New Session, Intro to Azure Data Catalog

I am excited to announce that I have created a new session, Intro to Azure Data Catalog.  This has been a long time in the planning and it’s about to be executed for the first time on Tuesday, January 28, 2020.  I will be presenting it for our local user group, Triad Microsoft Data Platform User Group (f.k.a. TriadSQL).  If you’re in the area, please stop by, I’d love to see you, get your feedback and chat for a bit.

2019 in Review

What an incredible year it’s been.  I kept thinking that I was busy, but I had no idea until I looked at the final numbers (I have a Power BI report that I’ve created to track my  activities).

Angela’s Community Activities

Major Accomplishments

  • I delivered 27 sessions at 20 events in 6 countries.
  • I created my own Power BI pre-con content and started delivering it.
  • I was the lead organizer for a SQL Saturday.

That is considerably more than I thought I would be doing at the start of 2019.  When I started to think about what I wanted to do for 2020, I reflected on 2019’s activities and came to the following conclusion:  I need to support the local and virtual groups more.  As a former local group leader, I understand how hard it is to get speakers, especially in the smaller cities.  So I’ve created some goals for 2020.

Goals for 2020

  • Speak at more local and virtual user groups.
  • Create content for two new sessions.
  • Improve my PowerApps skills.
  • Write one technical blog post per month.

For the first bullet point, if you are a chapter leader (local or virtual) and would like to have me speak for your group, please reach out.  I’m willing to drive up to 6 hours one-way to make this happen.  I will also check for local groups when I’m doing personal travel to see if something fits.

The second bullet point, Create content for 2 new sessions, may seem arbitrary, but it’s not.  I have two ideas that have been rolling around in my head for the last month or so and it’s about time I get them out of my brain and into something tangible.

The third bullet point, Improve my PowerApps Skills, may seem a bit out of left field, but I did start out as an application developer way back when and I want to get back to that a little bit and PowerApps looks like a great place to start.

The fourth bullet point, Write one technical blog post per month, is something that I’ve been wanted to do for a while, but have never made the time to do it or formalize it.  This year I’m putting it on my calendar every month to help keep me accountable.

I hope your 2019 was as productive as you hoped, if not more, and I wish you all the best for 2020.

I’m Speaking at #SQLSatCleveland

I am so excited and honored to have been selected to speak at SQL Saturday Cleveland #930 on February 1, 2020.  This will be my second time speaking at SQL Saturday Cleveland.  I first spoke at SQL Saturday Cleveland back in 2018, when it was SQL Saturday #708.  To be selected to speak at an event once is an honor, but to be selected to speak for that same event a second time, is truly amazing.  It shows that the organizers believe in me, my speaking ability, and my commitment to the community.

I will be presenting my Data Types Do Matter session.  As some of you know, I am very passionate about this topic and it is honestly one of my favorite sessions.  If you are in the Cleveland area on February 1, 2020, I hope you will check out SQL Saturday Cleveland #930, it’s a great opportunity for free training and as a bonus, you get to see me.  What better way could you spend a Saturday in Cleveland in February?!

Stepping Down As PASS Local Group Leader

Some of you may have already heard, but I have decided to step down from being the PASS local group leader for the chapter in Greensboro, NC.  I’ve been the local group leader for almost five years and prior to being the leader I was the speaker wrangler for a few years.  I’ve been involved with this group for almost ten years, so it was not a decision that I made lightly, but as with everything in life, all things must come to an end.

Being the local group leader has given me more opportunities than I could possibly have imagined.  Meeting speakers from all over the world, networking with all the members of the group, providing career guidance to new members of the data community, and so many more.  But the most important thing, and a very personal thing, is it gave me the opportunity to overcome my fear of public speaking.   I guess it’s a “double edged sword” as my grandfather use to say.  It has given me so many opportunities that I now have very little time to devote to being a local group leader, but I never would have been given those opportunities if it weren’t for being a local group leader.

The new group leader will take over officially after the holidays on January 6, 2020.  His name is George Maxson (Twitter | Linked In), and most members know him already.  He has been coming to the meetings almost as long as I have.  I’ve watched George grow more comfortable over the years with the group and know that I leave it in good hands.

I will still be around and attending the meetings when my schedule permits.  Who knows, I may even speak!

It’s been a great ride.  Thank you.

I’m Speaking at #SQLSatDC

I am so excited to announce that I will be speaking at SQL Saturday DC on Saturday, December 14, 2019.  I am so honored to have been selected.

This is a really important Saturday for me, personally.  I have submitted for the last two years and have had to cancel both times.  First cancellation was due to my partner loosing his job the week before and last year because I tore the meniscus in my left knee four days before I was supposed to leave.  So, I understand what a huge leap of faith the organizers are putting in me by selecting one of my sessions this year.  To ensure everyone that I will not cancel this year, my partner is still out of work, but it’s not such a huge impact any more and I’m wrapping myself in bubble wrap every time I leave the house to prevent injury.

My Profiling Your Data session was selected.  I love delivering this session.  Such an important topic that is overlooked way too often. If you’re in the DC area on December 14th, stop by and say, “Hello”.  I’d love to chat.

I’m Speaking at SQL Saturday Oregon

I am honored to have been selected to speak at SQL Saturday Oregon this year. They always have so many sessions submitted with only 40 slots available. I was selected to speak last year, so to have been selected again is truly humbling .

My What is Power BI session was selected and I’m super excited to give this session again, I haven’t given it for a while.

If you’re in the Portland area on Saturday, November 2, 2019, stop and say, “Hello”, I’d love to see you and chat a bit.

Updated Data Profiling in Power BI Desktop

In this month’s (October 2019) release of Power BI Desktop, they have added a ton of cool stuff, you can read all about it via the Power BI Blog.  But what I’m most excited about is the love that was given to the Data Profiling feature.

The Data Profiling feature was first added to public preview just under a year ago in November 2018.  Then it went GA in May 2019 and just 5 months later, they’ve added more goodness.  That’s one of the great things about Power BI, the release cadence.  If you don’t like something or want more features, just wait a few months (or five in this case).

One of the big things that was lacking with the Data Profiling feature was the text length statistics.  This is a huge deal for me.  It’s one of the things that I’ve encounter most frequently, incorrectly sized string columns in data warehouses.  Well, the wait is over, text lengths are now available.  Unfortunately, it’s not intuitive on how to get them.

First, you will need to make sure that you have the Column profile check box checked in the View ribbon in the Power Query Editor window.

Now select a column of data type text so the Value distribution pane (at the bottom of the screen) shows the values of the column.  Then click on the little tiny ellipses (…) in the upper right hand corner of the Value Distribution pane.  Select Group By then Text length from the pop up menu.

Now you should have a nice histogram of your text length values.

This is much better than nothing, but I wish they would have included the Min and Max lengths in the Column statistics pane with all the other summary statistics because it has a nice little Copy menu (via the ellipses in the upper right hand corner) so you can easily send the data to someone in an email if needed.  They even formatted the output in a table!

Contents of Column Statistics Copy

Contents of Column Stats when pasted into Word

The Group by functionality isn’t just for text data types though.  You can use it for all data types.  I really like the groupings available for Date and Datetime data types, these will be super helpful.

Available Date groupings

Available Date groupings

Available Datetime groupings

Available Datetime groupings

Honestly I’m not trying to look a gift horse in the mouth, but we still need more when it comes to text lengths.  So I’ll just wait a few months and see what comes next.