The official PASS Blog is where you’ll find the latest blog posts from PASS community members and the PASS Board. Contributors share their thoughts and discuss a wide variety of topics spanning PASS and the data community.

Design for the Future, Not the Past!

Every organization that manages data fights the same battle on a regular basis. Should systems be architected quickly to solve a current problem, or should they be built to withstand the test of time?

This question sounds like a no-brainer. Who wouldn’t want to build systems that scale, are well-documented, easy to maintain, and can manage the inevitably massive torrent of data that will flood it in the future?

As is often the case in software development, theory and reality differ greatly. Oftentimes building a system or feature correctly the first time is seen as expensive and time-consuming. Deadlines are real and they often influence design as much as the features themselves.  If you have ever worked on a project where the goal was an MVP (minimum viable product), then you understand how this can feel!

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PASS Regional Mentor Program Re-Launched

As a community-centric global organization, PASS continuously strives to engage with our 300,000+ members around the world – and PASS Regional Mentors help to facilitate these connections. For those who are not already familiar, the PASS Regional Mentor Program supports a team of passionate volunteers who are committed to the engagement, mentorship, and support of PASS Community Leaders and members of their respective regions across the globe. This program has been in place for several years, and it was time to re-visit the eligibility requirements, nomination & selection process, term duration, and responsibilities of the role. Over the past several months, the PASS HQ Community Team has worked closely with members of the PASS Board to re-develop the program, as well as collaborated with existing Regional Mentors for their feedback.

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Being a Woman in the SQL Community

Read original blog post here.

In celebration of Women’s History Month starting next week, I was asked to write this blog about my experiences as a woman in the SQL Community, and it really got me thinking. At first, I thought I should be very politically correct and only talk about the great stuff and hype up all wonderful experiences I’ve had but then I thought that wouldn’t give a true picture. So, I am writing this as openly and honestly as I can. Here it goes.

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Upcoming Microsoft Certifications for Data & AI

Qualified data professionals are always in demand. And their importance in digital transformation is undeniable. They modernize relational SQL Server databases on-premises, migrate and administer them on Microsoft Azure, or use the best of both worlds in hybrid environments. Plus, they drive insights at cloud scale, managing great volumes of data—from ingesting and storing to reporting and visualizing.

As a PASS member and a technical professional, you can probably identify with these tasks. In fact, they might even describe your typical workday. So I’m excited to share some big Microsoft Certification news with the PASS community! Effective early April 2020, Microsoft will offer two new role-based certifications, and they’re designed especially for data professionals. Microsoft Certified: Azure Database Administrator Associate and Microsoft Certified: Data Analyst Associate will expand the Microsoft Certifications Data & AI portfolio, which includes Azure Data Engineer Associate, Azure Data Scientist Associate, and Azure AI Engineer Associate.

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PASS and the Anti-Harassment Policy

In 2012, PASS implemented the PASS Summit Anti-Harassment Policy because of our commitment to providing a safe environment for all of our members. Much of what led up to the creation of this policy was the need to have an avenue to investigate alleged harassment incidents. Unfortunately, most of us have either been a victim of or witness to an incident of harassment. The Anti-Harassment Policy is in place to support a safe and inclusive environment and covers far more than some of us know. From the policy:

“Harassment includes, but is not limited to, offensive verbal comments related to gender, race, sexual orientation, disability, religion, or any other protected classification directed toward an individual or group.”

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Data, AI and Cloud: The Top Data Jobs of Tomorrow

Good news for the PASS community. World Economic Forum’s 2020 Future of Jobs report continues to forecast an exceptionally bright outlook for Data, AI, and Cloud Computing professionals. The Jobs of Tomorrow: Mapping Opportunity in the New Economy examines digital era changes and top emerging professions. World Economic Forum sourced the data from partnerships between New Metrics CoLab, Burning Glass Technologies, Coursera and LinkedIn. Let’s peek at the highlights.

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Speaker Diversity Analytics with the AI Face API

How do we increase diversity amongst our event speakers?  To improve something, we must first measure it.  The Face API allows us to collect some of these demographics from past events that we may not otherwise be able to collect, which may allow us greater insight into how we can improve these trends.

The Facial Recognition API is part of the Microsoft AI Cognitive Services suite.  The Face service detects human faces in an image and returns the rectangle coordinates of their locations. Optionally, face detection can extract a series of face-related attributes. Examples are head pose, gender, age, emotion, facial hair, and glasses.  The Face API is Azure based and is a subset of the Vision API functionality.  To leverage the Face API an image can be programmatically sent to the API via a number of languages.  Along with the image file, the caller can also submit parameters detailing which subset of return values to send back.

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Go Azure SQL!

Pardon the pun in title here, but the goal for this post is to introduce how to start interacting with Azure SQL through Go (https://golang.org/), an open source programming language gaining lots of traction in developers’ community thanks to its simplicity and efficiency in scenarios like microservices and server apps (did I mention that Kubernetes itself is written in Go?).  

Azure SQL provides full support for Go developers on both control plane (deploy, manage and configure Azure SQL servers and databases), and data plane activities (connect, execute commands and queries against Azure SQL instances) through Azure SDK for Go and Microsoft SQL Server Driver for Go.

A companion code sample for this article, written using VS Code, can be found here.

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February Board Meeting Recap

We hosted our first in-person PASS Board meeting of 2020 in Kirkland, Washington, from February 3-4. This was also our first in-person meeting with newly appointed Board members Mindy Curnutt, Melody Zacharias, and Hamish Watson. We look forward to their experience and insights as we continue to work together on the Board.

To kick off the meeting, we reiterated our commitment to our FY 2020 priorities and focusEducational Content, Accessibility, and Engagement. These pillars provide us with a strong foundation to grow our organization, and will allow us to pivot as needed in the future to support our membership.

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#SQLLove Story

COMMUNITY MEMBERS SHARE HOW THEY FOUND LOVE AT PASS SUMMIT

While people attend PASS Summit for many different reasons, including the fantastic speakers or opportunities to network, most don’t come expecting to attend a wedding.

Tamera Clark and Kerry Tyler started dating after meeting at Purdue University in Indiana. Both working as data professionals, they both dreamed of the day where each of their respective companies would pay their registration fees to attend PASS Summit. They started an inside joke saying “it’s all fun and games until you go to PASS Summit,” and told one another that if they ever got the opportunity to attend the conference, they would get married there. It was October 2011, when they finally got their chance.

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