For someone that's been in the working world for many years (I wish I really were only 29 ;-), I know the struggle that everyone goes through in keeping up with technology. I admit, it's hard to stay current and it takes time and effort to do so. I attend online webcasts, I read whitepapers, I attend conferences, I attend classes. Also, I constantly work with the product both at my customers but also in testing and development environments. I spend much of my day (and life :) using and working with SQL Server. I'm lucky in the sense that I'm completely focused on this product for my work. Many of you have to work with multiple products and therefore you rely on best practices to help you through a lot of what you do. Learning takes time and money and is hard to directly quantify. And, if you end up in a session that's not what you thought – you either have to leave (and may not have any way to replace this lost time) or you have to sit and waste your time in a session that just won't give you the return you expected. Instead, maybe you'll catch up on email… somewhat useful but not really what you had wanted.

So, what I've found is that I really need to strive to get better ROI from my learning options. And, I need to learn the right way to do something… This is absolutely critical in IT. If we lose data or have downtime, that translates into lost customers and ultimately lost revenue. But, it's hard to directly quantify training and this in turn makes it difficult to request (from management) especially when it's so easy to see the costs. But, where are the returns? The returns are in more effective practices which improve performance and reliability of your servers. They're in learning automation options. They're in learning troubleshooting best practices. They're in learning design techniques that will make your database more scalable – from the start – rather than having to fight fires when your database no longer performs.

To get the best ROI, I need to get information from reputable sources and ideally, sources that are also able to convey these technical concepts in a digestible way. And, I also need to be sure of all of my options! And, what's best for what type of learning and what type of budget. I wrote this post where I discussed the pros/cons of different types of events.

And, to help you, I thought I'd give you a list of the upcoming events and your options that are coming up this Fall.

 

October 25-29, 2010: BI Immersion Event in Bellevue, WA – USA

Immersion Events are intense and focused training events taught by the best and most experienced people in the business. This BI Immersion Event is presented by Stacia Misner and offers best practices from configuration to implementation to performance for the end-to-end BI stack (SSIS, SSRS, SSAS). It's meant for all levels but offers a level-setting module to make sure that everyone's on the same page. Whether your already working with BI in SQL Server or if you're relatively new to BI (but have been working with SQL Server for awhile), this class will offer a lot of tips and tricks to make you more productive. For more details, check out the BI Immersion Event here: http://www.sqlskills.com/BIImmersion102010.asp.

November 1-5, 2010: SQL Connections in Las Vegas, NV – USA

This conference offers not only best practices and tips/tricks about SQL Server but also boasts parallel tracks with the DevConnections conference suite. If you're working with Visual Studio, Sharepoint, ASP.NET, or Silverlight you can attend sessions at the other conferences to help widen your knowledge. And, for this year's event SQL Connections is also co-located with Windows Connections and Exchange Connections. Ultimately, this means BETTER VALUE as you get 7 Conferences for the Price of One! Attendance to any one Connection show lets you attend any of the over 250 sessions at our co-located conferences for no additional charge. And, you'll find industry experts in every Connections conference. When Paul and I work to create the SQL Connections conference we look for industry experts that really shine in their areas of expertise. Additionally, these experts are able to convey this information effectively and concisely. There are also pre- and post-conference workshops that can be added to your conference experience to help add value and make the most of your time. For SQL Connections, we are offering these workshops:

November 1 (pre-conference workshop) - SPR201: Database Best Practices for the Involuntary DBA (9:00AM – 4:00PM), presented by Kimberly L. Tripp and Paul S. Randal, SQLskills.com
November 1 (pre-conference workshop)- SPR302: Day of Scripting: Plumbing The Depths of SQL Server / PowerShell Integration (9:00AM – 4:00PM), presented by Bob Beauchemin, SQLskills.com
November 5 (post-conference workshop)- SPS301: Indexing Strategies and Analysis (9:00AM – 4:00PM), presented by Kimberly L. Tripp, SQLskills.com

For more information, see DevConnections online here and SQLConnections online here. And, did I mention that it's in Las Vegas?!

November 8-12, 2010: PASS Summit in Seattle, WA – USA

This conference is completely focused on SQL Server and all aspects of it. There are numerous community sessions and speakers from around the world, giving sessions on best practices and lessons learned. It's in Seattle, so this allows folks from the SQL team to attend and therefore this conference boasts a few special options such as networking with folks from the SQL team and the SQLCAT (Customer Advisory Team). This conference also has pre- and post-conference workshops that can be added to your conference experience to help add values and make the most of your time. For PASS, there are numerous workshops. Here, I'll list only those delivered by SQLskills team members:

November 8 (pre-conference workshop) - Database Best Practices for the Involuntary DBA (DBA-282-P), presented by Kimberly L. Tripp and Paul S. Randal, SQLskills.com
November 12 (post-conference workshop)- Indexing Strategies that work: Covering Concepts, Concerns, Costs (AD-325-P), presented by Kimberly L. Tripp, SQLskills.com

December 9-13, 2010: SQL Immersion Event in San Diego, CA – USA

Immersion Events are intense and focused training events taught by the best and most experienced people in the business. And, this SQL Immersion Event was added on the heals of two very popular immersion events offered earlier in the year (Boston, MA in March and Bellevue, WA in August). Both classes were very well received and had a waitlist so we decided to add this third event for the year. We explain everything we teach to whatever depth you want to go and we bring our real-world experiences to the classroom to provide proven examples of best practices and tips/tricks.  For more details, check out the SQL Immersion Event here: http://www.sqlskills.com/SQLImmersion122010.asp.

We have lots planned and we hope to see you at one or more of these upcoming events!

Cheers,
Kimberly