Heading To PASS Summit 2015 – Now What?

PASS_2015_200x200You’ve heard about it for some time now, and you finally got the gumption to ask your boss if the company would send you to PASS Summit 2015. A few days or weeks elapse and you get word that you were the chosen one from the company to attend – FANTASTIC, you say….but wait – – what in the world am I supposed to do? What should I expect? Will someone throw a fish at me in Seattle?

First off, relax. I want to share some advice with you that may help ease your mind and make your trip a ton of fun. Pull up a chair and stay a few minutes; this is a blog post and not a dissertation so I won’t take to long.

What Can I Expect?

PASS Summit 2014Simple question with profound meaning. I can only tell you of my experiences and what I’ve been through as alumni to the conference.

My first PASS Summit was back in 2011 (documented here) and it was one that changed the outlook on my career forever. I was green to the community thing and come to find out I was not the only one.

A ton of sessions, a ton of speakers, a ton of people – with all that said the experience was hands down  the best professional work conference I’ve attended.

Fruits of Attending?

Community ZoneWhat can I gain from attending? Beside the knowledge of sessions you have a plethora of opportunities to network with speakers, vendors, and other data professionals on a daily basis?

Do you have a question for Microsoft? If so, head on over to their triage center to get some direct help or visit the community zone.

Even better; this last trip resulted in me meeting an individual at a table. Out of 5 k data professionals I strike up a conversation with this person and we talk over breakfast. This person is from the exact same city I am from – who knew? As I get back into town I had a position become available; guess what I ended up hiring the individual after an interview process and it has worked out very well for both of us. You never know what may come out of attending this conference.

What Do I Bring?

Everyone is different; normally what you will find with me at the conference are (but not limited to):

  1. Business cards
  2. Laptop or Surface
  3. Battery Stick
  4. Mifi (although they have WiFi there)
  5. Chargers
  6. Cell phone
  7. Batteries
  8. Mouse
  9. Thumb Drive (cause you know, why not)
  10. Pens
  11. 3×5 cards (some form of paper in case I need to jog something down real fast)
  12. Hand Sanitizer

I tend to keep a second bag in my back pack of other essentials. Be creative, this is just a list to help you get started.

The Sessions

You won’t be able to see all the sessions you want to. I suggest you create your schedule online at the PASS site. This gets you a head start, but keep in mind that part of the fruits of being there is to meet people and talk.

You can purchase all the sessions for the conference; just ask one of the many volunteers where you need to go. It’s fairly inexpensive and most companies I know will reimburse you for it as you bring them home to the team or the ones who could not go. Plus it helps you see the other sessions you didn’t get to attend.

Have Some Fun

Lastly, as I bring this to a close, have some fun. It’s easy to get overwhelmed I get that. Just enjoy yourself and embrace the journey you are about to embark on. You won’t regret being involved with something so great within the PASS Community.

I look forward to seeing you there; if you run into me say hi. I don’t mind stopping and talking to new and old faces a like.


SQL Prompt 7 by RedGate

SQLPrompt7UpdatedRedGate unleashed their newest version of SQL Prompt recently. It is no secret to those of you who know me that, where I work, we are a RedGate shop. Needless to say, even if I was not at my current employer I would still want this type of utility in my arsenal.

A lot of data professionals are always looking for ways to “save time” or “get ahead” in their day-to-day activities and this is one utility that will help provide some lift in those areas.

Why would I want to use this utility you may ask? Below are some of the highlights that this product offers that have helped me streamline some of my day-to-day activities:

  • Tab History – being able to save or preview work that was done in SSMS allowing me to jump right back into where I left off is a huge benefit.
  • Actions List – this new feature that allows you to select your code and provide hot keys so-to-speak if phenomenal
  • SQL Formatting – enough said on this one. That’s right; I don’t have to go into detail; ever find that nasty code and you wonder who anyone can read it. Quick and easy option to format the code base you are working with.
  • Auto Complete – if you’ve ever used something similar to this you’ll learn quick that this auto complete feature of joins etc. are pretty awesome. I always hear colleagues, co-workers, other community members that when this portion becomes unavailable they quickly realize how good they had it.
  • Snippets – sharing snippets with other team members is huge.

I’m proud to say that I’ve worked with this utility greatly and would recommend it as a viable option to improve efficiency. Don’t take my word for it though; as with anything try it out.

Go check out the product here you won’t be disappointed.