2014 Wrap-up

Another year down in this amazing journey called life. It’s a little late, but it’s time to recap the year and review last years goals.

Overall, it was a good year. I worked as an independent contractor at a large corporation for a big chunk of the year. While there, I got to continue to sharpen my SSAS skills, as well as learn SQL Server Master Data Services, get more familiar with Scrum and Team Foundation, basically designed and developed an entire ETL/DW/Reporting project that aggregated quality control data for production lines at multiple factory sites. And I got to work with a good team of guys.

In September, I joined Blackstone + Cullen as a Principal Consultant in a Senior SQL Developer/Architect role. I initially talked to them about sub-contracting with my company Data Join Consulting, but after considering different factors, I decided to join them as a FTE. I may give more details in a future post, but I think they can help take my career to the next level.

While at Blackstone + Cullen, one project I’ve been working on uses Power Query, Power Pivot, and SharePoint O365. I love learning new skills, and the Power BI stack was on my short list. It’s been fun learning the new tools. I will have more posts on these technologies in the near future.

2014 Goal Review

  1. SQL Server 2012 certification
  2. Finish the books left unread from last year
  3. Stay current on C#, watch PluralSight courses Mastering C# 4.0 and C# Design Strategies
  4. Improve my blog post count from previous year (number to beat was 12)
  5. Present at one user group meeting

SQL Server 2012 certification

Hmmm, well reading the goal list at first is a little discouraging. I STILL did not take any tests towards SQL Server certification. I have put quite a bit of time in studying (maybe over-studying?) for the 70-461 test. Life just gets in the way, and I haven’t properly prioritized this yet. GRADE: Incomplete.

Finish the books I left unread from last year

Oh boy. Well, I didn’t finish any of those books. I DID however read Chris Webbs Power Query for Power BI and Excel book (and I still owe Chris a book review. Coming soon, I promise!) Also, this past year I have watched more videos than read books. I really need to write them down as I watch them so I can list them on these wrap-up posts. As I was trying to ramp-up on Power Query and Power Pivot/DAX quickly, I watched as many of those as I could. From paid courses like the SQL BI Power Pivot Advanced course, to free YouTube channels like the PASS Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence Virtual Chapter, to channel9 TechEd, to SQL Pass videos, it is amazing the access to so much knowledge. GRADE: Incomplete, with extra credit for videos.

Stay current on C#

I did not watch the PluralSight courses I called out in my goal. I did use C# in spots here and there in work, usually in a script task in an SSIS package. While I don’t feel my C# skills have atrophied, I also still don’t feel comfortable with the new features and paradigms quite yet. GRADE: Incomplete.

Improve my blog post count from previous year

Number to beat is 12. My post count from 2014 is … 12. * sad trombone * Another year of starting strong and tailing way off at the end. Why is that? GRADE: Push.

Present at a user group meeting

Finally, something I can hang my hat on. I exceeded my goals here. I spoke at

  1. Microsoft Business Intelligence User group on “Fundamentals of MDX”
  2. SQL Saturday #285 Atlanta on “Fundamentals of MDX”
  3. SQL Saturday #328 Birmingham on “Fundamentals of MDX”
  4. Atlanta MDF on “Fundamentals of MDX”
  5. I was scheduled to speak at SQL Saturday #330 Charlotte BI edition as well, but had to cancel two weeks out due to conflicts in my schedule. I hated having to cancel, but I’m giving myself half a point for that 🙂

So, I spoke at four (with a canceled fifth) on a pretty difficult topic, I must admit. I have a love/hate with presenting. The pressure to prepare is stressful, and it’s pretty nerve-wracking. I had decent success with each presentation, but also know plenty of things I could do better. The feedback forms at the SQL Saturday events are a huge help with this. My problem is that if I have 9 positive reviews and 1 negative review, I tend to focus on the negative one. It’s all part of a process, and I do believe the benefits are very valuable. Grade: COMPLETE, with extra credit

Summary

All in all, a satisfactory year. The point of goals is to set the bar high. I don’t consider not meeting all the goals a bad thing. In fact, if you meet all your goals, maybe you didn’t set them high enough. Speaking of goals, my next post will be goals for 2015.

2014 Wrap-up

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