Learn A Bit More

  • Comments posted to this topic are about the item Learn A Bit More

  • I've been going to SQL Bits since number 3, they are fantastic. I actually enjoy them more and feel I learn mor from them that the paid for conferences. At the paid for ones it feels like there is a lot of pressure to deliver enough content to make the deligates (and the people who paid for them) feel that they had got their moneys worth. The free ones are a lot mere relaxed and somehow seem to deliver more out of it (at least SQL Bits do)

    I'll definatly be going to the next one, and also doing my best to talk all my friends and collegues into going to (OK. Just the ones that are into SQL Server!) 😀

    Maybe see some of you peeps there too?


    Assumption is the mother of all F***ups

  • There's only been one large free SQL specific event locally. I presented at it, and helped put it on (although Adam Machanic did most of the work), which technically means I attended. But yeah, I'd go to the free one's as well. Why not? It's usually many of the same people presenting, so you'll get high quality stuff. Plus, you get different perspectives from the people that aren't as well known, but are absolutely equally capable.

    The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood... Theodore Roosevelt
    The Scary DBA
    Author of: SQL Server 2022 Query Performance Tuning, 6th Edition and SQL Server Execution Plans, 3rd Edition
    Product Evangelist for Red Gate Software

  • Outside of the local SQL Server user group and a rare local free Microsoft event, there's no money in the budget for conferences or formal training. So I take an occasional evening or weekend and hit the books. You would think I live in the third world, not one of the wealthiest counties in the US. 😛

  • I used to live in Northern New Hampshire where I was at least 2 hours from the nearest events, usually more like 3 or 4 (Boston), including user groups. When I moved to the Orlando area a couple of years ago one of the benefits was a local SQL Server user group within 30 minutes and all kinds of other events. In my first 6 months here I had gone to a Day with Joe Celko for $99, the first SQLSaturday, a day of Silverlight, and the Orlando PASS. Since then I have spoken at 2 user groups, 2 SQLSaturday's and my level of knowledge about SQL Server has increased greatly. As far as professional development goes, I couldn't imagine going back to where I was and I don't understand why anyone would NOT want to attend a free training event and/or user group.

  • I have been to several SQL Saturdays and .Net Code Camps and I went to SQL PASS 2008. I think the free events are great and I have learned a lot and made a lot of friends (especially if you volunteer), however, as you advance in your knowledge level, attending PASS is something you want to consider. The speakers there were all tops in the industry, very knowledgeable, seasoned speakers and very open to answering questions and just chatting. The vendors at PASS were helpful as well, especially Microsoft and Redgate. I have also been to a couple of MSDN events and, although they were interesting, most of the topics were about new software or features that it will probably be a year before my office even considers getting.

  • I have traveled 2 hours to the SQL Saturday Event in Birmingham, AL. Then I have gone 3 hours up to Huntsville to some other user group meetings. I try to go to free events as often as I can if I have the money to travel and work lets me off.

    Shawn Melton
    Twitter: @wsmelton
    Blog: wsmelton.github.com
    Github: wsmelton

  • I guess my question is, why would you NOT go to one of these events? Fear that maybe the people presenting don't know what they're talking about? So leave the session. It only costs some time, which, while important, is something that you should be spending to increase your knowledge and employability.

    The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood... Theodore Roosevelt
    The Scary DBA
    Author of: SQL Server 2022 Query Performance Tuning, 6th Edition and SQL Server Execution Plans, 3rd Edition
    Product Evangelist for Red Gate Software

  • There's definitely a different value proposition for user group meetings vs an all day event. User groups typically only have a single presenter and if turns out not be what you expected, the only other value is the networking. I've grown to have an appreciation of the networking so it's never a total loss for me. Equally, many only go to a user group if they are interested in the topic. I can understand that, though I think they still miss out on value.

    By comparision, an all day event (assuming 2 tracks as a minimum) is almost a guaranteed win. If a session isn't what you expected, pick up and go to another one. There are definitely more newbie speakers at free events (by design) but I've rarely been disappointed with the content. If they have the knowledge and passion, I can live through any blips in their presentation skills.

    I agree with Trish that PASS (or other paid events) have value too. If budget allows I definitely recommend attending.

    But to answer the question, I attend any free training that I can find - it has and continues to pay dividends for me.

  • I think we need more people like Steve talking about and promoting user group events and SQL Saturdays. I run a user group and have a SQL Saturday coming up. The folks where I live do like to attend all this and benefit but they dont think it is a feather on their cap like attending conferences or even formal training. A conference is a very glamor thing, for lots of people - especially the big ones like Tech Ed. I got comments from people to do SQL Saturday on a working day so that they get time off from work to come..i don't change my schedule for them..if you want to learn, you come. And there are people who do. Just far fewer than the ones who are in it for the glamor.

  • There's no money for conferences in this job and I don't do Saturdays - I've got a life and personal commitments 🙂

    If it's weekday and free or cheap I would be able to go. And we do get some training courses.

    I used to go to BUG (Borland User Group) when I was a Delphi developer for a previous employer and that was really good for expanding knowledge. But weekends are for family and I'm certainly not "in it for the glamour" - my ambition is to retire!.

  • Really don't mean to debate on this...but I've got family commitments too..so do several speakers and people who volunteer their time for all the events we do on weekends, saturdays. As an organiser i even do not get time to learn from the talks like others do, just on my feet all the time dealing with logistics. All I expect is some understanding from the user community - when you get things for free there are some tradeoffs, doing it off hours is one of them. Please do respect the fact that the rest of us do have families and do put in time/commitment to do it.

  • I would love to attend one for free and during weekends....:-)

  • One of the reasons we've focused on Saturday events is to be able to get a good group of speakers. Many speakers have trouble taking off from work to participate, putting it on a Saturday makes it possible. Same for attendees, not all employers good about letting employees go - often a perception that free = not much value. If someone wants to do an event on Friday we'll do what we can to help, after all, the logistics are the same.

    And as far as giving up a Saturday to learn, that's an individual choice. I think trading a Sat or two a year for knowledge that keeps me employable is a good deal and I'd like to think that anyone who has attended would agree. I evangelize it, but everyone gets to make the value calculation based on their own circumstances!

  • I will be driving from New Orleans to Baton Rouge tomorrow morning (1.5 hour drive) to attend SQL Server Saturday. I'm happy to have the opportunity for the free training. Microsoft has not been here to offer us free training for several years. I attend local user group meetings here or in Baton Rouge occasionally when there is a topic I am interested in. My employer rarely will pay for training and it would be impossible right now, in the current economic climate, to ask them to pay for training.


    To speak algebraically, Mr. M. is execrable, but Mr. C. is
    Edgar Allan Poe
    [Discussing fellow writers Cornelius Mathews and William Ellery Channing.]

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