Microsoft Professional Program – Data Science

Last year, from oktober 2016 up to january 2017, I participated in Microsoft’s Professional Program, specifically the Data Science track.
It was only the 1st public iteration of the program but back then it already felt like a mature course.
This probably had to do with the fact that there had already been a private run of the course in the months before.
David Eldersveld (twitter | blog) was one of the participants in that original run and he gives you a high level overview on his blog.

In this post I’ll be going into a bit more detail and explain how I experienced the program.
In short, there was joy and there were tears.

Read on for the full story!

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I’m attending and presenting at… ALL THE EVENTS!

This year I’ve already presented at more events than I dreamt off at the start of the year (5).
And the invites keep coming in! (5 more!)
This is going to be a long read, a punishment from me to me because I slacked off in blogging in the past months.

So apart from being bored, there’s 2 reasons why you would want to read this post.
1) Interest in, but some fear of, attending and presenting at conferences, user group and community events in general.
2) You’re me from the future and you’re wondering about that amazement and the exciting feeling the young Jan had about these first events. You’re wondering about what fears you overcame and you want to look back at how it all started.

Expect to find the following:

  • UK Power BI Summit (2017/02/17)
  • Denver SQL Server User Group (2017/03/17)
  • Battle of the Beards (2017/03/29)
  • SQL Saturday Israel (2017/04/26)
  • Belgian Information Worked User Group (2017/05/09)
  • in short: 5 more events to find me at before the end of june!

So whichever reason you have, come on in and start reading!

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Rubbing DevOps on your Database

DLM Lifecycle

I’ve had quite a busy year and one of the things I’ve done was attend a 3 day Database Lifecycle Management (DLM) training.
If you’re into DevOps, Continuous Integration (CI) , Continuous Delivery or Deployment (CD) or you’re just automating as much as possible, then it’s very likely you’ll run into some challenges regarding your databases.

For most people, overcoming these challenges cost a lot of time.
But even before you can spend a lot of time overcoming your challenges, you’ll notice that there are a ton of tools out there that can help you.
So you’ll first have to pick the tools you’re going to use and then you need to learn how to use them.

This brings us back to the training I got to attend thanks to my employer Ordina.
More specifically, they were 3 workshops lead by Alex Yates (blog | twitter) from DLM Consultants (website | twitter).
In total they covered the 3 different main parts of the Database Lifecycle Management process.

  • Database Source Control
  • Database Continuous Integration
  • Database Release Management

Read on for my experience with these full-day online workshops.

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Presenting a webinar, not the same as a conference

Last saturday Back in January, I presented my first webinar for the Global Power BI usergroup.
It was a redelivery of the Personal BI to Personal Data Science session I’ve already given twice together with my colleague Kimberly Hermans (twitter).
Although there was no real negative feedback and even some positive feedback in private, I don’t think I did great.

I approached the webinar the same way as I do a regular presentation.
And boy oh boy, was I wrong to do it this way…

There’s all kinds of different and extra things to take into account compared to an in-person conference or usergroup presentation.

  • The software you’re using
    We used Google+ Hangouts and while I tried it out before the webinar, I didn’t prepare how I would be taking questions. That could’ve gone a lot better.
  • The microphone you use
    The microphone I used was the one that came with my phone. The quality wasn’t the best, especially combined with the room I was in.
  • The room you’re in
    Using a cheap microphone tends to be OK. But in the wrong room you’ll get a lot of echo or environment noise.
  • No or very limited interaction with your audience
    This one struck me the worst. I couldn’t interact with or read the audience which made me unusually nervous.

On top of that, because of conflicting schedules I had to present alone this time.
I thought I would be OK as I knew most of the data science stuff on a basic level.
But it also means that all the interaction and the dynamic that previously existed in the presentation was gone. No jokes, no natural tempo changes, no interaction between presenters.
In my opinion this was the main killer of the webinar.

What’s next?

UserGroup

The Virtual Global Power BI User Group is still organising monthly webinars. You can join or present yourself as well.
Or just participate in the usergroup via different channels like TwitterFacebook, LinkedIn and our YouTube channel.

Personal

I’m embarking on a new webinar journey as well.
More news will follow soon.

 

Data science with Microsoft – Training materials

Today I’ll be guiding you through the, sometimes very busy, world of Microsoft training material.
We’ll put the focus on the training material for data science.

Expect everything you need to become fluent with Microsoft’s Data science solutions.

  • Free training courses with certificates
  • Free webinars & recordings of live sessions
  • Free (e-)books
  • Documentation & Learning Paths
  • Microsoft Virtual Academy

Read on for the good stuff!

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Power BI 2.0 – Day 2: Power BI Desktop and our first dashboards

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Power BI: Zero to hero

Power BI Logo

Power BI: Zero to Hero series
Day 2: Power BI Desktop and our first dashboards

Today we’ll take a look at the new Power BI Desktop application and we’ll create our first (or 3 first) simple dashboard(s).
We’ll be using different data sources like Excel, an OData feed and even a web page!


In this blog series, together we’ll go from beginner to expert in Power BI as fast as humanly possible.
On our path, we’ll use Microsoft and non-Microsoft resources and we’ll try to explore what Power BI can add to an enterprise BI stack.

We’ll be using datasets like the old AdventureWorks database and any useful databases we can get from opendata initiatives.
But we’ll also explore the new data source possibilities included with Power BI.
These include web pages, OData feeds, On-Premise Tabular models and much more.

Read on to get started!

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Power BI 2.0 – Day 1: Introduction

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Power BI: Zero to hero

Power BI Logo

Power BI: Zero to Hero series
Day 1: introduction

Today we’ll look at what Power BI was, is and can be thanks to users everywhere.


In this blog series, together we’ll go from beginner to expert in Power BI as fast as humanly possible.
On our path, we’ll use Microsoft and non-Microsoft resources and we’ll try to explore what Power BI can add to an enterprise BI stack.

We’ll be using datasets like the old AdventureWorks database and any useful databases we can get from opendata initiatives.
But we’ll also explore the new data source possibilities included with Power BI.
These include web pages, OData feeds, On-Premise Tabular models and much more.

This series will be split into “days”. With each day representing a bitesize and mostly self-contained “module”.
You can either go through all the content at once or pace it 1 day at a time.
As busy as everyone is these days, it is my suggestion to go through each “day” during a lunch, a quiet evening or even in a short group session at work.

This way, together we’ll go step by step through the desktop application and the web service.
Along the way we’ll learn to work with Power BI and discover in which way, different parts can be fitted into an existing Enterprise Business Intelligence solution.

Read on to get started!


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Microsoft Virtual Academy – Rock your skills!

MVA - Know it. Prove it.
MVA – Know it. Prove it.

If you’re not already familiar with the Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) then this is a great opportunity to get familiar with this incredible resource!

Best of all is, any courses you already completed on MVA will count towards this challenge! 🙂

Personally I will be following the SharePoint track out of curiosity.
It will take me less than an hour every day, so it is very manageable.
These are the covered topics, well worth the time as you can see!

  • Manage SharePoint Online Documents and Lists
  • Support Corner: Configure SharePoint Outbound Hybrid Search
  • Office Guides: SharePoint Online Overview for IT Pros
  • Office Guides: Apps for Office and SharePoint
  • Tuning SQL Server 2012 for SharePoint 2013 Jump Start
  • Developing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 Core Solutions
  • Developing SharePoint Server Advanced Solutions Jump Start

MVA – The good

MVA basically is the free Microsoft version of Pluralsight/CBT Nuggets/Udemy/..
If you’re looking to learn a new skill, get a deeper understanding or even get certified in a Microsoft technology, this is the place to be!

MVA – The not so good

I’ve found that not all courses contain the content you expect them to contain. Especially not if you want to get certified.
To offset this you should learn to visit (and love) Technet often.

Technet, love it!

A great example of Technet usage is the Books Online feature.
Want to get familiar with SQL Server Data Quality Services (DQS) data cleansing? You got it!
Just looking for an overview of what you can learn about SQL Server? Sure, that’s possible!

 

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