I decided to go to the SQL Saturday at Nashville this year to get some good learning and networking in during frigid January. One of the reasons I wanted to go was that the line up for precons was amazing and I wanted to learn more on Azure particularly. I also wanted to submit to speak but that did not happen, for many reasons. I took the wednesday evening flight out of Louisville and got into Nashville late that night.
On thursday morning, after a light breakfast – I took a lyft ride to the school for a half day precon with Josh Luedemann called ‘Demystifying Data Movement in Azure’. We got to learn about PowerApps and Flow, Data Factory, and streaming data options in Azure. It was an interesting and informative 3 hour class. I went back to the lodging in the afternoon and spent my time reading and preparing for a presentation. There were already warnings out for a snowstorm on friday and I was beginning to get apprehensive regarding weather.
Friday morning arrived with news that school was closed for the day and there would be no precons. I was saddened as this was the main reason I had made the trip from Louisville. But it could not be helped – so spent most of the day at the lodging, reading and learning various stuff. Thankfully there were restaurants on ubereats that were still functioning – was able to get good food ordered in.
By Saturday the weather had cleared up – made my way into the school bright and early. It was cold but there was not much snow or ice around to worry about. There was coffee available for attendees – after getting some in made my way into the first class of the day – Azure Machine Learning 101 with Kathi Kellenberger. Kathi covered basics of AML and predictive analytics in a very down-to-earth manner. She mentioned things like being asked about ‘what was regression’ in an interview. I suspect all of us who claim to be playing around with ML must be prepared to face questions of this nature in future interviews. It was a timely warning to me personally to have those definitions handy as answers.
The class I had planned to attend next was cancelled – so I wandered into my friend and SQL Saturday co-organizer John Morehouse’s session on ‘How to put out Database fires’. John is a former firefighter, and he used many analogies in comparison to drive in the importance of best practices and doing database administration safe way. I thoroughly enjoyed the class.
The next class I went to was Chris Hyde’s session on ‘Python in SQL Server 2017’. I had already attended the same session at PASS Summit, but still felt that I could use a refresher – so went in again. Really enjoyed the simple examples and tips and tricks on how to get started with Python.
After a quick bite of lunch I walked into a panel discussion on cloud – with many talented folks including Bradley Ball, Josh Luedemann, Jason Horner, Hope Foley and Gareth Swanepoel There were many questions raised and answered with regards to cost, feasibility, cool new features and so on. It was very worth attending.
The next session was also a repeat one for me – ‘Data Cleansing with SQL and R’ – with Kevin Feasel. I greatly enjoyed it.
The last class of the day was ‘Twitter Data & Sentiment Analysis: Staring Logic Apps, Azure ML, Twitter Data, Power BI, and Python’ by Bradley Ball. Bradley has always ranked very high on my list of favorite speakers – he is a total natural on stage. In this class he explained using various tools to scrape twitter for movie related comments, cleaning that data and ultimately presenting it in PowerBI as a report on how the movie performed with public. It was very well researched and incredibly fascinating class for me.
After the class I touched base with several friends whom I had not seen in a while – said my good byes and left early. Although the day long class for which I had traveled in for did not happen – I was able to get a very good day of learning and networking in. The event was well organized and there were a lot of happy attendees as well. Thank you to organizers, speakers, sponsors and attendees for a good show, and hope to revisit Nashville next year too!