Redmond, Washington SQL Saturday & Precons: Feb 9th & 10th on Microsoft Campus

SQL Saturday events occur in cities all over.  These events give technology professionals and students the opportunity to learn about database technologies, business intelligence, and new and emerging data trends to improve skills and master data.  I have been privileged to attend and speak and several SQL Saturdays around the world but the SQL Saturday in Redmond, Washington is special because it is close to home for Microsoft and people in the greater Seattle area.  SQL Saturday is always a free, sponsor-supported event with 60 to 90 minute, conference-length sessions presented by several noted industry professionals, authors and trainers.  Many of these sessions are selections of the same great learning content you would get from the same presenters at a large industry conference which might cost thousands of dollars to attend.  One of the great perks of being in Microsoft’s backyard is that several sessions are delivered by Microsoft product team leaders, with insider tips and timely information available from the people who develop SQL Server, Azure Services, Power BI and the rest of these great products.

In addition to the shorter sessions on Saturday, all-day preconference sessions on Friday give attendees the option for deeper, focused learning for a small fee to cover travel, facility and material costs.  This year, on Friday, Feb 9th; four preconference sessions are offered by traveling presenters.  Join Arnie Rowland, Ben Miller, Vern Rabe or myself for a full-day deep-dive into one of these compelling topics.  The following is from a recent announcement to the Pacific Northwest SQL User Group Members:

SQL Saturday Redmond – Feb 10, 2018

Just a reminder that SQLSaturday#696 will take place on Saturday, February 10, 2018 at Building 92, 15010 NE 35th St, Redmond, Washington, United States, 98052. SQLSaturday#696 is a free one day training event for SQL Server professionals and those interested in SQL Server. Please register for SQL Saturday Redmond 2018 at Registration.

Four All-day Preconferences – Friday, Feb 9, 2018

Also this year, we are offering Pre-Cons on Friday February 9, 2018, the day before SQLSaturday, in the same building (92): 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM. Each PreCon is well worth the modest fee. Register for a SQL Saturday Redmond PreCon by accessing its Eventbrite link below:

Building a Business Intelligence Solution with Power BI – Paul Turley https://www.eventbrite.com/e/power-bi-hands-on-workshop-tickets-41327327148

T-SQL for Performance and Accuracy – Vern Rabe https://www.eventbrite.com/e/t-sql-for-performance-and-accuracy-tickets-41172854115?aff=es2

Quelling Your Queasies: Mastering Technical Presentations – Arnie Rowland https://redmondprecon2017.eventbrite.com/

PowerShell Modules for the DBA – Ben Miller https://www.eventbrite.com/e/powershell-modules-for-the-dba-tickets-41368075026

See you there!

Please plan to join us in Redmond, on the Microsoft Campus – for the preconference on Friday, February 9th – and for SQL Saturday on February 10th, 2018.

Keeping Up with Power BI – A Never Ending Story

This first week of the new year has been a lot of housecleaning for me (literally and figuratively…  my office desk and cabinet will be clean by the end of the day!).  Three years into teaching classes and workshops on being productive with Power BI, it continues to be a product requiring a lot of work to stay current.  New features are introduced in every Power BI Desktop monthly update; not to mention updates to the cloud service and on-prem server.  You would have to be a child of the 80s to get the Never Ending Story reference.  Otherwise, it’s just a really bad flying dog – and pop song, which are both hard to explain, so we won’t.  The point is that it’s an ongoing effort to keep skills, courseware and presentation material up-to-date.

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If you’re like me, sometimes all these updates can be a bit of a distraction (we’re talking about Power BI again – not the dog, movie or song… case in point).  I’m excited by the continual innovations and improvements to Power BI.  However, the foundational rules of good design don’t really change that much.  Effective data curation, correct modeling and good core visualization design are as critical as ever.  The trick is to know which new features may be used to improve foundational design and which ones you can leave as icing on the cake for minor enhancements.  Updating courseware and workshop labs seems to be a never ending task and I’m hard at work revising older material and adding new content to prepare for new events this year.  An important topic I will continue to revisit this year is how Power BI is used along with other Microsoft tools to create different types of solutions.  I’m working on a new presentation to describe all of the incarnations of Power BI, used to deliver everything from self-service desktop reports – all the way up to enterprise-scale solutions for corporate users with governed and secured data – and most everything in-between.

The first workshop of the new year will be a one day preconference before the Redmond SQL Saturday, on Microsoft campus Friday, February 9.  You can sign-up for this event here.  I’m working on a few others in the following months and will update this and other blog posts when they are scheduled.  I hope to see you there.  You are welcome to send me questions or suggestions about specific topics of focus.  Just add a comment to this post, or reach me through Twitter or LinkedIn.

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