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SQLSaturday#59 Speaker Interview Series - with Kevin S. Goff

 SQLSaturday #59 Speaker Interviews Series #3  - Kevin S. Goff

You can catch all the speaker interviews on this upcoming event, on the Pearlknows Blog, as well as the SQLSaturday#59 event home page.

I last spoke with SQLSaturday & SSC.com co-founder Steve Jones.

Today, we bring you another very interesting fellow, coming in from Allentown, PA to be with us in NYC, is SQL MVP Kevin S. Goff.   Kevin, thank you for your time and wonderful answers!

RP:  Please tell us a little about yourself, your background, your career and your involvement in the SQL Community.

KG:  I’m Kevin S. Goff, I’m 45 years old, have been in the industry as a developer/contractor since 1987.  I’m a SQL Server MVP  (though I was a .NET MVP from 2005-2009).  I speak at many community events (CodeCamp, User Group, SQL  Saturday, SharePoint Saturday, etc.) .  I’ve written a few books and I write regularly for CoDe Magazine  (the “Baker’s Dozen” Productivity Series)

Currently I’m a full-time instructor and courseware curriculum author for SetFocus, a Microsoft Gold Partner for Learning Solutions.  I teach in the SQL Server and Business Intelligence areas.

On a personal level, I’ve been married since 1996, and my wife and I have a daughter. 


RP:  What is your area of expertise?  How did you become a DBA/SQL Professional?

KG:  I was a .NET MVP for a number of years (C#), but was always involved in database development.    So I was always a “data guy”.  I’m more on the applications side than the DBA side, though I know enough database administration to be semi-dangerous.

My areas of expertise are T-SQL, SSAS, SSIS,, MDX, SSRS, and PerformancePoint Services.  I literally live, eat, breathe, walk, and sleep with these tools.    I attribute my knowledge and skills to reading books until my eyes gave out, and working grueling hours on as many projects as I could, until I could barely stand.  J

RP:  What advice would you give your fellow colleagues who are trying to become more senior professionals?

KG:  Everyone succeeds in different ways and along different paths.  Having said that, my best advice is to work as hard as you can on as many different types of projects as you can….set goals for yourself to ascend learning curves on different tools, and seek out as much available information on those tools as you can.    And never stop learning!

I’m only being semi-facetious when I say that keeping up to date in this industry is like being a doctor   (except the pay isn’t quite as great!)    Your clients and your projects are like your patients.  

Also, it’s important to maintain professional standards and professional conduct.  Over the years I’ve known a few people who were highly skilled, but demonstrated very questionable conduct and even more questionable integrity. 

RP:  As I see the question all the time, what do you tell folks who want to get more involved in the SQL Community?

KG:  One way to start is to take one or two topics where you have some knowledge, and build some presentations.  Be prepared to put everything you can into your presentation, drive 90 minutes to a CodeCamp or SQL Saturday event, deliver it…and have people rip it to shreds and tell you there are a hundred things you need to do the next time. 

Unless you’re an Einstein (and most of us aren’t), be prepared to get your knees skinned a few times.  Most people have to pay their dues to achieve any level of success.  That may sound a bit cold, but it works.  Also, you can decide if you want to continue the speaker route, or if you’d prefer to take your presentations and make articles or webinars out of them.  One thing you’ll find is that there are several directions you can go in the SQL community.  Try not to do too much at once, but also don’t limit yourself to one area.  

Also, if you can, try to volunteer some of your time to your local SQL Server User Group – IF you’re able to provide the time. 

RP:  What are 3 of your favorite features in SQL Server 2008/R2?

KG:  I only get 3???  J
Sparklines in SSRS 2008R2, Grouping Sets in T-SQL 2008, and PowerPivot Integration with SharePoint 2010….honorable mention goes to dynamic named sets in MDX 2008, and the new aggregation designer in SSAS 2008

RP:  What are you working on currently?  (Projects, Books/Articles, Speaking circuit, etc.)

KG:  I write regularly for CoDe magazine on database topics, so I’m always working on my next article.  I’m also working on a new book in the Business Intelligence area, and I’m forever tweaking my 8 different community presentations on SSIS, Change Data Capture, T-SQL, using MDX with SSRS, etc. 

RP:  What are some of your other interests, hobbies, etc. when you’re not being a DBA/Engineer/BI professional?

KG:  We have a 17 month old daughter who keeps us pretty busy!  But beyond that,  I’m a jazz music fanatic and a sports junkie. 

RP:  What are you looking forward to, or, what excites you the most about presenting at our SQLSaturday event in the capital of the world, NYC?

KG:  I love Manhattan.   I get to see my fellow colleagues, I get to watch some of their sessions, I get to do one or two of mine, and then I get to enjoy a nice dinner at the Heartland Brewery across the street! 

RP:  Give us a preview of the topic and session you have planned for us at SQLSaturday#59.

KG:  I’m doing 2 sessions, one on SSIS and one on SSRS.  My SSIS session will show some “advanced” SSIS packages that demonstrate configurations, dynamic expressions, stored procedure integration, and handling irregular input files.  My SSRS session will focus on some of the new mapping and sparkline features in 2008R2, along with integrating SSRS with SharePoint.  I could say a great deal more, but I don’t want to give away too much!  I’m able to pack quite a bit into an hour, so if you work with SSIS and/or SSRS, I hope you attend my sessions – you won’t be disappointed!

RP: Anything that you would like to add?

KG:  My only final comment is that I’m happy that we’re having a 2nd SQL Saturday in Manhattan this year!   SQL Saturday events are very rewarding – you get to share what you know about SQL Server with others, and you learn a few things along the way. 

RP:  Thanks, again Kevin, for your answers, and contributions to the SQL Community.  Look forward to seeing you there!


Posted by Steve Jones on 14 October 2010

Nice interview, and looking forward to meeting Kevin at SQL Saturday 59.

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