SQL Saturday #638, Philadelphia

This coming Saturday, June 3, I will be speaking at SQL Saturday #638, Philadelphia (okay, it’s actually in a town called Whitpain Township, not Philadelphia, but that’s what they call the event, so…)!

I will be giving the following two presentations:

  • Tech Writing for Techies: A Primer — Documentation is one of the most critical, yet most blatantly ignored and disrespected tasks when it comes to technology. Businesses and technical professionals ignore documentation at their own risk. This session discusses what tech writing and documentation is about and why it’s critical for business. It also explores possible reasons for why it’s ignored, how documentation can be improved, and how “non-writers” can contribute to the process.
  • Disaster Documents: The role of documentation in disaster recovery — I was an employee of a company that had an office in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. Prior to that infamous date, I had written several departmental documents that ended up being critical to our recovery. In this presentation, I provide a narrative of what happened in the weeks following 9/11, and how documentation played a role in getting the organization back on its feet.

    While other disaster recovery presentations talk about strategies, plans, and techniques, this presentation focuses on the documentation itself. We will discuss the documents we had and how they were used in our recovery. We will also discuss what documents we didn’t have, and how they could have made the process better.

Hope to see you there!

Keeping up — revisited


(Source: dilbert.com)

At SQL Saturday #615, I had the pleasure of sitting through a session by Eugene Meidinger titled “Drinking From the Firehose: a Guide to Keeping Up with Technology.”  His presentation brought to mind my earlier ‘blog article about struggling to keep up with technology, and he also mentioned a few things that didn’t occur to me.  I won’t rehash his presentation — I didn’t ask him for permission to use it, and I don’t want to step on his toes — but I do want to mention a few points he brought up.  (I was actually hoping he would have an article on this topic to which I could link, but I wasn’t able to find one on his ‘blog.)

The first point he makes is that keeping up with technology is impossible.  He points out that “keeping up is ill-defined.”  What, exactly, does it mean to keep up with technology?  It’s such a vague, gray area.  He mentions that you are never “done,” and keeping up is more an emotional issue than a goal.  He also mentions that the rate of change is accelerating.  How can you keep pace with something that is always getting faster?  It can’t be done.

Eugene talks about what he calls “the contradiction of learning.”  To add value, we need to specialize, but to avoid being irrelevant, we need to generalize.  Personally, I’ve based my career on being a jack-of-all-trades, but I’ve also discovered that employers are looking for experts in a single area.  That is difficult in and of itself.  If you specialize in an area, who is to say that it will be relevant down the line?  When I was in college, COBOL was a big deal, and many employers were looking for people who were well-versed in COBOL.  When was the last time you saw a job listing for a COBOL programmer?  On the other hand, SQL has been around for quite some time, and there seems to be no shortage of SQL positions.  So how do you know which technology should warrant your focus?  It’s hard to predict.

I don’t want to delve too deeply into Eugene’s presentation; it’s his presentation, not mine, and I don’t want to take too much away from him.  (His presentation slides are available at the link to his SQL Saturday presentation above, if you want to read more.)  If you ever have an opportunity to catch his presentation, I encourage you to do so.

My 2017 SQL Saturday Schedule (so far)

My 2017 SQL Saturday schedule is slowly taking shape!  For those of you who are interested, here’s where I’ll be (so far)!

Come on out to a SQL Saturday near you!  The events are free (although there is usually a nominal fee for lunch), there are lots of networking opportunities, and you might just learn something new!

And as an added bonus, you might even get to hear me speak! 😉

SQL Saturday #615, Baltimore, MD

My next speaking engagement is set!  On Saturday, May 6, I will be speaking at SQL Saturday #615 in Baltimore, MD.  I will be giving not one, but two presentations that day: “Tech Writing for Techies: A Primer” and “Disaster Documents: The role of documentation in disaster recovery.”

Hope to see you there!

SQL Saturday #545, Pittsburgh

I’ll be speaking in Pittsburgh this Saturday, October 1.  Hope to see you there!

SQL Saturday #545, Pittsburgh

I got word yesterday that I will be speaking at SQL Saturday #545, Pittsburgh on October 1!  I will be giving my presentation, “Disaster Documents: the role of documentation in disaster recovery.”

Hope to see you there!

Two days until SQL Saturday in Albany!

Hear ye, hear ye!  This Saturday — that’s two days from today — the Capital Area SQL Server User Group will be hosting SQL Saturday #513 at the University at Albany!  The event is free (there is a nominal fee for lunch), and anyone, whether you’re new to SQL Server or are a seasoned database veteran, is welcome to come!  (Just make sure you register!)

I’ll be giving a presentation about how to talk to non-technical people.  Come and check it out!

Want to know what SQL Saturday is about?  Check out my ‘blog post from Monday, where I talk about my path to becoming a SQL Saturday speaker!

Hope to see you there!