Debating #PASSSummit Pre Cons for Monday

I’ll be speaking at the PASS Summit in 2020, and I have some things to prepare for that. I get a conference admission for the event and access for a year, so I’m not too pressed to spend 3 days sitting in live sessions.

However, I can always use training. I also want to support PASS this year during a pandemic, life and business altering event.

I’d like to take a pre-con, at least one on Monday. This post looks at my choices for Monday. It’s a little stream of consciousness, trying to think through a few things.

Tl;dr – I choose Building Power BI Reports that Communicate Insights and Engage People from Meagan Longoria. If you want to know more about her class, check out her promotional video.

The Monday List

When I look at the page of pre-cons available, there are a lot of great choices for Monday. The list is:

My first thoughts is they’re all friends. Maybe a strange thing, but I’ve shared an adult drink with all these people, some of them many times. I’ve had one on one conversations, met many of their partners, and even been in some of their houses.

They are also outstanding in their fields. All of them could teach me quite a bit, even in areas where I have some knowledge. As much as I’m overjoyed to see Rob every chance I get, I think that an intro to PoSh is out. The Edge stuff from Kevin is interesting, but way outside of my area. I’m not sure how helpful this is personally or professional for my current role, so I’ll skip this. I’ve seen Chris talk Python, and it’s great. I like his style and approach, and I recommend this one, but I’ve dabbled a bunch in Python and in Data Science. I keep working through a few resources in this area at times, so I’ll skip this.

Everything else is interesting in some way. I’ve never taken a full class from Itzik, though I have enjoyed a number of sessions. It is tempting to try and learn a few more complex T-SQL queries from him live. It’s different than reading his work, and it might give me ideas for work. Worth considering.

Learning more about Azure is good. I’ve been wanting to study for the Azure fundamentals exam, even saved this blog from SSC today: . I worry slightly this might be too general and full of practical stuff that would be good to know, but might not help me with the exam. At the same time, this is likely good info that might help me write more questions and content. I’m moving this slightly down my list.

Perf tuning is always good. I need to write more content here, as I think we’re lacking some at SSC, but I don’t have a lot of desire to focus here right now. I think this will be like some of the Brent Ozar classes I did, which were good, and I learned things, but likely this will repeat some stuff I know and just haven’t kept organized in my head. I love Pinal, and I’ve heard this is a good session (he’s done it before), but I’m going to skip it.

I don’t really run servers, but doing things to help your virtual environments run well is always good to learn. I’ve only lightly worked with the admin side of VMWare and Hyper-V. I can’t quite decide if this helps me personally or professionally. I think it would provide me with some knowledge and content, but I think it’s less likely than some other things, so I’m going to pass.

Power BI is fascinating to me. I think it’s a transformational tool for many companies that deploys interactive visualizations. I learned quite a bit while working my way through the Stairway series on SSC, but I know I barely know anything. This one is as tempting as Itziks.

That leaves Ben’s Kubernetes session. Ultimately, I do think the future of SQL Server and lots of data platforms will be containers, and K8s. However, I don’t think many of us want to know the ins and outs of K8s. We want AWS, Azure, or someone else to run most aspects of the platforms, and while I’m sure I’d learn something, I think this is also less useful for now. I’d like to attend this late.

The Finalists

I’m really down to three choices now: T-SQL with Itzik, Azure with Denny, or Power BI with Meagan. These would all improve my career, and help me with my job, as well as being relevant. They’re all relevant, but also in areas that I struggle to really focus on for a long period of time.

I’d like to think there are other resources I can use for Azure, and I am thinking to just try and go through some study here to take the exam, so I’m going to cut Denny’s. A hard choice, but that’s what I need to do.

For the other two, I don’t really know what to do. I went back and re-read both descriptions a bit, trying to decide what I’ll learn. I know I’ll get in depth T-SQL from Itzik, and I would like to improve my query skills. I often find myself amazed by the queries some of the people post in the SQLServerCentral forums. However, I also know that Itzik does this class for different events. Even thought I skipped it in the past, I think I might get another chance. In fact, there are a couple pre-cons for the Data Platform Summit.

Therefore, I’m going to sign up for Meagan’s class, update Power BI Desktop, go through the last couple articles in the Stairway, and see if I can learn a few things about building reports.

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