I have had the good fortune of attending the first of the 4 'immersion events' conducted by http://sqlskills.com (Paul Randal and Kimberly Tripp). The first event is on Internals and Performance Tuning, and started off this week at Dallas, TX. To give readers an idea - I do not have any ambitious plans of doing MCM, atleast not right now. I simply do not have the time and energy (and $!) it takes to prepare for it and even if i set myself a really ambitious study plan, am guessing by the time i get through it MCM - Denali will be in place. But I am a senior DBA who has attended several trainings in the past few years, and was beginning to get a little tired of what the market had to offer by way of training.
An old teacher of mine used to say that effective learning is a combination of three factors - your own interest and effort, a great teacher and great students who share the same passion/interest as you do. There were two things in this equation that were getting very hard to find - one is great teachers. Many people i have been in classes with are superlatively great in terms of their technical knowledge, they are just not great teachers - and you really need to ask/probe a lot to get their expertise out. I don't think it is possible to find better teachers than Paul or Kimberly - I found it hard even to leave the classroom for short breaks for fear of missing something, let alone use the internet or get on email/chat, it was literally like drinking from a fire hose. As far as students go, in majority of classes most students are on chat within a few minutes of class starting. Many take long breaks, many have no problems saying that is the only 'paid break' they get from work and they are 'making the best of it'.
Not in this one..first of all i was hugely impressed to see some of my co attendees..MVPs like Brad McGehee ( (@bradmcgehee, http://www.bradmcgehee.com),Sankar Reddy (@sankarreddy13, http://sankarreddy.com), bloggers and active members of the sql community - Kendra Little(@kendra_little, http://littlekendra.com), Eric Humphrey (@lotsahelp, http://lotsahelp.blogspot.com), Trevor Barkhouse (@sqlserversleuth, http://sqlserversleuth.com) - and motivated people like Martin Catherall (@martinznz,http://martincatherall.com)- who has travelled all the way from New Zealand to attend!! This looked like an audience who was serious about learning, not there to just take breaks from work. Lots of questions were asked, and everyone stayed glued to their seats until past 5.30 pm when class was over. People like Kendra took several pages of notes (was so glad to find a prolific 'note taker' like me!).
After class we had a short social with Paul/Kimberly buying first round of drinks. I got to know a lot of people better, and also learnt the mutitude of ways people have to attend a training - some entirely on their own, some with expenses partly paid, some for one training paid (like me), and the lucky lot with all 4 paid for!! People make the best of whatever it is, and without a doubt all of them found it a worthy investment.
So compliments given and done..there was a lot of learning..I wanted to blog on details right away but found myself writing several posts each one really long and not finishing any. Plus I really want to try out the labs and get more questions answered...figured i'd write updates like this as i go along, and save the technical details for after this week. Would also be a good way to assimilate what was learnt, as Brad McGehee said a lot of follow up study is needed to reinforce it and blogging is one sure way to do that. So more as I go along...and hoping to make the best of these 4 days...:)