A few weeks ago, Purple Frog attended SQLBits 2020 (the largest data conference in Europe). This year the event had a change of pace as the whole conference was hosted online due to the current global pandemic. We converted the office into our own small venue with almost every screen being used over the week to display sessions. With the help of plenty of social distancing, plenty of pizza and the odd bacon sandwich… it worked quite well!

Here is what the frogs had to say about the event,

SQLBits 2020 had literally hundreds of sessions to choose from. It was a tough call which session to watch next in most cases! Sessions ranged from hardcore data related sessions, to softer creative/design/career sessions too. I enjoyed seeing sessions from big names such as Christian Wade, Chris Webb, Brent Ozar and not forgetting the Italian DAX experts Marco & Alberto! I also gained lots of insight from Paul Andrew’s (a Purple Frog alumni) training day session on Azure Data Factory and gained lots of hints and tips that we could apply to live projects that I’m working on.

As some of the sessions were pre-recorded, the presenter was on hand to answer any questions along the way using the interactive chat window which was super useful and interactive. Finally, the organisers hosted a pub quiz Thursday night which was a great laugh as well as hosting lunch time entertainment on Thursday & Friday from the guys from the ‘Festival of the Spoken Nerd‘! All in all a fantastic week of remote training and insight! Be sure to get yourself booked on for next year! – Nick Edwards (BI Developer)

I had the pleasure of attending SQLBits 2019 last year, to see such a large event be totally migrated online was rather impressive. While the lunchtime entertainment and the pub quiz were a lot of fun with Steve Mould having a comedy routine on Venn diagrams, my highlight was attending Andy Leonard’s “From Zero to Azure Data Factory” training day. Andy is a great presenter and very knowledgeable about this area, there were many versatile examples he provided during the day that I found very useful. While I would have preferred to attend a live event, given the circumstances I feel SQLBits 2020 was a success and has really set the mark for what a virtual conference can achieve.- Liam McGrath (Support Engineer)

SQLBits was very different this year! The atmosphere of a virtual room, compared to an in person event is never going to compete, but that doesn’t mean that the quality or content was any lesser for it! In fact the ability to ask questions directly to the speakers via the chat windows or Q&A during the pre-recorded presentation, allowed them to fully answer your question in depth and have a good conversation around it. Sitting in on sessions with Industry giants, Itzik Ben-Gan, Brent Ozar, Pinal Dave and Simon Whitely and Terry McCann from Advancing Analytics was incredibly valuable as expected.

There were loads of incredibly thought provoking sessions, ranging from Machine Learning in Power BI, to Databricks vs Synapse. Unlocking your LinkedIn profile, to T-SQL Performance Tuning. If you were any way interested in Data, there was something for you to learn! Overall I had a great time, and I can’t wait to see what the wonderful team of volunteers and speakers come up with next year! Bring on SQLBits 2021! – Reiss McSporran (BI Developer)

I found the conference really useful and quite a fun way of learning. I got some really useful knowledge out of the sessions and got to see different ways of doing things. The range of sessions is really good and there are so many options, you get a good mix of topics and therefore aren’t overwhelmed with information. The lunchtime entertainment and quiz were a really fun addition, so it’s not just all about the learning. – Jeet Kainth (BI Developer)

SQLBits 2020 was the first SQLBits event that I have attended. I enjoyed lots of different sessions on numerous topics such as: DAX, Power BI, Azure Machine Learning, SQL Server and even one about brand building.
The sessions were very informative and I learnt a lot. I would definitely attend again even if the event was to be virtual. – Jon Fletcher (BI Developer)

Having attended many SQLbits conferences over the years, I was excited to be accepted to deliver a talk this year on LinkedIn. As the conference was virtual, we have to pre-record our sessions but this meant that whilst the recordings were playing we were able to directly interact with the delegates in the chat to answer questions. It was great to see a soft skills topic as part of the SQLBits agenda and given the positive response I hope that we start to see more of these sessions scheduled at future events. Also, it was funny that I had slightly more people in my session than Alex Whittles! – Hollie Whittles (Speaker)