SQL Cruise: Just Add Water
You have a lot of choices for training these days - and with limited budget and even more limited time, you need to choose wisely. I vouch for and stand behind many different offerings that match up with different budgets, skill levels and durations - from SQL Saturdays, to conferences like SQL Bits, SQLintersection, and the PASS Summit, all the way up dedicated training from folks like SQLskills, Brent Ozar, and SQLHA. That is by no means an exhaustive list; just a few highlights, to demonstrate that there are a LOT of ways to learn more about SQL Server.
Today, though, I want to talk about SQL Cruise.
As this will be my fourth time (I've been to the Caribbean once and Alaska twice), let me tell you why I think you should consider coming along for this year's Mediterranean Cruise. I think that most folks are afraid to ask their boss to send them on a cruise because it seems too much like vacation. I can assure you that this is a very well-balanced event, with rigorous training that pays for itself, mixed with some well-deserved breaks - those breaks just happen to be longer than lunch at your typical conference, and take place on shore excursions in beautiful and exotic places. I can also assure you that, because of this unique environment, you will learn a ton of things on topics you couldn't possibly predict. On my three vessels so far, I have learned a boatload (see what I did there?) across a wide variety of related disciplines from the other technical leads, as well as from the cruisers themselves.
My colleague and fellow MVP, Kevin Kline (@kekline), put it this way:
SQL Cruise provides you with some of the best SQL Server training possible from some of the most knowledgeable SQL Server practitioners available. But more than that, SQLCruise is a fun way to learn! The great after-hours gatherings and activities make it easy to make new friends. And the unique setting will provide you with one of the most memorable experiences of your IT career.
And Red Gate's Grant Fritchey (@GFritchey) said it a bit more succinctly:
One of the single most interesting and useful learning and networking events you will ever attend.
Every boss is different, so I can't tell you how to convince yours. But here is what SQL Cruise suggests for their training specifically:
And some recent attendees wrote up their experiences of, and justifications for, an event like SQL Cruise:
- James Steele : SQLCruise – A Manager’s Perspective
- Patrick Keisler : My Experience Aboard SQL Cruise 2014
And every year, it seems, there are posts about how to get your boss to pony up for training in general, which can sometimes be a challenge even when the venue is not a cruise ship. Read through these and come up with a plan of attack that has the best chance of success in your environment (whether you are doing that for SQL Cruise, or if you are planning ahead to some of the fall conferences, most of the arguments are not specific to any single event):
- Allen Kinsel : Convincing your boss to pay for your training
- PASS: Why You Should Go to SQLRally (and How to Ask for the Bucks)
- Ryan Adams : PASS Summit is NOT a Conference
- Alex Guy : How to convince your boss to send you to TechEd
- Steven Mullaghan : How to convince your boss to let you attend SQLRelay
- Grant Fritchey : Make the PASS Summit Work For Your Employer
- Brent Ozar : How to Ask Your Boss for Training Money
- Brent Ozar : Wanna go to #SQLPass? Send this to your manager.
Aaron (@AaronBertrand) is a Data Platform MVP with industry experience dating back to Classic ASP and SQL Server 6.5. He is editor-in-chief of the performance-related blog, SQLPerformance.com, and serves as a community moderator for the Database Administrators Stack Exchange. Aaron's blog focuses on T-SQL bad habits and best practices, as well as coverage of updates and new features in Plan Explorer, SentryOne, and SQL Server.