This week has been a whirlwind in the best possible way. As full as the week has been, it has come to a bittersweet conclusion. I am ready to return home to my family. My brain has definitely reached capacity. But this #SQLFamily connection is real. I was really just starting to settle in connecting with others. It’s the community that I’m not ready to see come to a conclusion yet.
Spending the week in Seattle has also been fantastic! This is not my first visit to the city and it’s just as great as I remember it. Such a fun, beautiful city to explore.
Would I attend again? Without a doubt, YES!
Biggest Takeaway from Day 3
Birds of a Feather lunch. Birds of a Feather lunches are tables in the cafeteria that are each assigned a topic. Topics range from security, SQL Server tuning, Power BI, and on, and on. Attendees can sit at any table of their interest and engage with others around the given topic. I sat at one of these tables each day of the Summit, but today’s held the best conversation. Each day I chose a different topic, but today was the first day that I noticed others at the Data Visualization & Storytelling table so I couldn’t resist! Other viz nerds to chat with! Only about 15% of our conversation ended up being about data viz, but our conversations around reporting tool adoption, Power BI challenges, and proper data prep for visualization was stimulating. A few of us lingered and talked about eateries we found in Seattle, our hometowns, sports teams we grew up with. This is what Summit is all about.
The community keynote titled “AIOps and ChatGPT: Prepare to Ride the Next Wave” was the biggest technical takeaway from the day. The talk focused mostly on the continuing need to address bias in AI packed with examples. What stuck out to me was the encouraging tone of the talk. Rather than being afraid of AI tools like ChatGPT taking away our jobs, we as data professionals should leverage it. Engage with it. Learn how to build NLP models. Contribute to them, design them. AI tools will certainly change our jobs, but we can lean into that change, learn, and become more valuable in the marketplace because of the change. I think most of us inherently know this, but hearing industry leaders speak it never hurts!
I fully expected to come away from the week equipped with new and deeper technical knowledge that I can use to make my company better. That is the case. I did not expect to end the week feeling more connected and engrained in a community of data professionals. However, that is also the case. I feel freshly charged. I feel a sense of responsibility to take what I have learned and impart it to others. I have also to process, consider, and pray about. This week has truly been a gift. It has had a positive impact on me personally and professionally.
I am deeply grateful to all who have worked hard to organize this year’s Summit. Thank you to the speakers, to the volunteers, and the Seattle Convention Center staff. And a special thank you to some of the most overlooked people at an event such as this one: the A/V crews!