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We Are Microsoft (GiveCamp Dallas)

Last weekend (January 15-17) found me at the third annual GiveCamp Dallas event, known locally as We Are Microsoft.  This event pairs developers and other technical professionals with charities who are long on need but short on funds for technology.  Most if not all of the projects are web-based, and represented a wide variety of organizations and needs.

This is my third year to have participated, but my first where I wasn’t part of a single team – I had a schedule conflict that originally kept me from registering, but after my schedule was cleared for the weekend, registration was already closed.  Since I got in so late, I was assigned to the “Flying Committee”, a small group who went from group to group to help fill in the gaps.  The past two years was a good opportunity to get to know some new people very well, since you end up spending 40+ hours working shoulder-to-shoulder with a small group; this time I met a lot of people, but didn’t really get that foxhole experience of years past.  Still, it was good to help out where I could, and I got to catch up with a few people I worked with last year, including Jay Smith, Todd Stone, and others.  I was also happy to see fellow NTSSUG member Trevor Barkhouse there, since the last 2 years found us short of database people.

If you’ve never done a GiveCamp, I encourage you to check out an event in your area, or organize your own.  It’s a good experience, and more importantly, a great cause.

Tim Mitchell

Tim Mitchell is a business intelligence consultant, author, trainer, and Microsoft Data Platform MVP with over thirteen years of data management experience. He is the founder and principal of Tyleris Data Solutions.

Tim has spoken at international and local events including the SQL PASS Summit, SQLBits, SQL Connections, along with dozens of tech fests, code camps, and SQL Saturday events. He is coauthor of the book SSIS Design Patterns, and is a contributing author on MVP Deep Dives 2.

You can visit his website and blog at TimMitchell.net or follow him on Twitter at @Tim_Mitchell.


Posted by jcrawf02 on 27 January 2010

These strike me as a great learning opportunity, but some advice first, should I try to go knowing that I won't be very valuable? Or is that just defeating the purpose?

Posted by Tim Mitchell on 5 February 2010

Having participated in three events, I've seen a wide variety of skill levels among the volunteers.  I can see that the event could be a learning opportunity for someone who wants to sharpen his/her skills.  Probably not the best place to go to learn something for the first time, but if you're expecting to get some experience working with a technical team and trying some new methods, it can be a good self-improvement exercise (as well as a good cause).

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