Browsing articles tagged with " SQLPASS"

SQLPASS Sessions Recordings are Here

Dec 20, 2010   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Database, Professional Development, Speaking  //  No Comments

 

SQLPASSRecordings

I know what  I’ll be listening to over the next few weeks.  An early Christmas present, too.

If you weren’t able to attend the PASS Summit (or even if you did) you can order the DVD set of recordings, too.  You get PDF handouts of the slides and audio recordings of all the regular sessions.  I’m listening right now as I blog. 

I plan on first tackling all the database design-related sessions, then ones on performance tuning.  I also want to listen to the professional development session because there are some very successful professionals out there who took the time to share their thoughts on the non-technical side of being a data professional.

Trolling the #24HoP

Dec 10, 2010   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Database, Speaking, WIT  //  10 Comments

I knew it would happen.  As I blogged previously, SQLPASS is hosting a 24 Hours of PASS event in March and is using this event to honour Women in IT (WIT) by having 24 sessions given solely by female data professionals.

Having worked on WIT committees, programs and events for more than two decades (I was a national spokesperson for WIT here in Canada for two years), I knew that someone (and there will be more) would eventually anonymously complain that this one event should not be run with only female speakers.  Trolls must post anonymously because they don’t want to contribute to the discussion; they just want to make a good thing look bad.  This is my letter to Anonymous (an infrastructure DBA).


Hi Anonymous –

You forgot to mention the creepier one that most anonymous trolls give:

"What about the lack of overweight, old, ugly, grumpy white guys in the Supermodel profession?"

It’s a classic.  It is the most common response I get in letters to the editor, live events and articles from anonymous posters.  If you are going to go for it, please go all the way. 

This witty questions does not contribute to the discussion of diversity in any profession because it makes a huge leap of logic: that there is some physical trait in females that should keep them out of the IT profession.  That is flat out wrong. 

By the way, there are people who are concerned about the lack of diversity in the nursing profession. I support all kinds of programs that want to address real issues of diversity in all professions. 

The reason society should be concerned about diversity isn’t about making the numbers somehow magically match demographics of the full population, it is that we should investigate the reasons why certain professions aren’t diverse as the full populations and make corrective action to ensure that silly obstacles aren’t there. The most successful WIT programs focus on ensuring that young women understand the opportunities available to them and remove roadblocks they might have to considering a career in IT.

Much research has shown that young women don’t consider IT (and other STEM) careers because they:

  1. Don’t even know what the career is about and therefore think it is all about grumpy evil-doing nerds working alone in a dark basement drinking Jolt Cola and typing all day. Think of the Wayne Knight character in Jurassic Park.
  2. Hear from grumpy people that women aren’t smart enough to work in IT.
  3. Don’t realize soon enough that they should have taken more math and science during their schooling and therefore can’t get in to certain programs of study, even though they have the aptitude to work in IT
  4. Think that Computer Science programs are the only career path into IT
  5. Read computer science program “marketing” materials, which most programs fail miserably at creating, and think “wow, what a boring technical wasteland”.
  6. Think that IT is only about programming…alone, in a dark basement, typing all day. GOTO point 1.

But let’s focus on one of the main reasons (I presume) why SQLPASS wants to hold an event featuring WIT.  The reasons that most women give for not submitting abstracts for speaking:

  1. Much more often than men, they don’t think that they are enough of an expert to give a presentation.
  2. Much more often than men, they think there are so many "celebrities" in the field that the shouldn’t even bother submitting.
  3. Much more likely than men they are more likely to feel that they are an "imposter" in the field and therefore shouldn’t even try to speak at an event.
  4. They have so many more outside-of-work responsibilities that traveling a ways to speak and attend a conference is a significant roadblock to participating.
  5. More often than men, they believe that they should be specifically invited to speak rather than just nominate themselves.
  6. They are more likely to worry about the catch-22 of doing anything new: you shouldn’t do it until you have more experience doing it.
  7. They think that no one will attend a session they give because they haven’t written a book (see point 4), they don’t travel the world giving presentations, or that someone else has already given a presentation on that topic.

I talk to many women who have wonderful thoughts, observations, scripts, data models, ideas, opinions, and other knowledge to share but won’t even consider submitting an abstract. Most of the time they give one or all of the reasons above.  Please ensure that you understand all those “more often” words in the above list.

The idea of featuring only females during 24 Hours of PASS isn’t going to solve all these problems, but it can go a long way to getting more women to present because it takes away some of the obstacles that many female IT professionals give as reasons to not even try.  With more women presenting at this one event, we will most likely have more women presenting at other events during the year.  You may not want that, but I want that if the reason women aren’t submitting is because they’ve never been encouraged enough to submit an abstract or to gain speaking experience.

Should SQLPASS bend to address those issues?  I think they should not have to do so, but often all it takes is a slight change in how women are recruited to make a real difference.  Personally, I’d like to figuratively whack all these women on the side of the head like Cher did on Nicolas Cage in Moonstruck: “Snap out of it”. Sometimes, though, helping people realize their potential is one of the most wonderful thing we can do for them.

Yes, I realize for the one event, some presenters will be excluded.  For this one event.  I would love to have a professional, insightful conversation about whether or not the one shift in a variable is acceptable, desirable, laughable, or even hurtful.  But we can’t have those conversations when one posts anonymously in short bursts of accusations.  It really doesn’t help the conversation at all.


 

I’d love to hear opinions on this, but in a way that advances the conversation.

Data Chicks, We Need You! Call for Speakers

Dec 9, 2010   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Data, Professional Development, Speaking, WIT  //  3 Comments

imageThe call for speakers has gone out for 24 Hours of PASS, a virtual conference of the Professional Association for SQL Server.  But this isn’t an ordinary call for speakers.  PASS is going to do something extraordinary: in honour of Women’s History Month, only female speakers will be be presenting.

Normally I’m not a fan of any special accommodations or “help” for female workers: quotas, waiving of requirements, etc.  I sometimes think that those sorts of programs send the wrong message, too.  But in this case, I’m a huge fan of what PASS wants to do here. There are plenty of qualified women to speak on these topics, but usually the problem is that women tend not to submit to speak, for a variety of reasons.

24 Hours of PASS To Celebrate Women’s History Month

By Thomas LaRock
Mark your calendars! The next 24 Hours of PASS event is taking place March 15 and 16. We are sticking to the two day format with 12 sessions presented each day.

Since March is also Women’s History month we’ll be carrying that theme through to the online event. As a result we plan to feature 24 prominent female speakers during the course of the event with session content as always, focused on SQL Server.

If you have an abstract in mind or have suggestions for specific speakers or topics, send us an email at 24hours@sqlpass.org. Deadline for abstract submission (max 250 words with a 125 word bio) is January 14.

You can read Tom’s blog post about how and why he came up with the idea of a female-only event.

I welcome this special event for a few reasons:

  1. PASS is doing something to recognize the vast amount of knowledge women in technology
  2. Choosing to promote the wonderful female speakers out there during Women’s History Month (which also includes International Women’s Day and Ada Lovelace Day) is a great way to honour and recognize all the good work that millions of women do in IT around the world.
  3. Encouraging female speakers is the best way to build a pool of qualified speakers for other events like SQL Saturdays, SQLRally, PASS Summit, Enterprise Data World, DAMA Chapters, etc.
  4. I believe that this one event will do more to encourage more women to speak at events that all the encouraging e-mails and blog posts could ever accomplish.

While this is a PASS event, not every presentation will be just about SQL Server code.  I typically give my Database Design Contentious Issues presentation at in-person events and one of my database design-related presentations for virtual events.  They might include SQL Server content, but they aren’t just about the DBMSs.  If you have a presentation that you’ve given at a DAMA event, there’s a good chance you can present it at a PASS event.

So I need you to help:

  1. If you are a female and work with data, please put together an abstract and submit it.  Now.  I’d love it if they had 300 abstracts to choose from.
  2. If you aren’t female, please personally ask one of your female co-workers to submit an abstract.  Do it now…it will only take a couple of minutes.
  3. Please retweet this post, post to Facebook and LinkedIn about this amazing opportunity to highlight female IT professionals.  Let’s show the world what #WIT has to offer.

I am excited about this event – I can’t wait to see it unfold. Please help us by getting the word out.  Let’s make something happen.

Computer Engineer Barbie attends the PASS Women in IT Lunch

Nov 15, 2010   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Fun  //  1 Comment

In addition to Buck and Lil Buck, Computer Engineer Barbie attended the PASS WIT Luncheon with me.

Computer Engineer Barbie at PASSWITBuck Woody and Lil Buck

 

 

 

 

I’m SQLPASSed out – My Trip Report from Seattle

Nov 15, 2010   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Database, Professional Development, Social Networking, Speaking  //  2 Comments

Whew! 

IMG_0982[1]I spent last week in Seattle attending the Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) Summit (as if you could not tell from my tweet stream). Like most successful conferences, there was more to it than a bazillion sessions.  There were so many events: vendor events, unofficial events, pre-cons, post-cons, impromptu events and more.  I feel as if I couldn’t stretch myself far enough to take advantage of all them.  Did I mention there were sessions, too?

We arrived in Seattle on Friday so that we could do our obligatory cross-border shopping at our favourite not-available-in-Canada retailers: Fry’s Electronics, Kohl’s, Target and Trader Joes.  It is my goal to shop at every Fry’s in the US; so far I have tackled more than half of them.  We didn’t buy much there, but its like visiting a gadget museum.  Geekiness for the win.  We spent time on Saturday shopping as well.  We were doing our best to help stimulate the US economy.

We also spent time visiting with friends, including Yanni Robel, John Robel, Corey Smith and Eva Smith.  We know Yanni and John from the SQLCruise.  We know Corey and Eva from numerous DAMA events.  But we built these friendships via the conversations we have via Twitter and Facebook. 

On Sunday I participated in Freecon, a special event for bloggers and social media celebrities from the SQL Server world.  This event, hosted by Brent Ozar, covered topics such as developing content, dealing with plagiarism, monetizing writing, and consulting skills.  I’d love to see this event develop into a writers’ guild for those of us putting content out there. 

IMG_1043[1] Monday was the opening session for the PASS Summit.  There was a Quiz Bowl “panel”, where SQL “elites” played a Jeopardy-like trivia game.  I’d love to see Enterprise Data World (EDW) offer a similar opening session event.

I’m not going to list all the sessions I attended, but I wanted to point out that there were several sessions that focused on data architecture topics.  My own session on “Starting with More than a Blank Page” focused on how to best adopt data model patterns/industry standard data models.  A session by Louis Davidson covered Intro to Database Design.  Normalization is a tough topic to cover in just over an hour and I thought he did a great job helping people visualize why the normal forms exist. 

It took me a while, but I managed to meet up with Neil Buchwalter, Product Manager of CA ERwin Data Modeler.  CA is a founding organization of PASS and Neil has a spot on the PASS Board.

IMG_1036[1]Wednesday was SQLKilt day.  What a hoot. There were many attendees dressed in kilts,  mostly just because they could, but also in honour of the Women in IT.  In fact, Jen McCown of MidnightDBA fame produced t-shirts to link the kilts to WIT.  That’s Sean McCown there, sporting a kilt and the t-shirt that asks “What are you doing” for women in IT.

Did I mention that several people found new jobs/gigs right at the conference?  There was a job board in the exhibits area, but most of these “connections” happened ad hoc during the lunches, coffee breaks and informal get-togethers that surrounded the event.  As I tweeted, #Network to #Getwork.

Network to Getwork

As I have blogged before, one of the best things about attending SQLPASS was that Rob and I knew hundreds of the attendees, even though it was my first time attending this event.  The connections we made on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn prior to the conference paid off in spades for us during the event.  Sure, I was a first timer, but it wasn’t a bunch of first conversations. For me, this is the real power of tying together virtual and in-person events.

I’m bringing home a DVD of the SQL Server new version codenamed “Denali”.  I’m looking forward to getting it installed, then moving on to all the evaluation licenses I received for third party tools.

I will definitely be back for next year’s PASS Summit, again in Seattle in October 2011 and SQLRally 2011, located in Orlando in May.  I want to continue learning about SQL Server and making connections with industry leaders in this space. 

Picture Me in Computing: Now Tweet About It

Nov 10, 2010   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Fun, Professional Development, Social Networking  //  2 Comments

Computer Engineer Barbie
In addition to today being SQLPASS Women in Technology Day, it is also a special Internet meme called Picture Me In Computing (picturemeincomputing.org) day.

This special 24 hour event focuses on encouraging girls and young women to enter the computer field, which is the reason why I have been active in the Women in Technology field in PASS and CIPS.

While we in the IT field still struggle with gender-related issues in the workplace, I believe IT is one of the most rewarding professions that a young woman could consider.

So I’ll be tweeting pictures, videos, and comments from #sqlpass of men and women who support #WIT . And please note how much Barbie looks like me!

While I’m doing that, you can show your support by retweetingand posting your own good content. To participate in today’s “Internet flash mob” for women in computing by doing thses things:

* Upload a picture of yourself with technology or with CE Barbie® (or her image) to Picasa
* Cryptically set your status on Twitter, Facebook and Myspace to the last place you saw CE Barbie® (“I saw her on the UO Campus!”)
* Record a video blog and upload it to YouTube with the tag “picmecomp”
* Tag all of your tweets for the day with #picmecomp
* Blog about picmecomp and what it means to you

Finally, it looks like this event is somewhat affiliated with Google and Mattel. I’m happy they are supporting this important cause, but we at the PASS Summit may want to keep our participation in this a bit separate from the official Microsoft events. Isn’t it great, though, that these technology and commercial giants are supporting women in IT on the same day?

And we’re off! To the PASS Summit, that is

Nov 5, 2010   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Professional Development, Speaking  //  No Comments

image As I posted earlier, I’ll be speaking at the Professional Association for SQL Server Summit (PASS Summit) in Seattle next week. This is going to be my first #SQLPASS (this is the Twitter hastag for the conference), but I feel as if I’m going to a friend reunion.  Like a family reunion, but fun. 

Many of the SQLCruisers who joined us on the first ever SQL Cruise will be speaking and attending.  Many of my Twitter friends will be there, too.  So unlike other “first time” conferences, I’m not going to be standing on the sidelines or circling the lunch tables looking for the friendliest table in hopes of having a decent conversation.

The sqlpass.org website has a schedule builder which I used and what popped out the other end was a calendar double and triple booked for every hour of the day.  It’s going to be like Enterprise Data World, where I want to be everywhere at the same time.

Not only are there incredible sessions, but there’s a ton of fun professional networking I’ll be attending:

Tuesday has a special, unofficial #inappropriatePASS sessions meeting where a bunch of us are getting together to give “unpresentations” as I call them.  These are anti-patterns or opposite topic presentations.  Topics include things like leaving your SA password blank, turning off referential integrity for better performance, etc.  What I love about this fun night is that it helps you think about a topic by arguing the opposite of what you actually believe.  A classic teaching method that makes for a lot of fun.

Copyright All rights reserved by Lucid77  Used with permission. http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2507/4075141409_dd540c3d66_m.jpgWednesday is Women in IT (#PASSWIT) Luncheon.  Lots of swag and great discussions about why we need better diversity in IT. There’s also a Chalk Talk and other events about Women in IT throughout the conference.

Wednesday is also #SQLKilt day, where attendees, speakers, and exhibitors wear kilts because….heck, I don’t know why.  They just do.  Jen McCown of Midnight DBA fame has even designed a WIT t-shirt that merges both the WIT luncheon and sqlkilt memes.  Check it out.

Thursday 1PM: My presentation on Starting with More than a Blank Page: Implementing Industry Standard Data Models.

Exhbits: As in most conferences, these run for a couple days.  I love these parts of the conference because I get to see what vendors, sponsors and associations are doing in the data world. 

Informal networking: My favourite part of any conference.  Meeting new people, convening with old friends, making connections.

DArcVC: While this new Data Architecture PASS virtual chapter has already had it’s first meeting, I see the summit as its “coming out” party.  I look forward to meeting with SQL Server professionals who also share a passion for data architecture.  Joining DArcVC is free.

Watch the #SQLPASS, #PASSWIT, #DArchVC hashtags on Twitter to see what’s happening.  You don’t have to join Twitter to see the posts, just go to search.twitter.com and enter one of the hashtags.

And if you are going to be at SQLPASS, be sure to say “Hi” to either one of us.

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