Interview With PASS Summit 2012 Speaker - Cindy Gross

This is the ninth in a series of interviews with speakers leading up to the 2012 PASS Summit which will be held in Seattle from November 6th - 9th.  This interview is with Microsoft Certified Master Cindy Gross.

Tell us about yourself

I have worked with SQL Server since 1993 when we had to feed stacks of diskettes to the OS/2 machines to install SQL Server 1.11. Since then I have worked with many different feature sets within SQL Server and I currently focus on the SQL BI stack and Big Data, including our new HDInsight offerings. As a member of SQL CAT I work with challenging scenarios to remove real world implementation roadblocks and publish lessons learned back to the community. I have spoken at SQL PASS Summits, SQL Saturdays, and local and virtual user group meetings. One of the hardest things I’ve done is earn the SQL Server 2008 Microsoft Certified Master certification. I live in Boise, ID where I can enjoy outdoor activities right outside my front door while also being only a short bicycle ride from our vibrant downtown.

Twitter: @SQLCindy

Tell us your favorite thing about your PASS session(s)

Hive is such an easy entry point for SQL Server professionals into the world of Big Data. It makes Hadoop data look like familiar tables with columns and rows and you can reuse your existing SQL language skills to enter into this new Big Data World. I’m excited to introduce Hive to whole new group of SQL Peeps and give some additional insights to those who have already dipped their toes into Hive!

Tell us about your first time at PASS Summit

I first attended the PASS Summit in Dallas. I was working the local Microsoft PSS support office at the time and went to PASS to work in the SQL Clinic. It was a great experience to meet so many people I had previously only met virtually. The wealth of knowledge and sense of #SQLFamily at the PASS Summit is astounding and it’s great to be part of that experience.

What advice do you have for PASS Summit First Timers?

Reach out to your fellow geeks and share your experiences with them. No matter how little or how much time you have been working with SQL Server you have valuable insights, questions, and answers. The PASS Summit is your chance to learn from the best in the SQL world and make some great friends along the way.

What are your can't-miss PASS sessions?

The SQL CAT team members are well known for presenting “can’t miss” sessions based on real world scenarios. Make sure you attend at least a couple of those. Base your decisions not just on the content but on the speakers, there are some people like Kalen Delaney that you just have to hear speak in person.

Besides sessions, what's on your must-do list at Summit?

Everyone should visit the SQL Clinic and talk to the CAT and PSS folks. Ask architectural or troubleshooting questions, get advice on something you’re thinking about or struggling with, and meet some of the people who get to work heads down on SQL Server every day. Networking with your peers is also very important – the connections you make at PASS can help you solve problems, become a member of the #SQLFamily, and maybe even help you find that perfect career move.

How can attendees become involved in the SQL Server Community and continue their learning throughout the year?

Attend local user group and SQLSaturday events, talk to people during breaks and at lunch. Find an active discussion group on a forum or mailing list and start reading the posts. Find some questions you are willing to answer and start answering. Sometimes just asking for clarification on the question can be a great help to both the questioner (who may find their answer while trying to add the information) and to the other readers. Start thinking about what you’re really good at or what you struggled to learn but figured out, whether it’s something basic or something really complicated someone else will be interested in knowing that same thing. Blog about it or put it together into a talk and demo and share it!



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