Cloud Tech Summit – Chicago

I am very excited to be helping others learn new technologies and asisst them in earning new certifications. On January 19, 2017, I will be delivering two exam prep session at the Microsoft Tech Summit in Chicago. The first is for the 70-473: Cloud Data Platform exam and the second session is for the 70-475: Big Data and Analytics Solutions. Click on the appropriate link if you would like to download the powerpoint presentations.

During the session I focus on Microsoft websites, however, if you have a Pluralsight account I would recommend the following video sessions to study for the exams. For the 70-473 exam: SQL Azure by Scott Seely, SQL Server 2016 New Features by Leonard Lobel, Implement Storage for Azure by Tim Warner, and Practical SQL Server HA/DR by Russ Thomas. For the 70-475 exam: Start with the 70-473 videos and then add Applying the Lambda Architecture by Ahmad Alkilani, HDInsight Deep Dive with Elton Stoneman, and Real World Big Data in Azure by Elton Stoneman.

Nashville #581

 It is a very cold and rainy day for the first SQL Saturday of 2017. Nashville is one of the events I attend every year as there are many members of the #SQLFamily that also attend. I am getting to do two sessions this year. First up at 8:30 am is my presentation on “The PROCESS of Queries”. This is the one I have been requested to present the most often. It is a very beginner level into how queries are optimized and how this effects batches, transactions, and errors. The second session will be at 1:30 pm and is a brand new presentation for a SQL Saturday, “The Basics of Data Manipulation”. This is from one of my favorite chapters from the T-SQL courses that I teach and I am really excited to put it into a one hour session format.

Train Trip to Seattle

So I was planing my trip to the MCT Summit which is in Bellevue, Washington from March 28 -30, 2017. I was originally going to fly to Phoenix and speak at a SQL Saturday. But instead, I figured I would take the scenic route on a train trip through the Northwest. A little more relaxed journey and I get to see four states I have never visited.

MCSA: SQL 2016 Development

 Last September I took the BETA exams for 70-761: Querying Data with Transact-SQL and 70-762: Developing SQL Databases. Well it looks like I passed them, because today I received an email saying I have earned my MCSA: SQL Server 2016 Database Development. I always like when I pick up a new certification, but it’s really cool to wake up and earn one you were not expecting. I am just now sure to count it towards my 2016 goals or 2017.

MBA: First Course Finished

Well, I am off and running on my Masters of Business Administration degree from Western Governors University. Finished my first course, Managing Organizations and Leading People. I was required to write two papers, the first I evaluated my fictional boss Roscoe P. Coltrane on his leadership style. The second paper, I had to evaluate my strengths and weaknesses based off a profile from the book,  The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Next up is IT Project Management with three papers that I need to complete. It will probably take 5-6 weeks as I need to start off by reading A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge.

Exam Passed – 473

 Well, that was not as difficult as I thought it would be. I was able to pass the 70-473 exam for the Cloud Data Platform Specialist certification.  The first place to start if you are interested in passing this exam is Microsoft Virtual Academy. It has a great overview of the exam topics with some demonstrations. Next, spend some time with the Azure Documentation to walk through some very excellent tutorials.

Security and SQL Azure

I was doing some research on Security and SQL Azure Databases and found this great article form Joseph D’Antoni (Denny Cherry & Associates Consulting) and Stacia Varga (Data Inspirations) that I highly recommend. The summary states, “This paper details the security and data management features found in Microsoft Azure SQL Database. It first describes the security foundation provided by Microsoft Azure and then explains the techniques and features used to manage data access in SQL Database; to log and monitor database activity; to protect data at rest and in transit; and to build secure applications. By understanding and using these features correctly, you can remain confident that your data in the cloud is protected.”

Data Science Program Enrollment

Opportunities for data scientists are rapidly growing in response to the exponential amounts of data being captured and analyzed. Companies hire data scientists to find insights and to solve meaningful business problems. Get the real-world knowledge and hands-on experience that can help you succeed in one of these new jobs. Prove that you have what it takes in the Microsoft Professional Program.Enrollment for the next Data Science Program starts on December 16th.

SQL Saturday Atlanta #578

Attached is my presentation on SQL Server Certification that will be presented at SQL Saturday Atlanta: BI Edition this weekend. I have also provided useful links in getting certified on SQL Server.

Azure Exam Discounts

I am starting to work on the 70-473 exam and normally the exam would cost $165. With my MCT discount it would only be $82.50. However, right now Microsoft has a deeply discounted offer for select Azure exams. With this discount I was able to get not only the exam voucher for the 70-473 exam, but also the Measure Up Practice exam, and a free re-take for only $99. There is an even deeper discount if you are going to take 3 exams. Found out more here.

Arizona 2016

wp_20161203_007-1  Had the chance to teach two weeks of SQL Server in Phoenix, Arizona with a weekend off in between the two weeks. I took the opportunity to drive up through Sedona and Flagstaff to stay a night at the Grand Canyon. It was such a surreal experience as if I had stepped into a life-sized acrylic painting. After checking out these pictures I am sure you will add this adventure to your bucket list.

Big Data Challenge

4cc185686a079d35c724b7bb83a6667fI completed the Know It, Prove It challenge and earned the Microsoft Virtual Academy Big Data badge. Whether you’re a Developer, Data Pro, or student, you can learn valuable skills quickly and correctly through video tutorials, assessments, and more. From now until December 14th you too can choose from one of three learning challenges that takes less than 12 hours to complete. Sign up now!

MCSA: Office 365

mcsa265 Really, can’t believe it has been close to 18 months since my last Microsoft Certification. (Not counting the new Streamlined Certifications that came out on September 26, 2016. Those were just updates to existing MCSEs.) But, I finally passed the two Office 365 exams (70-346 and 70-347) for the corresponding MCSA. I spent about two month total of study time. I started with the Microsoft Press book mainly because I picked up a free copy while attending Microsoft Ignite. However, If you join Microsoft Virtual Academy you can get a discount on Microsoft Press books and also watch all the great Office 365 videos while you’re there. Finally, I do have to give a Thank You to Pluralsight and Jeff Adkin for the great videos that really gave me a great foundation for the exams.