I recently saw a post on one of the MCT forums asking which conference should be attended - TechEd IT Pro, TechEd Dev or PASS when it comes to SQL education. I posted a reply there favoring TechEd (either). I need to defend that a bit better.
One reply to that post pointed out that SQL Server is considered ITPro by MS when it come to certifications (MCITP: DBA, Developer, BI). A reply pointed out that even though that was the case, there is still a certification with "developer" in the name. As usual, it seems no one knows how to categorize the database. What a surprise.
The simplicity of the situation is that the database is the intersection point between development, IT management and the business. It isn't that a DBA or database professional or whatever you call the role is more important than anyone else - it's just that the DBA ends up with the unenviable job of having to work with just about every group.
There have been some that have argued that there shouldn't be a DBA, a distinct job from development or from normal server systems management. I don't agree with that - I think we need a job role that is an intersection point. Without it, chaos or apathy invariably ensue.
So in my answer on the post I gave the nod to TechEd, even though I'm a speaker at PASS (stupid James...). My reasoning is that a SQL Server professional needs to learn as much about other technologies out there as he does about SQL Server. That won't happen at PASS (which is an excellent source of SQL Server knowledge - but that's it). To be an effective SQL Server...person...one must almost be a sponge for information on intersecting technologies.
At least that's my 2 cents.