This is a guest blog post from Thomas LaRock, the President of PASS (Professional Association for SQL Server)
It’s no secret that the role of data in the IT industry, in business, and in the world at large is changing at a rapid pace. As technology continues to become a more integrated and integral part of our lives the value of data continues to rise.
At PASS we have a 16-year history of empowering IT professionals who use Microsoft data technologies. The SQL Server community is the largest and most engaged group of data pros in the world. PASS volunteers and the PASS Board of Directors work together to help the PASS community succeed in connecting, sharing, and learning from one another. A big part of that effort is keeping an eye on the future of the data profession.
What we see is that data analytics is the next frontier for professionals passionate about data. The growth of Big (and Little) Data, the advent of cloud computing, and advances in machine learning are all areas that present challenges for our community. Data analysts, data scientists, and line-of-business managers are in high demand as organizations realize the potential of collecting and understanding the wealth of information that is available from a variety of sources.
PASS is dedicated to helping our members harness the technologies, skills, and networks that are the foundation of solid and successful careers. We believe that keeping up with industry advances is a vital skill for all data professionals. Setting and achieving new goals as well as learning new ways of working with data is a must.
Whether you’re coming from a background in SQL Server, business intelligence, or social media there are specific cornerstones of turning all this data into something that can benefit your organization. We call this the “analyst’s journey.”
One such cornerstone is data discovery and integration. We want our members to be aware of the latest technologies in collecting, modeling, and preparing data for analysis. Next is data analysis and interpretation. We want to help our members understand the techniques and tools that enable sophisticated analysis, prediction, and optimization. Then there’s visualization: the creative side of things, where we get into report and dashboard design.
As with any career another key skillset is communication. The people who analyze and work with data are in the best position to help gain executive buy-in for data-driven business decisions. For years PASS has been the leader in helping data professionals improve their communication and soft skills.
One way in which we’re reaching out to those who want to learn more about analytics is the PASS Business Analytics Conference. This premiere event brings together a stellar lineup of business and analytics speakers including our keynote speakers Carlo Ratti and BI Brainz founder Mico Yuk. We have created a series of webinars and a Meet the Expert interview series to give people an idea of what the conference will offer. We also have replays from last year’s conference, and we have hours of training available through our Virtual Chapters.
We’re excited about data and analytics and we’re hearing from more and more SQL Server pros who share that excitement.
It’s a wonderful time to be a data professional.
See you in Santa Clara!