I found out about the Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) in 2008 when I attended my first PASS Community Summit “SQL Server Heroes UNITE”. For those who don’t know what the PASS Summit is, it is the largest SQL Server and BI convention in the world. A SQL Nerd Herd. While attending the PASS Community Summit I learned about our extensive SQL Community on twitter, learned about SQL Saturday’s and PASS Chapters.
I quickly got much more involved in the SQL Community by attending and speaking at SQL Saturdays and user groups across the south east. By my involvement with the community I have been able to increase my knowledge of SQL Server much more quickly by having access to very talented SQL Server professionals. Our community is strong. I have connected with other professionals from all over the world.
Over the past six years I have watched and helped PASS grow. Way back in 2008 the SQL Saturday count was low, the first one I attended was in the 30’s. The first one I spoke at was in the 60’s. Now they are in the 300’s. The PASS Summit continues to draw record crowds. SQL Saturdays have been offering full day precon sessions for years. We have 24 Hours of PASS, SQL Rally, SQL Saturdays all over the globe, a record number of PASS Chapters, BI focused SQL Saturdays, virtual PASS Chapters, and more.
Over the past few years I have taken over the local PASS Chapter in my town, have been a regional mentor for my region, was recognized as an outstanding PASS volunteer, have spoken at over 30 SQL Saturdays, dozens of user groups, given several webinars, written books, blogged, etc. None of this would have been possible had it not been for PASS to provide the infrastructure and our awesome SQL Community.
Over the past couple of years PASS has tried to grow into the Business Analytics space. A new event called PASS BAC has been started. The Business Analytics world is getting a lot of attention and rightfully so. You can just as easily interchange Business with Data. I have been working with a data scientist over the past few months. This person works heavily with MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, R, SAP, Excel, Oracle, Hadoop, MongoDB and other technologies. For this person he doesn’t really care about the database engine he is pulling data from, however he does care a bit about where he is storing his analytic data. Learning about this persons role has been eye opening.
As this field continues to grow, PASS has seen an opportunity to expand and try to grow into this region of data analytics. This is evident with the creation of the BAC event. Part of this decision ledPASS to drop the full name of the chartered organization from published content. PASS will be simply PASS instead of the Professional Association for SQL Server. When this announcement went out via a blog post, it was met with a mixed reaction from the community. My personal reaction was a feeling of hurt. I felt a bit jaded that the community that was built for SQL Server users was going to lose the attention on the Microsoft data platform. The initial communication sharing the news of PASS dropping professional and SQL Server from the name was not as clear as it could have been. It caught many of us off guard. In reaction to the community chatter, our current PASS President addressed it well in a blog post. I loved the analogy of building a bigger umbrella.
Does this change affect my PASSion for PASS, no. PASS is still an awesome part of our SQL community that I love. Our community makes PASS, however PASS helps provide a lot of the infrastructure to help grow the community too. Will I continue to share the experience of PASS with others as I travel and speak about Microsoft SQL Server, absolutely. Should you be a member of PASS, heck yes. If you are not a current member, it would greatly benefit you to sign up to “connect, share and learn”. sqlpass.org