Being only about a 5 hour drive away, when I saw the session schedule for SQL Saturday Jacksonville publish this year, I couldn’t resist signing up for a road trip down. A session list rich with professional development and data visualization topics, both of which I tend to really enjoy. So, on Friday, I hopped into the car and had a nice drive down to Jacksonville for SQL Saturday 391, and it didn’t disappoint!
As per usual, the event was very smoothly run. Check-in was quick and painless (thanks, SpeedPass), and the sponsor area was easy to navigate with many familiar faces. Always good to see repeat sponsors! With a jam packed day of sessions, it was time to get started.
The first session I attended for the day was Mike Davis’s (B | T) presentation on Handling Interview Puzzles. Being someone who conducts a fair number of interviews myself, I was interested in hearing some opinions on those strange and sometimes difficult puzzle questions sometimes asked in interviews. The session did not disappoint with a number of great examples, many of which has been used at some point by Google.
Following a little Professional Development with Mike Davis, I attended Jason Virtue’s (B | T) presentation on Azure Data Services – Real-time Analytics. Jason used both the standard Microsoft demo which performs real-time analysis of Twitter tweets as well as a demo created in Power BI Preview. This is an area I’m predicting a lot of growth over the next few years as data becomes more and more available — real-time dashboarding.
Following lunch (a mix of Italian and pizza), the afternoon sessions kicked off for me. First up for me was Andy Warren’s (B | T) presentation, Turbocharge Your Career with a Learning Plan. Part two of a planned three part series (Part 1 covered Professional Development Plans), this is a presentation I’d been wanting to see for a while now, but things just hadn’t lined up. In the session, Andy covered the basics of how to create a Learning Plan, including the creation of Learning Lists and keeping a Learning Log. Andy does a great job of taking project management concepts and simplifying them into a usable way which can be used for professional development. A great session, I can’t wait to see what the third part eventually covers.
Micron had one of the stranger, yet cooler pieces of swag at the event. Micro claims to be the Bacon of SQL Server. As such, they gave out bacon-colored t-shirts (which smelled like bacon) as well as had a raffle for the Bacon of the Month club. I love the creativity, that’s thinking outside of the box! (even if my closet does now smell like bacon)
As the day progresses on, people start to get worn down. A SQL Saturday is a long day crammed full of learning and information. Jacksonville has a great solution for this. At the 2 o’clock break, the ice cream bar rolls out and everyone is treated to a free sundae. A nice little sugary pick-me-up to make it through the final sessions of the day.
Finally, it was time for the day to come to an end. The crowd gathered in the auditorium for the closing comments and raffle. The event looked to be a great success with 575 registrations (a new record for the event). Always great seeing these events really grow and flourish. I really enjoyed my time in Jacksonville, but it was time to get in the car and start the drive home (so I didn’t get a chance to check out the after party, but I’m sure it was great — they usually are). Here’s to next year!