Back in September 2010 I spent another evening with the Cardiff SQL Server User Group, run by Adam Morton. Having got so much out of the Cardiff group since its inception, both as an attendee and as a regular speaker, it struck me as a shame that there wasn’t a group represting the SQL community in my area of the UK, the Midlands.

Following a few conversations with Adam Morton, Tony Rogerson, Chris Testa-O’Neil and others, Hollie (my patient and supportive Wife and business partner!) and I decided to launch a new SQL Server user group for the Midlands.

With a few months of planning, we invited Allan Mitchell and Neil Hambley to speak at our first event in March 2011, held in a fabulous pub in central Birmingham, the Old Joint Stock. We’re now planning our third event to be held at the start of October as part of the national SQL Relay event, and the group is growing from strength to strength with 30 attendees at the last meeting.

Now, in August 2011, we’re delighted that we’ve been accepted as an official PASS chapter (The Professional Association of SQL Server). This will help provide global recognition of the group, increasing its visiblity and hopefully generating even more awareness and attendees.

To mark the event, we’ve launched a new website for the group

We’re incredibly lucky to have such an active, diverse and friendly SQL Server community in the UK. You only have to look at the phenominal success of the SQLBits conference as well as the user groups and SQLSocial. I’ve personally gained a lot from being a part of it, in terms of learning skills, networking, presenting talks and making new friends. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the community leaders for all their hard work, especially the organisers of SQLBits, who go above and beyond the call of duty every 6 months.

And it’s not all about SQL Server, the SQLSocial event last week was pretty much just an excuse to go to the Great British Beer Festival and celebrate Simon Sabin’s birthday!

If you’ve not got involved before, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do you want to learn more about SQL Server?
  2. Do you want to meet other SQL Server beginners or professionals, and discuss tech, career, beer, or anything else that springs to mind?
  3. Are you new to this and just want to know what’s out there?
  4. Do you want an opportunity to present a SQL Server based talk to like minded people?

If you answer yes to any of the above, then here are some resources for you

SQLServerFaq – All SQL Server User Groups in the UK

SQL Bits – Europe’s largest and best SQL Server conference, held every 6 months

SQL Social – Does what it says on the tin!

SQL Pass – SQL Server conference held in Seattle, U.S.A.

SQL Server conference in Sweden

The above events are not only top quality, with world leading speakers, some are also free. The user groups, SQLSocial and the community day of SQLBits are totally free – where else can you get that kind of training without paying a fortune?!

You’ll even get to hear me present another talk at SQLBits, I’m talking about PowerPivot and QlikView, with a level 200 introduction into self service BI and how these two products compare.

With so much going on in the UK and abroad, and with such quality, help yourself as well as the community – get yourself registered for some of the events.


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