Just short of the winter solstice, I bailed out of a freezing cold Johannesburg for warmer climates; we'll, actually for London where the weather could almost have been mistaken for a South African winter, except much wetter.
However I wasn't going to London for the weather (fortunately), nor even for some sightseeing; I was going to London for some SQL training. Not just any SQL training, but some seriously deep training from among the best trainers in the world, one of Paul Randal and Kimberly Tripp's five day immersion courses, and immersion it most certainly was.
It gives a good feel for the intensity and depth of the course when, after all the introductions and housekeeping on the Monday morning were done, Paul started off by diving straight into the structure of pages and rows. Start slowly, where's the fun in that? By lunchtime I had on the order of 20 pages of notes. The reasoning behind starting with that is that the internal structures come up again and again and again in the later material, so a firm understanding of how things are put together at the lowest level makes it easier to understand the things built on top.
The material covered is detailed on the SQLSkills website, so I'm not going to waste space by listing it all again. The material was all covered in incredible detail and any point could be and frequently was expanded on if any of the students asked.
On the subject of questions, there was not a single one, over all five days, that Paul and Kimberly could not answer with at most a couple of minutes of research (mostly for things like kb article numbers). Questions and comments were encouraged and often the discussions were as valuable as the main course material.
By the Friday, all the students were looking a little worn out. Paul, of course, was still as vibrant as ever, to the point of heckling (in good fun naturally) someone who crawled in late on the Friday morning.
All in all that was a fantastic experience, and that was just week one out of the four. I'd really like to thank Paul and Kimberly for coming across to London and giving people who can't make it to the US classes an opportunity to take one of their Immersion Courses. I certainly hope that they plan to make a return visit soon.
Editor: You can attend one of these Immersion events later in 2011 in the US. The complete schedule is on the SQLskills web site along with an FAQ that can answer many of your questions.