This past week I attended PASS Summit 2019 in Seattle. I had an amazing time and it was great to catch up with friends and colleagues, both old and new! This was my first attendance at the Summit, although I had made some friends along the road to the conference through speaking at SQL Saturdays in Edmonton, AB and Victoria, BC. In reflecting after arriving home, I have some initial thoughts and impressions from the conference I would like to share with everyone.
Some additional context for this post. I was able to have the registration for the conference paid by my employer this year, although it was with the caveat that I would be paying for my own travel and expenses. This did not include the Pre-cons, which I was unable to find the budget for this year.
Firstly, I would like to commend the organizers, PASS board of directors, Community team, sponsors and attendees for making this past week a memorable and amazing experience. The session content was amazing and valuable, the keynotes were excellent, the food was good, and the camaraderie was steps above anything I have experienced at conferences before. Truly the community is #SQLFamily.
I took a lot of value from this time, in both professional and personal growth. This week served to highlight areas I am happy to be excelling in, and to shine spotlight to the areas I need to improve. This I believe should be anyone's first goal in attending such an event, and in this I was able to take a great many things away.
For others that are thinking of attending for the first time, or those that may have had some struggles their first time around, I would like to share some things. Number one is find a mentor. I was lucky enough to be close to Chris Wood here in Edmonton, who has attended summit for 14 years, in addition to tech outbound and SQL cruise attendance. His knowledge and wisdom were invaluable to me in taking in all that was on offer, which is, honestly, a lot. Secondly, the sessions will be there, they continue, and you will never be able to attend all the ones you want to, there is too much concurrency. Plan to purchase the downloads or USB and focus on the areas where you have questions that could be answered either in the session, or one-to-one afterward with the speaker.
Lastly, do not neglect the "hallway track". The opportunity to swap ideas, share challenges and solutions, and pick the brains of the top minds in our industry is the primary resource this conference has on offer, and the community is genuinely interested in helping each other out.
Your perspective will change, expect that. Your perspective on your work, new ideas and concepts can find fit in what you are doing, new technology, announced releases, and solution brainstorms will provide insight to improve your work. You will also grow personally. I did, at least. Knowledge of your strengths and weaknesses, and tracks to address both will provide context to your value as a professional. This is the opportunity to assist in directing your growth for the next year.
I understand more about where I have made strides with areas I struggle (Emotional Intelligence), but also where I have improved in this area over the last couple years. I was also able to connect and reach out to others who struggle as well, and people who are masters of this in their field and work. I was able to get guidance on new resources to explore and found new colleagues that can work on this with me over the next year.
I will conclude with saying that every penny spent was worth it, and I will be working hard to ensure I can come back next year, when summit will be hosted in Houston!