You say you’re attending SQL Saturday? Great! If you’re looking to learn more about SQL Server, data topics, BI, professional development, or just want to network with database and technical professionals, it’s a great event where you can do exactly that.
But make sure you register.
While it may sometimes be possible to just show up at a SQL Saturday and register as a walk-in, I would absolutely advise against it. I’ve had friends tell me that they were interested in attending, but ended up getting shut out because they didn’t register.
I’m writing this article to make sure you don’t make that mistake.
First of all, the number of people who can attend a SQL Saturday varies, largely because of the size of the venue. When we host SQL Saturday here in Albany, we might be able to afford some leeway because we hold it in a large venue. The rooms we use are large university lecture halls that are capable of accommodating fairly big crowds. However, not all places have that luxury. Some locations use smaller venues. For example, SQL Saturdays in the Boston area have been held at Microsoft’s office in Burlington, MA, which tends to be a smaller venue. (This is largely because Microsoft offers their space for little or no cost — and other sites around the Boston area can be quite expensive. Remember: SQL Saturday is an all-volunteer event.) It is not unusual for Boston-area SQL Saturday events to end up with a large waiting list — sometimes numbering more than a hundred.
Sometimes, capacity is lowered not just because of the facility but by the number of tracks and sessions that are offered. Events outside the United States — Montréal, for example — sometimes offer only a few tracks and about a dozen sessions. A smaller SQL Saturday will likely accommodate a smaller crowd.
Building security is often a factor. Whenever I’ve attended SQL Saturday events in New York City, I’ve had to bring along a picture ID, and in some cases, I would have a temporary building access badge issued to me, because the event was held in a secure facility. Registering puts you on a security list that allows you facility access.
Additionally, when you register, you receive an admission packet called a SpeedPASS. The SpeedPASS consists of a name tag that acts as your badge, your admission ticket, your lunch ticket, and raffle tickets for the event sponsors. Registering guarantees that your SpeedPASS will be ready for you when you arrive.
There’s also a matter of event planning. When you register for SQL Saturday, it provides planners with an RSVP and a count of how many people are attending the event. That gives organizers a count to plan for lunch, session planning, and organizing the event.
So if you want to attend a SQL Saturday, go to their website, find an event that you want to attend, and register through the event link.
And do it sooner than later. Don’t get shut out.