(scottish) sql bob blog

rss

Some thoughts of your typical data shepard / data groomer / data dance teacher sort of person.


#SQLGLA 2018
#SQLGLA 2018

Forgive me whilst I indulge in some nostalgia first.  Whilst at SQL Bits 2016, I finally made the decision to start a SQL user group in Glasgow.  If I remember correctly Craig Porteous attend the infamous SQL Bits party and met a gentleman dressed as a Wookie  (William Durkin).  Now Glasgow has a growing SQL server user group (thanks to a dedicated hard working team).  Not only that we just had our second SQL conference!  (Yes SQL Bits has lot to answer for ;->)

 

Funny image


SQLGLA was a fantastic event it has left me with some wonderful feelings.  This blog post is part thank you to those involved, also just to express some of my feelings / experiences of the event.



unsplash-logo rawpixel


Organizing Team
 

Craig Porteous, Louise Paterson and I are the people who organised this year's event.  I felt we were a team (this is a theme, by the way).  Each of us contributed to the success of the event, in a different way.  The success of the event was not down a single person in my opinion. It was about us all coming together to make it a success.  Craig did put a lot of work into making the event what it was.

Photo by William White on Unsplash
unsplash-logo William White


Volunteers
 

There are few words to express my gratitude about our team of volunteers.  As an organizing team, we have all volunteered before so we knew what is expected of volunteers.  There was a lovely mix of those who have done it before and few who have never done any volunteering.  What a team though, they all worked really hard.  Speaking personally, I am so proud of them, they made this event for me. Not once did I have to worry about if something was done or not being done.  They just made it happen.  Whilst I have said this before I cannot thank them enough for being such an amazing team, they exceeded all my expectations.



unsplash-logo DESIGNECOLOGIST


Speakers 

Last year thanks to William Durkin we had such an amazing lineup, and yet this year lineup was even better!  A few days before the event I was looking through the list.  It would be a fair comment to say I was blown away by the quality of those who choose to speak at our event.  The feedback that I have heard so far the attendees also agree 🙂  Looking the depth of experience and knowledge that was shared, was to me awe inspiring.  Whats even better is they all came to Scotland to share their knowledge and expertise with us.

 

unsplash-logo Sandy Millar

 

SQL Family 

It’s a phrase that I've seen often on social media, these are not just words it's something that can be seen and experienced in real life.  To experience it is very humbling and gratifying.  A few weeks before the event I was contacted by Chris Taylor (@SQLGeordieone of the speakers.  The speakers had decided they wanted to get something for Craig & Karen Porteous who are expecting their second child.  It was my privilege and honor to present the gift on their behalf.  Hopefully, Craig will forgive me one day for gate-crashing the closing presentation to present the gift?  As Craig knew nothing about this gift. 



T-shirts 

To make the event something that little different we wanted to find a design for the t-shirts that was rather special.  Having worked with Emily Chappell over the years on various projects, her quirky designs and sense of style really works for me.  So I suggested we should ask Emily for a design for the t-shirts.  The first design was not what we wanted.  So next we all got together in a coffee shop at lunchtime.  We had a chat did some brainstorming,  Emily then sent back a design which we all loved (see picture below).  Personally, I’ve never been to a technical conference where they sold the t-shirts :-)

 

unsplash-logo rawpixel


Next?

First there are few housekeeping duties to take care, which we are just finishing off just now.  Followed by some discussions to see what will be the next step 🙂  All I can safely say is keep looking there will be some exciting news soon....


What do I plan to learn in 2018

There is saying “if you want to change some things in your life, you have to change somethings in your life”.  So this blog post is part of me changing something in my life.  Whilst I might think its a good idea to publicly commit to something then work towards that goal, this is not something that I have done for before.  So here goes.  Yes this was inspired by the T-SQL Tuesday topic in December 2018, which I mis-read the date for :-) 

What do I plan to learn this year?

Machine learning - this has been on my agenda for quite sometime now.  This is an area where I see opportunities to apply to my current role in BI

R - Jen Stirrup introduced me to this tool many years ago at SQL Bits, the more I have learned the better it gets.  Now that R is supported by SQL server and PowerBI it's time to go a lot deeper.

Python - having been aware of this language for a while now, whilst looking at looking more closely at machine learning, this is one the languages which is mentioned 

Powershell - having attempted to use this before with limited success, I’ve been inspired by the example of my co-organiser Craig Porteous, Rob Sewell and Chrissy LeMarie.  So I’m going so I’m take this to the next level and see what I can achieve.

BIML - this just seems to have so much potential, finding myself writing more and more SSIS packages that have patterns, now's the time to learn more and do more.

How am I going to learn about these topics?

My preferred method is video training.  This means I am in control of the tempo, if I have 5 mins then can watch a video (or part of).  On the other hand if I have not grasped something it is possible to repeat it till I get it.  One course on Microsoft Virtual Academy (https://mva.microsoft.com/) about the use of the APPLY keyword I had watch several before grasping the concept.  At the moment Udemy is working well for me, just make sure you wait till the one of the regular sales.

In person events is something which has been of massive benefit for me.  My first visit to SQL Bits was without doubt a career and life changer.  Having the opportunity to hear from so many fantastic amazing speakers is a wonderful.  Then there is the networking that is another story, even for a confirmed introvert like me!

Books are still a part of my learning.  Recently I have found myself reading more using electronic books.  There is difference between a physical book and an electronic book.  The later is easier for to take my library with me.  So it doesn't matter if the book is at home or work. 

What I am going to aim to do in 2018 (gulp!!)

Teach - the go to person regarding SQL server in my company is me.  At the moment I am writing some lessons to teach what I know about SQL Server and related skills.  This encourages me to make sure that anything I am teaching that I have a through understanding of the topic.

Blog - writing posts has been patchy, so this is my commitment to write at least one blog post per month.  This year I refuse to allow impostor syndrome to put me off (no excuses).

Submit sessions - on this subject, time to take my own advice / encouragement to speak about what I know,  My success is built on those who have taken the time to speak and teach, and I want to give back.

Stack-overflow - having attempted to answer some questions previously with varying degrees of success.   Rather than waiting, now the strategy is chasing down questions that I can answer / contribute  Who knows chances are that it is myself who will learn more than anyone else :-)

Attend another conference - SQL Bits has been and will be the highlight of my technical year (SQL Geek Christmas / New Year).  In 2018 my minimum  commitment is to attend at least one other event.  If possible as a speaker, volunteer, or at least as an attendee.

There are some other goals I have set myself, they are more personal development that technical development.

Soft skills - ask my partner she will tell you these could do with some work.  As a self concession introvert, its not easy to work with people.  Recently small achievements mean that it inspires me to learn and work harder.

#SQLGLA 2018 - the Glasgow SQL server user group ran, their first event (2107).  This was an amazing learning adventure, so we are getting bigger, watch out Glasgow.

Now that I have committed these goals time to go and start making them happen.  Expect a summary in, December 2018.


We all make mistakes
It happens to us all.  Speaking personally, I do not want to admit to them, or in some cases, I keep making the same ones.  Yes, we all make mistakes its part of life.  In my experience, these can become war stories.  When you talk about the time you <insert horror story here>.  Yes, and I am putting up my hand to say that like anyone else I have made mistakes, some days it feels like that I have made more mistakes than done things right!

What's so hard about making mistakes for me?  The embarrassment of it, maybe I did not know something, or yes that thing that I did well, yes, I did know better.  It's not easy for me to admit mistakes.  Just ask my long-suffering partner (thank goodness, she does not read my blog!).  Yes, I do like to be right and do it the right way.  Admitting that I was wrong, or did something stupid, takes it out of me, it's not easy. 

Hopefully, in my professional life, I am a little better at dealing with my mistakes.  A few years ago, one of my jobs was with a large consultancy company.  I was the person responsible for producing reports for the service desk.  From time to time there were errors with the reports that I was responsible for producing.  During that time, I developed a strategy which I still use to deal with mistakes. 

1) Take responsibility 
It's not easy to put your hand to say you have made a mistake.  On the other hand, how to do you learn from mistakes?  For me, part of growing is learning to take the bad with the good.  Also personally speaking I have more respect for someone who has what it takes to say when they have made a mistake.  Even if you have not made the mistake you find, then take make it your responsibility to fix that mistake.   If I do this then my primary focus is to get the issue resolved and move on.  Finger pointing or the blaming someone is not part of this.
 
2) Find the challenge  
What when wrong?  How did it happen?  Be able to explain what happened, in simple non-technical language that anyone can understand.   Also be confident that you can explain in technical terms to your peers.

3) Fix it 
Get your hands dirty, get involved in fixing the issue.   Help find a solution to rectify the challenge or work with the people fixing the challenge if you can.  For me, I have and do still learn so much just from fixing mistakes. 

4) Prevent it! 
Better to have a fence at the cliff edge than a hospital at the bottom.  What will stop it happening the mistake happening again?  An extra check of something, a checklist of things to do in the same situation. 

Is there something I missed, do you have a different strategy.  Maybe you disagree? Let me know, every day is school day for me :-)