It’s hard to believe that after all the hard work, planning, and prep, that SQL Rally Dallas is just a week away! This time next week the conference will be in full swing for Day 1 of the regular sessions. The preconference seminars actually start on Tuesday, so it’s going to be a full week of learning’, Texas-style!
For my part, I’m going to be delivering a presentation on Thursday. I’ll be talking about SQL Server Data Quality Services, one of the new features of SQL Server 2012 that I’m really excited about. This one is designed for kids of all ages – whether you’ve never touched DQS or have been playing around with it for a bit, you’ll get something from this intro session.
“I’ll be there!”
If you’re already registered, great! Be sure to stop by my session and say hello – I’d be happy to meet both people who read my blog.
Remember that there are lots of networking opportunities to go along with the sessions and precons. If you love the night life and/or like to boogie, we’ll be having meetups at the Uptown Bar and Grill on
Wednesday and Thursday nights. (Edit: The Wednesday night event is still on, but the location has been changed to the WXYZ Bar inside the Aloft hotel.) On Thursday, they’ll have karaoke for those of you who have a good voice or a high threshold for embarrassment. On Friday morning (if you don’t sleep in from the late night singing), meet up with me, Andy Warren, Sri Sridharan, and others at the convention center for coffee and chat. There’s even talk of an unofficial meetup near the convention center on Friday night to watch the broadcast of the Rangers pounding the Angels.
If you are registered for the 2-day conference but haven’t committed to a precon, I would encourage you to give them another look. Each one of the 7 preconference seminars is a full day deep dive into a single subject, delivered by presenters who are experts in their fields. Whether you want to learn about DBA topics, SSAS, or professional development, there’s a good chance you’ll find a good fit. Remember, these run on Tuesday and Wednesday, so you could even take in 2 of the precons. The full-day precons are priced at $219 each, which is an excellent bargain given the quality of the education you’ll get.
“I’m still not sure…”
I hear you. Perhaps work is busy and there’s nobody to take the slack if you are gone for two or three days. Maybe the boss says he won’t pay for it. It could be that you’re afraid that the material will be over your head, or that perhaps you won’t know anybody. Getting away from the office and out of the comfort zone is taxing, no doubt.
But I’d like to submit to you that your career is worth it. At SQL Rally, you’re going to be surrounded by 500-600 people who are a lot like you – problem solvers who want to learn. Every demographic and skill level will be represented, from those just starting out to experts with decades of experience. You’ll get the opportunity to talk shop and compare challenges with hundreds of other database professionals, which is an experience you can’t get from a book or online course. You’ll get to meet and chat with authors, MVPs, MCMs, IT business owners, and other folks who have a lot to teach (and I promise you that they’re just regular people, and most of them truly enjoy getting to know fellow professionals).
In addition to the educational benefits, the networking opportunities are probably the most significant element of Rally. If you’ve ever looked for a job, tried to hire someone, or needed a partner to help solve a problem, you quickly realize the need for networking especially in a wired world. There’s simply no replacement for knowing people in this business. I shared with you in my last Rally blog post about how I came into the job that I have now purely because of the networking contacts I’d made at PASS events. Build your network – one day, you’ll be glad you did.
So if you’re not already registered, I’d encourage you to do what you need to do to be a part of this event. Beg the boss (give him/her this), skip the double-foam-extra-wheat-skinny-caramel-mochas this month, pull an extra shift or two, whatever it takes – it’s an investment, but you won’t be disappointed.