I first heard of PASS (Professional Association for SQL Server) in connection with the PASS Summit. I had a several co-workers who had attended the PASS Summit before. Several years later we had a local PASS Chapter started in my town and I started attending the meetings when I could. It was really great to see so many others who work with SQL Server come together and discuss topics of interest. Two weeks before the PASS Summit 2009 my boss came up to me and asked me if I wanted to attend the PASS Summit or some other training. I asked him his opinion and he stated that the Summit was the best option, any other training I could get from a book. I quickly got online and registered and booked my hotel and flight for Seattle. I was lucky to have another co-worker Jonathan who was able to attend the Summit as well. We had a great time seeing some of the sites of Seattle and attending mind numbing sessions. We tried to not attend to many of the same sessions so we could share the highlights of the sessions we attended over lunch and dinner (the food in Seattle is SO GOOD). I was so overwhelmed with all the technical sessions that I didn’t get to take advantage of all the networking opportunities. I only knew two other people so attending any of the evening events was like starting a new school. I just focused on learning everything I could and in the evenings would just study up on what I had learned the previous day. One really cool thing I learned about at the PASS Summit was SQL Saturdays. Once I got back to town I told my team about them and have so far attended two of them. One of the big benefits of SQL Saturday is the format is much like the PASS Summit but with fewer in attendance so it is a lot easier to network with other DBA’s and still get a nice mix of sessions.
I was again very fortunate this year to be able to attend the PASS Summit. From being much more involved in the local PASS Chapter (co-president) and attending two SQL Saturdays, as well as being on Twitter, I have made many more contacts within the SQL Community. This year attending the PASS Summit was as much about networking as it was about learning more about SQL Server. People I have been tweeting with for months I got to meet in person, people I had met at SQL Saturday I got to see again. While at the PASS Summit it was suggested to me that I should submit a session for SQL Saturday #62 in Tampa FL. That night I created an abstract and submitted it. Yesterday I got an email from SQL Saturday #62 that my session has been accepted. I am both really excited and really nervous to be speaking at a SQL Saturday. I am probably more nervous about practicing my session this Tuesday at my local chapter meeting than in Tampa. I truly hope that I will be able to have a positive impact on some other DBA’s life as others have had on mine. I will be presenting a session on “You inherited a database, now what”. I hope to attend many more SQL Saturdays this year and to speak at as many as possible.
I wish I could list out all the awesome people I got to hang out with at the PASS Summit this year but I know I would miss a few names so I will just say thank you to all of you who helped make my Summit 2010 the best SQL PASS EVER!
If you are not a member of PASS I strongly recommend that you go to www.sqlpass.org and join.