The last year hasn’t been easy and most of us, especially in the IT world, have learnt to exist inside our own 4 walls. One thing that has kept my husband and I (we are both DBA’s!) going is the data platform community. The community has given me so much over the years, the satisfaction of helping run a successful event, meeting really good friends, the kind you go on holiday with, networking with industry experts who are always there to help you and much more.
Most years we would attend at least one or two in person events to learn and catch up with people but in the current landscape in-person events aren’t possible. However those same people have given back to the community and started running virtual events where we can continue to learn and network. I can’t wait for in-person events to start up again but in the meantime the virtual events fill the gap.
I’m on the organizing committee of SQLBits and we were due to run at the end of March 2020 and had to make the decision very close to the event, to postpone to end of September, thinking that would be enough time for the world to return back to normal – how little did we know. But 6 weeks before the event we made the decision to turn it into a virtual event and over the course of 5 days we had a huge number of delegates enjoying learning and networking with sponsors, colleagues and speakers.
In the last few months we have also seen new events happening including:
- Data Weekender (https://www.dataweekender.com/) – I was fortunate enough to speak at their first event
- Data Toboggan (http://www.datatoboggan.co.uk/).
- New Stars of Data (https://www.newstarsofdata.com/
- Scottish Summit (https://scottishsummit.com/)
All of these events are free to attend and gives us chance to both learn and speak to people outside our normal day.
Now for the bad news, in January though PASS (originally known as the Professional Association for SQL Server) went into administration. For a long time this was the backbone of the Data Platform community hosting PASS Summit, SQL Saturdays and providing a place for User Groups to be hosted.
Microsoft have made an offering for User Groups and have launched a new platform, offering user groups MeetuPro licences and Community Teams so that we can all communicate, however they are still very keen to have the community run by the community and they are providing support, both financial and with regard to advice, and I for one am really excited to see how this develops and think it can only be a good thing. The full announcement from Buck Woody is here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obFlSwpIihc&feature=youtu.be
I’ve been actively involved in the Data Platform community for many years, and alongside my husband have run a user group in the South West of the UK. I am now involved in helping the new community emerge and have been invited to be on the Community Advisory Board, helping to shape the future of Microsoft Azure Data User Groups around the world. Microsoft’s ethos is “Community-owned, Microsoft Empowered” which I personally think is brilliant and can’t wait to see what happens next.
RedGate have now purchased the PASS brand for SQL Saturdays and PASS Summit and all their historical content . They have made the recordings from PASS Summit 2020 available to view here which is a great resource.
All in all these changes, whilst the reason for them is sad, I think can only be good for the community as a whole and I’m really excited to see what happens.
If you are interested in a joining your local user group, a lot of them can be found here this is a work in progress though so if there isn’t a local group there currently, check back later or get in touch and we can see if we can found your local group.
Finally, for the first time ever I will co-presenting with my husband at Data Relay on April 23rd. The reason for this is because the session I’m doing, “Writing database code to keep your DBA happy”, is one that I usually raise discussion points with the audience and is very interactive, because that’s not going to be easy with a virtual audience we decided to change it up a bit and co-present.
If you have any comments about anything I’ve covered here, I’d love to hear them.