Guide to Speaker Selection for #SqlSatDublin (310)

This is just a short guide or Q & A to help speakers whop are submitting for SQL Saturday.

Often we have had many more speakers and topics suggested than we can accommodate, so we have to select based on the number of tracks and what we think will appeal to the Irish technical community at the time,

How are Sessions and Speakers Selected?

We plan to use a minimum of five people from the Irish SQL Community to vote on speakers and topics. This is used to narrow the list. Once the list is narrowed down we review the list to make sure that we have evenly covered the tracks as best we can. 

  • Some consideration is often given to speakers who are popular in Ireland as they have spoken before and scored in the top quartile at previous events. The community will recognise there names and want to hear them again.
  • We also have an allowance for speakers who “nearly” made it into a previous event but had to be bumped due to numbers to to balance the agenda. In this case we will try and rotate so that they say get accepted every other year and do not always “just miss”.
  • Where possible we will give local speakers a fair chance, as its a SQL Saturday/PASS remit to grow local speaking talent in the community. In Ireland there are only a few local speakers anyway, so often we ask really new speakers to consider lightning talks or suggest they do a local UG first. SQL Saturday Dublin may not be the right event for your first public speaking experience, as its a large and technically excellent audience which can be intimidating.
  • As its a Microsoft technology event we love having Microsoft FT and product team speakers over.
  • We have to consider the tracks. In previous years for example we may have only a few developer focused sessions. So if you submitted a session called “The Entity Framework Deep Dive for developers” it doesn’t matter who you are – you would have a high probability  of being selected.

What Level Should I pitch the talk at

Dublin has a “lot” of senior data professionals (5+ years experience). With this in mind I would suggest:

  • If you are presenting on technology that most people know the basics then people may expect an intermediate or advanced content. For example TSQL, indexing, mirroring, replication, indexing. Focus on deep dives, troubleshooting and expect people to know the basics.
  • If you are presenting on an emerging technology. For example: Extended Events, Azure, Sql 2014 features. PDW, hadoop. Then a lower level may be appropriate. Saying that “Extended Events Deep Dive” may be a crowd puller too.
  • The session entitled “beginners guide to installing SQL Server” is not going to ever be selected, but “automating SQL deployments with sysprep and PowerShell” or “Deep Dive into troubleshooting installation”  may be.

What Tracks are you running

We accept topics covering a few areas:

  • DBA topics such as monitoring, performance tuning, backup, data movement, high availability, features of the database engine, internals, query plans, Extended Events, virtualisation, consolidation , storage.
  • Developer topics. Either data modelling, DBEngine development (TSQL, XML, CLR) or data related application development topics such as data caching, ADO.Net, Entity Framework, messaging,  or design patterns for data centric applications and the cloud.
  • Business Intelligence. Subjects across Power BI, MOLAP, Tabular, Emerging cloud BI capabilities, SharePoint, data warehousing, SSIS, Big Data, reporting and data visualisation.
  • The Cloud: Any subject related to managing and consuming data in the cloud
  • Special Interest: Personal Development, Certification, Soft Skills, Career growth.

What Topics are Hot this year ?

  • As its a SQL 2014 launch this is a major focus. Almost everyone is new to SQL 2014 and we want to help people skill up at least to understand capability and features
  • Some core topics we will always need to cover: performance troubleshooting, high availability and DR, TSQL best and worst practices, indexing deep dives.
  • In previous years we have been short of developer topics: The Entity Framework, emerging data access tools, data unit testing, design patterns, data caching frameworks, data modelling.

Things to Avoid

  • If you have submitted sessions to #sqlsatdublin in a previous year and they were not selected. I wouldn’t recommend just blanket re-submitting them. It really isn’t a lottery and if they were not accepted previously I would say they have zero chance of being selected.
  • If you have already spoken at a topic in a previous SQL Saturday Dublin the it may not be worth re-submitting the same session.
  • If you have been using the same topic at every other SQL Saturday across Europe its ok to submit it, but  like a movie we may have seen it before. This can be a good thing if we liked it and we think no once else in Ireland has seen it, but it can be a bad thing if we thing a lot of people may have seen it..
  • Funny topics are good only IF your topic is funny. For example Rob Volks “How to loose friends with Unicode”. However in most cases its better to try and use the title to help explain the content. For example we changed one of our session titles last year from “IO IO its off to work we go” to “File and File group Design patterns for optimising storage IO”
  • SQL 2012 is not the new kid on the block any more. So try and avoid any “Introduction” to SQL2012 topics. We are expecting talks aimed at SQL 2012 to be deeper now, unless they are aimed at a very obscure features.
  • If you are presenting on a SQL 2012 feature which is improved in SQL 2014 we will be favouring sessions that take this into account. Column Store and Availability Groups are key examples here.
  • If you are reading this, and decide to choose a topic based what you think the audience wants to see, MAKE SURE you know the topic first. We do bother to check out a speakers fit for a topic by reading blogs, etc. We are aiming to have an awesome event and make sure that both speakers and attendees get the most from the experience – we don’t want anyone to be eaten alive because they have copied slides from books online and are struggling with filling in the blanks..

So Why Speak at SQL Saturday Dublin ?

Here’s a blog on why William Durkin started speaking at SQL Saturdays

For speakers coming to SQL Saturday we promise you:

  • An interactive and interested audience. There are hundreds of SQL professionals in Ireland who love to learn more about SQL Server.
  • An exclusive speaker event on Friday and unique gift for coming to Dublin. Previous years have includes a party on the floating barge and night out at the famous Guinness brewery.
  • Speaker T-shirt for your collection.
  • copy of your feedback from the audience and ranking (if you opt in), this may help you gain experience and credibility for speaking at other events.
  • Grow your reputation as a technical speaker in Europe.
  • Take part in the SQL Saturday activities and after event.
  • Our undying gratitude – you are awesome.

Hope to see you there,


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