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The Smiling DBA

Thomas LeBlanc is a Business Intelligence Consultant/Data Warehouse Architect in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He uses his 25+ years in IT to help develop OLTP systems with normalized databases for high-performing T-SQL and end-to-end dimensional data marts using SSIS, SSAS, PPS, and Excel. His SQL Server certifications include MCSA 12, MCITP 08 BI and DBA, MCITP 2005 DBA, and MCDBA 2000. As a PASS volunteer, he is current chair of the Excel BI virtual chapter, past chair of the Data Architecture virtual chapter, and past virtual chapter mentor. He has helped the Baton Rouge SQL Server User Group with SQLSaturdays and speaks at local IT meetings.

T-SQL Tuesday #41 – Presenting and Loving It

Some Tuesday mornings I have bacon with eggs and an English muffin. Not today though. I am blogging about Why I Love Presenting for T-SQL Tuesday #41 hosted by Bob Pusateri. I will attempt to answer all his questions.

What was the first time you gave a presentation in front of a group and really enjoyed it?

It was probably when I worked at IEM and became a Microsoft Certified Database Administrator (MCDBA) in SQL Server 2000. We (me) started to do Lunch & Learns at the office where everybody brought their lunch to a conference room and listened to a presentation. We were about to upgrade to SQL Server 2000 from 7.0 and I was asked to show the .Net developers (I was a developer back then slowly becoming the Accidental DBA) what was new in SQL Server 2000. There was so much to talk about, that it took about 2 months giving a Lunch & Learn every 2 weeks to cover everything significant to developers. One thing I learned by presenting was that SQL Server 2000 included Cascade Update and Delete in foreign key constraints. I had just finished a month project coding this in triggers for a 7.0 database with 100+ tables.

Was it something that was required of you in school?

Yes, presenting at a speech class at LSU was a requirement, but I did not take it as serious as I do today. It was just school, right?

Something you did in the workplace?

Yes, see answer to first question. I also continued Lunch and Learns when I started working for Amedisys following IEM. They actually provide the lunch for the group. We were upgrading to SQL Server 2005 at this time. This eventually led to presenting at the local Baton Rouge SQL Server User group started by Patrick LeBlanc about the Performance Dashboard.

Were you inspired by other SQL community members and thought “I think I can do that too”?

After attending the second PASS Summit, this is what I started saying to myself. I noticed that some presenters were really excited (Grant Fritchey and Paul Neilsen) about a topic and I thought I could do the same. It was not as easy as I fantasized, but it was worth the time and energy.

Whatever your story is, I’d love to hear it.

From there, I presented at the local user group and started submitting to the Summit. I was not accepted the first 2 or 3 years, but after presenting at about 5-6 SQLSaturday events, I was accepted by SQLRally in 2011, then the Summit in 2011 and 2012. The Virtual Chapters of PASS really help as well and I started to volunteer to help run a VC.

By far the greatest benefit realized from presenting is learning the technology. There is countless hours I sit and read and practice the material over and over. This repetitiveness ingrains the mind with the ideas and practices of the technology. It then carries over into the day-to-day motions of being a DBA. The companies I have worked for get an experience expert.


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