Azure Saturday hos Microsoft i Kgs. Lyngby

En lørdag i Kgs. Lyngby, i selskab med 35 talere, der kommer med massiv viden på hver deres område, for kun en plovmand. Det lyder næste for godt til at være sandt – men det er det ikke, og faktisk er det ikke kun om lørdagen der sker ting og sager.

Der vil være fire (4) forskellige workshops, for en merpris, d. 30. og 31. august og selve konferencen er d. 1. og 2. september. Forvirret? Interesseret?
Så se mere på http://azuresaturday.dk

Her er et lille udsnit af de indlæg der vil være at vælge imellem:

 

TSQL Tuesday #93 – My Interviewing Experiences

Kendra Little (b|l|t) is hosting this months TSQL2SDAY which is on the topic of:

TSQL Tuesday #93: Interviewing Patterns & Anti-Patterns

What advice do you have for people preparing for or going through an interview?

I got of to a late start, and I apologize in advance for what may be a bit messy blog post.

Background

A couple of years ago, when I was working at a pretty large blueish container shipping company, we got the opportunity to interview candidates for our off-shore team. This was, as far as I know, a first off in the company, and only came to be because my manager at the time was adamant about it.

We quickly decided, that I was to take on the technical part of the interview and my manager the more person/team oriented aspects. So I devised a good number of questions, so I could accommodate for any specialization the candidate may have. We had to cover a lot because our landscape was, well, let’s just put it: Not so single vendor-ish.
To make a long story short, the setup in the company at that point in time was that the Data Warehouse (DWH) was situated on a Teradata box. On top of that there were several options for business reporting. One such option was Microsoft Reporting Services (SSRS), which was done in the department where I was sitting. The reports were however not sourcing directly from Teradata, but from one of many Analysis Services (SSAS) cubes we hosted as well. All data was sourced using Informatica (into the DWH), in yet another department, so Integration Services (SSIS) was officially (and unofficially) not allowed as sourcing tool, which is why no questions reflect that aspect of the Microsoft BI Stack.

So, we were looking for strong profiles in SSRS and SSAS as well as having Teradata knowledge. Along with a general understanding of Data Warehouse fundamentals of course. In other words, not junior profiles.

Preparation

In order to lock in on the level of the one being interviewed I prepared a set of questions with increasing technical difficulty. Since my knowledge on Teradata was limited I asked around among the DBA’s and decided after some contemplating to completely avoid checking for technical Teradata skills. We would have to train them, if need be.
The list of questions evolved during the whole process. I honed in on the  general level of applicants, after firing questions East and West. Me being more precise gave everyone a much better experience. Conversations tend to stop, when no-one understands you and, you don’t look like a Donkey asking about simple stuff.
So hopefully you get the opportunity to tune into the level of the applicant before you unload your tech quiz.

The Interviews

I wound up having three categories of questions:

Proficiency

Do they have any strong sides? Usually people tend to have a favorite tech in which they excel. So for us it was important not to hire only SSRS Wizards/Ninjas or whatever it’s called nowadays. We wanted a fair mix.

I would ask the interviewee to rate them selves in the different tools and languages and use their rating as pointer to the question I would ask on the technical stuff. If they rated themselves > 7/10 in MDX and are having trouble naming at least five (5) frequently used functions, you know something is rotten.

Something I notoriously have gotten wrong would be:

  • Q: Explain what you get from having Enable Visual Totals checked?
  • A: When Enable Visual Totals are checked, the Grand Total reflects the total you are allowed to see. The Grand Total is not a Grand Total, but your Local Total. At least that works in my mind!
Data Modeling

Data modeling was usually the area where the interviewee’s were least knowledgeable. So the nature of the questions in this category was on a very high level.

  • Q: What’s the difference between a data mart and a data warehouse?
  • A: A data mart is a subset of the data warehouse.
  • Q: Do you know any architectural principles of data warehousing
  • A: Inmon & Kimble
  • Q: Delivery Date and Shipping Date in a Fact table, how would you model that?
  • A: I would use a role playing dimension, Time.
Optimization

In this category of questions, I’d ask them to explain how they would optimize say a poorly performing dimension in SSAS.
What about query performance tuning – what would they look for and how would they attack the issue?

Final Question

But, the one question I always looked forward to was:

Tell me about a Business issue you solved, which you are particularly proud of.

This question I grew fond of, because it allows for the interviewee to brag about how cool they were doing this and that awesome thing to save the business a Centillion Dollars. This allows the person really to shine and at the same time, you get a feeling for their level of engagement and technical flair, not their skill set as such. Don’t you want to know how ingenious they can be a their best? This will give you a hint in that direction, or at least it did for me.

Tests

Back in the days before the big blue container hauling company, I was also involved in the hiring process. I was in fact tested myself, when I first began working there and in my experience tests can have two immediate take-away’s:

  1. It was all talk, and no walk.
  2. Does the person think and act like you expect them to?

1)

I’ve had a number of people skipping the test after we had a good 1-1½ hour talk. Excuses flying around like butterflies in the summer.

“Oh, I forgot! It’s my Grandmother’s birthday, I have to leave urgently. Bye Bye!”

“My car is double parked… I need to move it immediately!”

“Is that the time?”

– Never to be heard from again.

For this kind of situation, a test is very handy – apparently there are a fair amount of bul$hitters out there and fortunately the test prevented you from hiring them.

2)

In my mind, a test should display how the person got to the result, rather than just showing a number. I want to see the T-SQL code, the MDX, M or whatever they used to solve the puzzle. This tells me way more than a result and time.

With the actual code in hand, you can go into discussion (something a lot of coders dislike) about how they came up with what they submitted as final answer. By discussing the code, you get a sense of how their personality is when dealing with their own code. Expect a lot of back-paddling, as time, room temperature, humidity and other factors can have a high impact on the delicate nature of some coders 😉

Summary

There are a lot of ways to conduct an Interview, and I bet my humble contribution to this tsql2sday is one of the more novice ones, but I hope I have allowed you to see some of the thought processes I’ve had, when having to interview people for a position. I am very much looking forward to seeing the other contributions to this blog party – can hardly wait.

Thanks Kendra for hosting!

SET Pressure ON;

This fall is going to be my most busy so far, in terms of speaking. I have been accepted for SqlSaturday in Oslo where I am going to be talking about BI DevOps, which I am really stoked about. Supposedly our Northern neighbors are to host one h… of a SqlSaturday. I hosted a session about this at the recent SqlNexus event, and it seems quite popular. This not only by attendance, but also the fact that Mark Broadbent (b|l|t) and I have agreed that I do a mini-con on the same topic at SqlSaturday Cambridge. See here for Part 1 and here for Part 2.

Please use this link to register for the mini-con: BI DevOps Mini-Con
(All proceeds will go to charity)

I am thrilled to go back to Cambridge again this year. It seems I am there odd years only, 2013, 2015 and now 2017. This year, besides the mini-con, I am on for a session on Pro Techniques for the SSASMD Developer. A session I have delivered on several occasions, latest at SqlSaturday in Prague.

Update:
On a more local scale, I am hosting a Power BI workshop in Maribo on Lolland August 23rd. More information via the Meetup invite here.

But, before these three events, I am to give a session at the Power BI World Tour, which is held in Copenhagen. More precisely at Microsoft HQ in Kgs. Lyngby, just north of Copenhagen. Here I will be demonstrating how to connect a Raspberry Pi running Windows 10 IoT Core to Azure and read of the device live in Power BI.

Topping off the quarter, I will be in Seattle, where I am doing not only one, but two sessions; on session on BI DevOps (again) and one on <drum roll please> how to connect a Raspberry Pi with Azure Stream Analytics and Power BI. Really, REALLY, excited to be selected to speak at the PASS Summit. I have only done a Lightning Talk, back in 2015 , and I am both humbled and scared to have two(!) general session slots at the greatest data platform event in the world. I have however had a few test runs before the event, so that should hopefully have settled the worst of the nerves.

This year I am proud to state, that I am 2/2 on submissions to the Summit.

I hope to be going back to the U.S. in December, to be able to speak in Washington at the SqlSaturday event there. If I succeed in getting accepted there, I have a cunning plan on going home via Pittsburgh to catch the Ravens taking a beating. Fingers X’ed.

 

Speaking at #SqlSaturday in Dublin

This coming Saturday I will be speaking at the SqlSaturday event in Dublin, Ireland.

My session will be evolving around Azure IoT Hub, a Raspberry Pi3 device running the latest Windows 10 Core operating system. So if you want to know more about the options for Internet of Things  in Azure.

If you are in the neighborhood, you should definitely check out this single day, _free_(!), event – all about SQL Server. There are a number of great sessions, and as usual, you will find it hard to build your own schedule; Deciding which sessions to attend, is always a task of picking only one session out of several really good options for the same time slot. This event is no different.

 

Training Days (Thurs-Fri)

To fit in more content, this year the event has two days of full training days on Thursday and Friday. Spaces on some of the training are limited to under 30 and book early to avail of additional discounts.

Click on one of the training days below for full details

I was awarded the Microsoft Data Platform MVP

Today Yesterday I was distinguished by Microsoft, as I received an mail in which they awarded me with a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award. It was one of those moments that’ll stick with you for a lifetime. I am truly honored and very, very excited about the days to come in this new role. As far as community goes, nothing has changed. But with the award comes a great deal of responsibility towards the products, the product teams and Microsoft as a whole. I am really looking forward to embark that ship.

In short, my excitement for today is best characterized as (this is supposed to be a gif – but using Word as publishing tool doesn’t seem to do the trick):

It’s been a joyful ride that began back in 2013 where I gave my first public talk. Since then I have been fortunate enough to be selected to speak at a number of events such as SQLSaturday, MSBIP, Microsoft Campus Days and not least the great PASS Summit. On that note, I’d like to particularly thank Mark Broadbent (b|l|t) who twice has given me the opportunity to be part of his phenomenal SqlSat Cambridge events. Mark was also forthcoming about nominating me for this award, and for that I am very grateful. Also, a huge thank you goes out to Regis Baccaro (b|l|t) who on numerous occasions has given me the opportunity to both speak and be part of the team organizing the SqlSat Denmark events for the last four (4) years. There are a lot of people whom I am thinking of right now, writing this piece. People from all over the world, some of whom I’ve never even met – but still, they are part of what made this journey so wonderful and interesting. So, a great thank you goes out to the #sqlfamily out there, wherever you may be. I will be looking forward to reconnecting with old acquaintances as well as new ones in the time to come. I am always open for a chat, even about the Microsoft Data Platform

Thank You #sqlfamily