Today’s Topic is SQL Saturday

As a part of the PASSMN Board I spend a lot of time talking about SQL and a lot of time talking about talking about SQL. (Trust me that is a real sentence.)

Each month at our user group meetings we have someone present on something that relates to our careers as SQL Server professionals and each year we host a SQL Saturday where we usually have at about 35-40 different people present. We are lucky in the Twin Cities because it isn’t usually hard to fill those spots. We have a lot of people involved in our community and many people who enjoy speaking or at least see the value in it.

And yet I spend a fair amount of energy convincing new people to submit sessions and to begin presenting. Without getting to deep the reason for this is because I believe it is a great way to get involved and I believe that everyone has a story to tell and knowledge to share. I might be a little obsessive about it because I tend to end most conversations with user group members by asking, “When are you going to get up there and present?”

The amazing part is most people don’t say an outright, “No way.” Public speaking is supposed to be this huge fear, but people don’t use that as a reason not to get up in front of a large group and put themselves on display to be judged by their peers. (FYI: Your peers in the SQL Family are pretty nice. They always have more positive things to say than negative.) No, it isn’t fear that people use an excuse, but lack of ideas. After asking someone when they want to present about half the time the response I get back is that they can’t think of a topic to present. Maybe that is just an excuse to cover up the fear of public speaking, but I am here today to remove that excuse and to provide the answer to the oft asked question,

“What topic should I present on?”

It has to be about SQL Server, working as a SQL Server professional, or something non-SQL that data geeks might enjoy. That is about the only rule. You shouldn’t eliminate a topic because it has been done before – you will add something to it. And don’t worry about not being the foremost expert on a topic; you need to know enough to present the topic confidently, but putting together a presentation is a great way to learn more.

OK, here is a list of topics you can choose from to submit to SQL Saturday #332.

  • Whatever you are working on right now.
  • The most interesting thing you did in the last month.
  • Something you want to learn more about.
  • The New features in SQL 2014. (This is probably a lightning talk.)
  • The latest thing they just added to Azure SQL Database. (Right now it is Auditing, but that could change before I get a chance to post this.)
  • The Answer to whatever questions was just asked on #sqlhelp
  • SQL Server Replication. (People are using this and they want to know more. We get asked all the time for presentations on Replication.)
  • Things that save you time in your job as a DBA. Doesn’t have to be PowerShell.
  • How to read a query plan for Developers
  • How to eat free by having lunch with recruiters
  • Common Table Expressions – Bane of existence or Magic T-SQL Bullet?
  • MariaDB/Oracle/MySQL/SQLite for the SQL Server DBA
  • How Database Developers should use Team Foundation Server
  • Let’s Install SQL Server: Step by Step considerations with live install
  • How to use Microsoft BI tools to answer actual business questions
  • Why I Love the SSIS Catalog
  • Why I Hate the SSIS Catalog (Although I personally couldn’t do this one – see previous item.)
  • Using Azure VM’s as a part of your SQL Server infrastructure
  • 10 things you check every day on your SQL Servers
  • Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Index Here: Indexes to help your Queries
  • A DAX Primer – Learning more than SUM
  • Convince the PTB* to finally get off of SQL 2000/2005 (*Powers That Be)
  • Decrypting Encryption: TDE, Encrypted columns and how to manage your certificates
  • The five DMV’s you can’t live without…and Why
  • How to pick a SQL Server monitoring tool (compare and contrast 3 or 4 of the leading products – could be a panel of people who have each used a different one)
  • SQL Server Backups 101 (yes there are still people who need to see this)
  • SQL Server Backups 201 : The Restore
  • Tips and Tricks for Supporting SQL Server 3rd party applications (or How to remove Admin privileges without the vendor knowing)
  • Role Based Security – includes worksheet to map out security needs by group and person
  • Learn something new every day – free and low cost resources for SQL Server professionals
  • Catching the Try – Error Handling in T-SQL
  • Multidimensional Cube Development
  • Tabular Cube Development
  • Dueling Cubes: Multidimensional vs. Tabular Development
  • Which is harder MDX or XML?
  • Basic Web Development explained for the DBA
  • So you want to be a DBA? A day in the life of a database worker.
  • Why Certs don’t matter, but you should take them anyway – or What I learned studying for my last cert.
  • Because I said so!: Why DBA’s say No to Triggers, Cascading Deletes, user defined functions and more

Some of my sessions might sound a little tongue-in-cheek, but I do believe there is a session or at the very least a lightning talk behind each one of those suggestions. Once you pick your topic you can submit for SQL Saturday Minnesota or if you want to start with a short 5-10 minute presentation at one of our user group meetings you can email the PASSMN board at



2 thoughts on “Today’s Topic is SQL Saturday

  1. Good post, Mike. It touches on the exact concerns I have about presenting…….what do I present on? Like you said though, it can be a topic that is new to you but are interested in learning more about. After going to PASS Summit and seeing the big names present, it makes you feel like you need to be at that level in order to do so, which can be intimidating. That is not the case though, and you have to start somewhere.


    1. Thanks Andy. I agree, you have to start somewhere. For some people it might be easier to do a short presentation where they work and we also try to provide opportunities for new speakers to do short presentations at the monthly PASSMN meetings.

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