Alumni Attendees Share Their Experiences

How many PASS Summit events have you attended, and when was your first year?

Maria: I have attended two PASS Summits: 2011 and 2012

Last year, 2012, in Seattle.

I have been to the past two Summits (2011 and 2012).

In 20 words or less, what did you like most about the PASS Summit(s) you’ve attended?

Maria: I was truly impressed by all the activities around the First Timers and the amazing willingness of others to help. The SQL Server community is truly wonderful and unique. The other thing that I loved about PASS Summit was the remarkably high technical level of the sessions and the speakers.

Clifton: I love the networking with other members, and the ability to learn so much in one place!

Mark: No event I have ever attended has instilled the sense of belonging I feel at PASS Summit.

How did a specific PASS Summit session help you solve a technical problem or need at work?

Maria: Right before I left for PASS Summit 2012, we had spent quite a while planning an upgrade to our data warehouse. During Summit, I talked to many people and spoke to the SQLCAT team representative. The design that we had decided upon got totally changed, and an upgrade to SQL Server 2012, with all its great features, was added to the plan. After returning from Summit, we performed the POC using the final solution, and it was very successful. Now we are in the middle of the upgrade, and I hope the final result will be even better than the POC.

The session that helped me the most was: DMVs: Power in Your Hands [DBA-402].
I learned so much about how to troubleshoot and tune SQL Server in this session.

Mark: Doug Lane's “Developers are from Mars, Report Servers are from Venus” session at PASS Summit 2011 taught me some great tips and tricks for Reporting Services. I still use a lot of that today.

How have PASS Summit’s additional learning opportunities, such as the SQL Server Clinic with CSS and SQLCAT or certification offerings, solved a particular need for you or your organization?

Maria: As mentioned earlier, the ability to consult with the SQLCAT team at Summit has impacted our design decisions a lot.

I used the SQLCAT time to talk to a Microsoft guru about storage technologies for SQL Server. It was invaluable.

 Access to so many SQL Server experts in one place is just amazing.  If you leave PASS Summit with unanswered technical questions, you did it wrong.

Why are you returning to PASS Summit?

Maria: I will be attending PASS Summit 2013, there are lots of the great sessions that I’d like to attend.

Clifton: I signed up for the PASS Summit 2013 last December! I am hooked for life! I plan on coming every year from now on. This is such an awesome learning experience.

Mark: As a Business Intelligence professional, my world is changing very fast. The Summit is an outstanding place to get other viewpoints on practices and techniques that can be hard to glean from a blog post. It helps broaden my knowledge and my support base at the same time. As a PASS Regional Mentor for Canada (and living in Minnesota), Summit is also THE best place for me to meet face to face with Canadian Chapter Leaders and members.

How has PASS Summit influenced or improved an area of your professional/career development?

Maria: I think I have doubled my knowledge since the first Summit I attended. In addition, I have discovered a “twitter community,” which all the time feeds me with the links to the recent blogs and interesting articles suggested by other community members.

Clifton: PASS Summit helped me to realize my skills are more valuable and I found a better paying position!

Mark: PASS Summit has been a huge win for me in my career. While I have yet to present there (I have a session this year!), I have attended so many excellent sessions and made wonderful friends. So many of my friends live in faraway lands like Massachusetts or Australia. PASS Summit is part technical conference and part #sqlfamily reunion.