server from people who have first-hand experience and are prepared to volunteer their time.There are hour long presentations on a variety of topics which you can pick and choose as you like. You have a chance to network with other attendees and the speakers and there will be companies there, sponsors of the event, even though its free to attend the event doesn't happen at zero cost, who may have products tools and services  that might just be what you are looking for. And some great prizes to be won.
SQL Saturday Vienna

SQL Saturday Rhineland

If you can’t get time to attend in person there are also online conferences such as “24 Hours of Pass” and virtual chapters that you can attend
There are also SQL user groups all over the country and all over the world where you can meet like-minded SQL professionals and hear presentations from local and national speakers on a variety of subjects, and often some free pizza.
Once you have been working in SQL for a few years you will have learnt something that could be interest to others. Every speaker has to start somewhere and no one will put you down for trying. I was persuaded by Gethyn to give it a go and have now spoken nearly twenty times at conferences and user groups, not just in the UK but over Europe as well. The buzz of seeing people learning from you is brilliant, you get to meet great people and even as a speaker you learn when someone asks a question that you’d never thought of.

So you can see that if your company is cutting back on their training budget you don’t need to despair, there are plenty of opportunities available to grow as a SQL professional. You can do what I do and combine a holiday in Europe with a SQL Saturday, I have visited many countries that I would never have been to if it wasn’t for SQL Saturday.
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