T-SQL Tuesday #102: Community Commitments

Another Month passes, another weekend ends and #BOOM it’s T-SQL Tuesday time again. This month marks the 102nd edition of Adam Machanic’s (t|b) brain child.

Riley Major (t|b|l) is the host today, and, in the spirit of #sqlfamily, he has asked us to list the ways in which we are going to give back to the community. Riley has also committed to following up on these goals, and keeping us honest about our progress.

Thanks for the amazing topic, and the effort in ensuring that we strive to grow the community and provide the most welcoming #sqlfamily environment possible! Here are my goals for the year.

Lend a helping hand

Philip Veater

I’ve always marvelled at the sheer volume of help some people manage to provide. Whether it is participating in discussions on the slack channels, answering questions on websites like StackOverflow or SQLServerCentral, or trawling the #sqlhelp hashtag on Twitter, their contribution is fantastic.

I’m still starting out on this journey, so I’ve set myself the challenge of being a nett positive on the community, rather than an information drain.

As a measurable KPI, I commit to answering more questions than I ask. For the purposes of measuring my contribution, I will not count adding to answers that others have already given, or backing up another users suggestion as contributions of my own.

Evangelism – at home and abroad

Mark de Jong

As you may, or may not know, I come from South Africa. It’s a wonderful country, and there is enormous potential in the tech space, but we are a *little* isolated from the tech centres of the world.

Largely due to this, I have found that many people in South Africa are unaware of the #sqlcommunity, or if they are aware, they may not realise the benefits of participating therein. As a knock-on effect, South Africa is often overlooked when it comes to tech events like the Power BI World Tour, or some of the training providers who provide high-end technical training around the world.

My mission, in the short term, is to try and get more South Africans involved in the #sqlcommunity, and at the same time, trying to encourage investment and opportunities in South Africa from the wider tech community. I believe that if we, as a country, could really show interest in the community, and grow awareness of the tech talent in South Africa, the second objective will take care of itself. I’m also encouraged by the fact that Microsoft is opening two data centres in South Africa, which can only be good for the growth of a MS specific organisation.

So, to the end of promoting the community, and encouraging involvement, I will be submitting a talk about community involvement to all 3 SQL Saturdays in South Africa. I don’t have control over whether the talks will be accepted, but I will do my best to try and spread the word.

*SHAMELESS PLUG* On the topic of SQL Saturdays in South Africa, I would like to encourage anyone reading this, who enjoys presenting to consider a little South African vacation in September. There are 3 SQL Saturday events on consecutive weekends, so for 11 days off work, you could, potentially, speak at 3 events, and have two weeks of vacation in the process. In addition, the exchange rate is very favourable for foreign visitors. If you’d like more information, get hold of me on twitter, @JamesMcG_MSBI.

Local is lekker

“Lekker”, is an extremely versatile Afrikaans word, meaning good, sweet, or excellent when used as an adjective, or extremely when used as an adverb. “Local is lekker” is a marketing slogan to encourage South Africans to buy and use South African produce, and support South African businesses. Similarly, I think it’s very important to participate in local community events. My goal is to attend 80% of the local user group meetings for the year. I’d like to attend all of the meetings, but life sometimes gets in the way, so I think 80% is a realistic goal.

I’d also like to speak at out local user group whenever needed by the organisers. Local user groups are important for giving many people an opportunity to present so I definitely don’t want to impose too much, but it’s also important to give the organisers support when they require it.

Tonight is actually our May user group meeting, and I will be speaking about some of the new Data Viz and Storytelling features in PowerBI. It’s the fourth meeting of the year, and I have been to all of them so far.

Content Creation

Probably the single biggest benefit of the community, is the ability to pop online, type in a topic, and find a blog post from someone amazing that helps with your problem. One day, I’d like to be that person for someone else. So I am challenging myself to write at least 6 technical blog posts before the end of the year. In addition, I will be trying to participate in 80% (10/12) of T-SQL Tuesdays. I’ve already missed one so I don’t have much leeway here.

Resource Creation

Recently, I’ve been working on a project which I think has tremendous reusability. Once I’ve completed the project, and made the scripts a little more usable, I’d like to publish it. I’ve reaped the benefits of work done by other people on multiple occasions (and even at the start of this project), so I’d really like to give back and hopefully help someone who finds themselves facing a similar problem.

TL;DR

  • Photo by Keith Wako from Pexels

    Answer more questions than I ask across Twitter, Slack, StackOverflow etc.

  • Submit SQL Community Themed talks to all SQL Saturdays in South Africa
  • Attend 80% of JHB SQL User Group Meetings, present when required.
  • Create 6 technical blog posts, and 10 T-SQL Tuesday posts
  • Release a reusable solution into the community

Conclusion

As I’ve learned more about the #sqlcommunity, I’ve grown in both a personal, and professional sense. I’m more aware of the challenges that certain demographics face, I’ve learned how important professional relationships are, and I’ve definitely come to appreciate how many wonderfully passionate SQL Professionals there are. Hopefully, one day, I can give back to the community in equal measure!

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