I had a great time in Boston earlier this month delivering the three-day version of From Zero To SSIS! - the only SSIS class written cover-to-cover by me. The feedback was very positive, which made me feel really good about spending a year designing a course to thoroughly instruct developers and DBAs in SSIS as quickly as possible.
I'm doing another class in December! You can skip my rambling and jump to the details...
I'm a Little... Different
SSIS is hard to learn. If you've stared at a Control Flow and wondered "Ok. Now what?" you are not alone. Also, sitting in a class is not the ideal environment for people used to working all day. We get bored quickly. So, I liven things up a bit.
I'd share with you exactly what I do to liven things up, but I've shared things like that before and then, coincidentally, they show up (unaccredited) in the work of other people. Go figure. :)
Bridge to Somewhere...
Earlier in life I was an instructor. Even though I had lesson plans prepared for me, I always deviated from the plan. Why? I felt that plan suited the person who created it more than the people sitting in my class.
For example, one class I taught was basic electronics. Once you're into electronics a few weeks, you start talking about putting components together to make common reusable circuits (if you've ever wondered why I spend so much time talking about design patterns, now you know). One circuit you always see in basic electronics is the bridge rectifier. I was taught this circuit by an ingenious military instructor while attending the US Army Missile and Munitions School at Redstone Arsenal, AL. I taught my students bridge rectifiers using the same method.
Here's a schematic of a bridge rectifier:
When flowing at 60 cycles per second (cps, or Hertz), AC (alternating current) flows in one direction for 1/120 of a second and then flows in the other direction for 1/120 of a second. This is commonly graphed as a sine wave. DC (direct current), on the other hand, flows in a single direction. A bridge rectifier takes AC inputs (~) and converts AC to unfiltered DC. It accomplishes this using diodes - represented by an arrow with a line perpendicular to the point. Diodes only allow current to flow in one direction.
This sounds very dry and boring, whether you're into electronics or not. It's difficult to visualize. So when I taught electronics, I used light-emitting diodes (LEDs) instead of standard diodes. When current flows through an LED it illuminates and you can see it. Running an LED bridge rectifier at 60 Hz was pretty useless, as human eyes cannot keep up and all the LEDs look like they're constantly on.
To work around this, I connected the AC inputs to a signal generator and supplied an AC sine wave at 1 Hz. It was very easy to see - and therefore learn - how a bridge rectifier works as the light from one pair of LEDs grew in intensity (as the AC peaked or troughed) and then dimmed, followed by the light increasing in the other pair of LEDs. When I connected a couple oscilloscope channels to the circuit - one to the input and the other to the output - the picture was complete. Students never forgot how a bridge rectifier works.
... To Here Actually!
I do the same thing when teaching SSIS. The labs are simple, but demonstrate powerful concepts. They are sequential, each building on the last and preparing for the next. My lecture and lab topics follow a different path than any other SSIS course I've seen; and I balance the lecture, demo, and lab portions differently as well. I'm not saying I do everything right. I'm saying I do things differently and get very positive feedback.
Thinking about it for a year is paying off. And now...
It's Time To Do Another Class!
Here's the details:
When: 6 - 10 Dec 2010 (5 days)
Cost: $2,500 USD
Where: Farmville Virginia
Maximum Class Size: 8
You will need to bring your laptop and you will need a version of SQL Server 2005 or newer - preferably 2008 or 2008 R2. SSIS will need to be installed and functioning.
We're meeting at the Hampton Inn in Farmville, where we have negotiated a rate deal for rooms. This is a really nice hotel, among Hampton Inns it's rated #1 in Virginia and #4 in the nation. There's a mini-mall within walking distance of the hotel that includes Sunchase Cinema 8. Farmville is home to Longwood University and Hampton-Syndey College, so you can get just about any kind of food you want in town. Speaking of food...
Breakfast and Lunch will be catered by my lovely bride, Christy Leonard (Blog | @ChristyLeonard). That might be worth the cost of the class right there!
I'm limiting the class size to eight people. The Hampton Inn has a couple rooms that accommodate between 14 and 50 people but I'm not limiting the class based on this. I'm imposing the limit because I can deliver my full attention to eight students and not be hurried or feel like I'm leaving someone behind or out. I think eight is about the perfect class size.
For more information: Contact me!
You can get SSIS training from lots of sources. I've attended online training sessions and purchased recordings from some extremely knowledgeable and talented trainers. I've found nothing beats sitting in the same room with them to learn. The students who attended the Boston SQL Training course earlier this month shared similar thoughts.
I simply want to deliver the most value possible. In-person is the best way to accomplish that goal. So do you want to get your SSIS learn on? Contact me!