SQL University: Professional Association of SQL Server

Welcome back to SQL University Community Week!

Today’s lesson is going to cover one of our most valuable community resources, PASS (Professional Association for SQL Server) (http://www.sqlpass.org/). PASS is an international organization, formed in 1999, run primarily by volunteers, “an independent, not-for-profit association, dedicated to supporting, educating, and promoting the Microsoft SQL Server community.” (http://www.sqlpass.org/AboutPASS.aspx)

Joining PASS is free and has many benefits. There are opportunities for you to learn, to network, and to share with others!

PASS Chapters

Chapters are the groups that represent PASS locally, in cities across the world. They hold regular meetings where members get together, network, and learn. Wait! Does this sound familiar? Yes, we talked about user groups earlier in the week, and many SQL Server user groups are under the PASS umbrella.

I encourage you, again, to find a local chapter and attend the meetings. The time you take out of your schedule is well worth it. Don’t see a chapter near you? Consider starting one! Resources to do so are at http://www.sqlpass.org/PASSChapters/BecomeAChapter.aspx.

Virtual Chapters

I know a great group of Women in Technology (WIT). However, they are spread across the globe and I can’t meet with them in person every month, even though I would really like to! PASS has worked to bring people with common interests together through Virtual Chapters (VCs). Currently, there are seven:

If we’re not meeting in an office once a month, how does this work? Think of it as distance learning! Each VC holds several events. You might see online presentations via LiveMeeting, blogs with VC-specific information, and forums. At PASS Summit, WIT holds a luncheon and each VC is at the Welcome Reception. You may go to a local training event, such as a SQL Saturday, and see a booth or table for a VC.

How can you get involved? Look at each chapter. Which ones match your interests? Sign up to receive their newsletters. Join the monthly conference call. Attend a webinar on a topic that interests you. And then volunteer to help the VC!

I’ve been assisting the WIT VC since January of this year, and I love it. I’ve gotten to speak with many wonderful women who have the same passions and ideas that I do. They inspire me!

Summit

Each year, there is a huge party conference in Seattle, WA, where database professionals get top-notch training, incredible networking opportunities, the chance to talk to Microsoft’s CSS (Customer Service and Support) and SQLCAT (SQL Customer Advisory Team) teams, and evening parties receptions.

The 2010 Summit will be held November 8-12. Monday and Friday, you have the chance to attend full-day, in-depth, deep-dive pre- and post-conference seminars (note: for an additional fee). Tuesday – Thursday, there are program sessions, karaoke nights, spotlight sessions, kilts, exhibitors, free food, labs, awards, networking opportunities, and much more.

Who should attend? Anyone that uses SQL Server! The program tracks cover Application & Database Development, Business Intelligence (BI), Database Administration, Professional Development, and more!

Why should you attend? Let the people that have been attending for many years tell you why!

Education

PASS is dedicated to helping you learn! The Learning Center has many great resources: PASS Tips, Top 10 Lists, and the SQL Server Standard Magazine.

Would you like to hear Itzik Ben-Gan talk about Advanced T-SQL in SQL Server 2005 and 2008? Check out this and other PASSTips – short, informative videos with SQL Server tips and tricks – at http://www.sqlpass.org/LearningCenter/PASSTips.aspx.

Where can you go to get a list of the Top 10 Execution Plan Links, or Top 10 Links about SQL Statistics? The Top 10 Lists page, of course! http://www.sqlpass.org/LearningCenter/Top10Lists.aspx.

SQL Server Standard is the flagship publication for PASS, published in PDF format. You can view the most recent edition, and all the archives, at http://www.sqlpass.org/LearningCenter/SQLServerStandardMagazine.aspx.

Sign Me Up!

PASS has so many great resources; I know that if you have not joined for free yet, you are ready! Go to http://www.sqlpass.org/RegisterforSQLPASS.aspx and register now!

What could be better than joining this great international organization? You can volunteer and give back! There are many opportunities available. You can assist a local chapter or virtual chapter, help on a program committee, or even consider running for the Board of Directors! PASS is a volunteer-driven organization. Without people willing to step up and give their time and talent, it would not be the amazing resource it is. You will gain so much from volunteering, as well. The ability to share your time and knowledge, make a difference for other database professionals, and the sense of accomplishment are well worth the time and effort.

Thank you for taking the time to attend another SQL University course! Please take the time to fill out the SQL University Course Evaluation.

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