This post was originally on Microsoft’s Born to Learn on July 16, 2015
Over the past few years, I have had the privilege of speaking at several SQL Saturday events, and I have been amazed at the turnout and passion of the SQL Server community. If you have never heard of SQL Saturdays, they are free community-driven, one-day training events for SQL Server professionals. These events rely on local speakers and volunteers to provide a variety of high-quality technical sessions covering all aspect of SQL Server. There are sessions for administrators, developers, and even beginners just starting out with SQL.
As a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT), attending these events have allowed me to improve my presentation and communication skills. They have also allowed me to gain a tremendous amount of tribal knowledge that I would not find anywhere else, at least not for free. But most importantly, it has allowed me to meet and share war stories with highly skilled professionals who also share my passion for learning.
For example, I asked Hope Foley, who is the organizer of the SQL Saturday event being held in Indianapolis on August 8, 2015, (Author Update: The event this year is on August 12, 2017.) why she attended SQL Saturdays. She said, “I began speaking at SQL Saturdays five years ago. I fell in love immediately, and they completely changed my life. I was floored, and still am, at how many people began supporting and encouraging me. We’re very lucky to have such a vibrant, good-natured, and talented community. I am passionate about bringing that to others, and a large part of that is bringing SQL Saturday to my local community.”
And it is not only about a free day of learning. I had the chance to meet Grant Fritchey, who gave the opening keynote at a SQL Saturday in New York City. He explained the concept of SQL Saturdays the best, and thankfully he allowed me to quote his words here, “SQL Saturday is not just an opportunity to learn technical skills, but a chance to network with the most motivated data professionals in your area. I know they’re the most motivated because they’re taking their own time, a Saturday, to expand their knowledge.”
Did I mention this was free training organized around the world by local SQL Server user groups? Do you want to join the community? Visit SQL Saturday to find an event coming up near you.
If you are not interested in SQL Server, there are many other Microsoft communities out there. A good way to locate events around you for SharePoint, Exchange, and PowerShell is through social media. If you are just getting started with networking, The Krewe is probably the best place to start.