On February 6, 2016, Cleveland is hosting a free training event for SQL Server. This has a lot of the great stuff from the big, paid events, and skips some of the negatives.
There’s a great team from the North Ohio SQL Server Users Group that took on a very difficult task to put all of this together. They hand selected every presentation, being forced to turn away over half of the abstracts and many speakers. What they came up with was a variety of topics that span the breadth of SQL Server and the experience levels of the professionals working with databases.
What is this SQL Saturday?
For those of you who have never been to a SQL Saturday, here’s how this one works. Other SQL Saturdays will vary from this slightly, but not too much.
There are 6 training rooms with hour-long presentations running simultaneously in each. You move from room to room between each session choosing the ones that apply to you the most. The schedule for the sessions is posted in advance, and it’s impressive.
An optional $10 lunch, which is typically very obvious that no one is making a profit off of, is the closest thing the event has to an entrance fee. The stuff you’d expect to cost you is provided by volunteers and sponsors who pull together the venue, presenters, and community for you.
There’s time to network with vendors, attendees, and speakers before the event, during breaks and lunch, and often end up in conversations that last throughout the next session. This differs from the big events in that it’s much smaller and personable with most attendees being relatively local. The people you meet at a regional event like this are going to be more relevant to your life because they’re part of your local community.
The event at Hyland Software concludes with prizes ranging from $100 gift cards to new laptops being handed out to random attendees. Yes, you can basically get paid to go to free training, which I still don’t quite understand.
Then there’s the after-party, also provided by the SQL Saturday volunteers and sponsors. There’s food, fun, and more time to get to know some great people.
The venue can’t hold everyone who should come, and often can’t hold everyone who wants to come. Register now to make sure there’s room for you, and make sure to cancel if your plans fall through.
What is SQL Saturday?
Not just this event, what is SQL Saturday as a whole? It’s a program specifically set up to help everyone in the community to develop.
The obvious people benefiting are the attendees who get a chance to see all the sessions and meet the vendors. You can see how they would benefit from here, but not quite how much until you’re at the event.
The less obvious are the speakers, some speaking publically for the first time. As one of the speakers, I can personally say that I’ve grown more as a person and as a professional than I thought possible. It’s a step I highly recommend, and one I’m very grateful to have with SQL Saturday.
The even less obvious are the vendors. They’re speaking to the public, not just their established customers, getting candid feedback on what works, what doesn’t work, and how they can make their offerings better. Even if they don’t make a single sale from attending the event, they can always come out ahead.
SQL Saturday didn’t just pop out of nowhere, and someone told me we should give thanks to the people who started it all.
These event are around the world with one or more occurring almost every weekend of the year as an annual event in most major cities. See SQL Saturday’s website for a full list of what’s coming up. If your city isn’t coming up soon, look in past events because most cities hold it about the same time every year.
Where do I start? Well, by listing EVERYONE on the current schedule, along with the blogs and twitter handles I’m aware of.
- Deji Akomolafe (b|t)
- Jim Arko (b|t)
- Adam Belebczuk (b|t) <– Organizer
- Chris Bell (b|t)
- Delora Bradish (b|t)
- Mindy Curnutt (b|t)
- Aaron Cutshall (t)
- Joey D’Antoni (b|t)
- David Eldersveld (b|t)
- Cassandra Faris (t)
- Kevin Feasel (b|t)
- Frank Gill (b|t)
- Amy Herold (b|t)
- Paul Hiles (t) <– Organizer
- Steve Hood (b|t) <– What am I doing on a list this awesome?
- Michael John
- Jonathan Kehayias (b|t)
- Dave Mattingly (t)
- David Maxwell (b|t)
- Evelyn Maxwell <– bright future ahead for her
- Eugene Meidinger (b|t)
- Kon Melamud (t)
- Ben Miller (b|t)
- Jeff Moden (b)
- Colleen Morrow (b|t) <– Organizer
- Matt Nelson (b|t)
- Wendy Pastrick (b|t)
- Pat Phelan (t)
- Justin Randall (b|t)
- Wayne Sheffield (b|t)
- Peter Shore (b|t)
- Warren Sifre (b|t)
- Julie Smith (b|t)
- Erin Stellato (b|t) <– Organizer
- Michael J. Swart (b|t)
- Allen White (b|t) <– Organizer
- Andy Yun (b|t)
Note that the schedule may change some before the event, but it never changes too much.
What do we ask of you?
Despite the amazing list of speakers, we’re all volunteers. That means we do it because we want to do it, and truly enjoy it. If you want to help us enjoy it even more, be involved. Talk to us and the other attendees, ask questions, and give feedback.
If you want to absolutely blow us away, get in touch afterwards and let us know the difference it made for you. Yes, we want this, it will absolutely make our day! Let the organizers know what you think of the event. Tell the presenters how you were able to use their advice at work, and even ask questions down the road. Get in touch with the vendors to discuss their products, even if you aren’t planning a purchase, to give them real feedback and see what’s out there. I used to think this was imposing, but now I realize this is the one of the most awesome compliments you can get.
The most important part….
Hope to see you there!
UPDATE – 2016-01-13 – On the waiting list
If you registered before today, you’re in. If you’re registering now, you’re on the waiting list.
If you can’t make it, please cancel your registration so someone on the waiting list can get in. We’ll miss you, but at least there will be someone else we won’t be missing.