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Why I’m a Business Intelligence Consultant (T-SQL Tuesday #111)

T-SQL Tuesday #111: Why I'm a Business Intelligence Consultant

This month’s T-SQL Tuesday is hosted by Andy Leonard (@AndyLeonard). Andy wants to know what is our “why”, or why we do what we do. Before I can answer the why, I will briefly explain the what :) I work as a Business Intelligence consultant, focusing on Data Warehousing, Data Integration, and Data Visualization.

The short answer to “why?” is because the work is both challenging and rewarding. As a Business Intelligence consultant, I get to use all my skills from programming to design. I get to satisfy my instinctive need to group, organize, and sort things when working with data. Then I get to make things shiny and pretty. Finally, I get to work with other people, learn about their industries, and help them do their jobs better.

The long answer is… longer :) I absolutely love my job now, but I ended up in the world of data completely accidentally. I’ve gone from Web Development to Graphic Design to Interactive Design to Java Programming to SharePoint Development to Data Warehouse Architecture to Community Evangelizing… And now I’m here :) (Phew!) So why am I a Business Intelligence consultant?

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2019 Life and Priority Tweaks

New year, new beginnings, new you, isn’t that what they usually say? For me, it’s more like pressing play after having paused everything during my Christmas break. I’m continuing my smaller life and priority tweaks instead of making big changes and resolutions :) But it is a new year. It’s going to be different than the last one. And the ones before that. (Like every year, really. Funny how that works.)

I don’t often write personal posts, but these life and priority tweaks might affect how active I will be in our community this year, so I felt like writing a little bit about why.

Life and Priority Tweaks - A Winter Sunrise

Oh, who am I trying to trick? I’m really only writing this so I could show off this picture of a pretty winter sunrise, taken from my parents’ house during Christmas :D

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Collecting Geeky Norwegian Humor (T-SQL Tuesday #99)

T-SQL Tuesday #99: Collecting Absurd Norwegian HumorT-SQL Tuesday #99 is hosted by Aaron Bertrand (@AaronBertrand) and the topic is Dealer’s Choice. What does that mean? Aaron wanted us to choose between two topics: write about something we are passionate about outside the SQL Server community, or write about T-SQL bad habits and best practices. I’m too afraid to argue with Aaron about T-SQL, so I chose the first option ;)

But what did I want to write about? Truth be told, I’m pretty boring. I don’t have any real hobbies outside of tech, just a few interests. I first considered writing about hiking. I need to disconnect completely once in a while, and my favorite way of doing that is to get sweaty while walking for hours up a mountain or waterfall. My Instagram (@cathrinesqueee) is my highlight reel, full of pictures and happy memories from my trips.

Some of my favorite hiking memories are: descending into Thrihnukagigur Volcano, eating lunch on top of the Rocky Mountains, relaxing at the Alluvial Fan, exploring the Garden of the Gods, climbing Seven Falls, overlooking the Norwegian fjords, driving across the never-ending Jotunheimen mountains, watching the fog roll in over Trollstigen, hiking Dinosaur Ridge, crossing the Capilano Suspension Bridge, taking a break on Mount Falcon, visiting the Loveland Pass, and gazing at presidents at Mount Rushmore.

Mads Eriksen MHowever, instead of embedding all the pictures that are already on Instagram, I decided to write about something completely different. Something obscure. Something fun and geeky from way before I got involved in the SQL Server community. Something from my good old teenage fangirling days…

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Dealing with Disappointment and Learning from Failures

I have written posts in the past about how to deal with technical failures as a speaker: Be prepared. Have backups of your files. Take screenshots or videos of your demos. Rehearse presenting your session with and without your slide deck. I have made plenty of I-wasn’t-prepared-for-that mistakes in the past, and I learned from them.

Last weekend was different. I was supposed to do a precon and a session at SQLSaturday Nashville. I didn’t experience any technical failures. I experienced what felt very much like personal failures.

On Friday, our precon got canceled due to weather.

On Saturday, no one showed up to my session.

I had not prepared for either of those things to happen, and I definitely had not prepared for both of those things to happen on the same weekend. I went through a whole range of emotions in a short amount of time, from embarrassment to disappointment to amusement.

Since then, I have debated with myself about whether or not to write this blog post. I have written and re-written it several times. I did not want to write a blog post full of whining and complaining, but I did want to share my experience as a reminder to both myself and others that:

  • These things happen. It’s ok to feel disappointed, but don’t let it stop you from trying again.
  • There is always something positive to take away from a negative experience.
  • Life is full of ups and downs. Social media (especially my own) often focus on the ups, but life is not amazing all the time.

If you only needed a few reminders, feel free to stop reading here :) The rest of the post is quite long and a little more like a journal entry, really.

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My Learning Goals for 2018 (T-SQL Tuesday #97)

T-SQL Tuesday #97 - Setting Learning Goals for 2018T-SQL Tuesday #97 is hosted by Mala Mahadevan (@sqlmal), and the topic is Setting Learning Goals for 2018. Mala wants to know what we want to learn, how and when we want to learn, and how we plan to improve on what we have learned.

It’s always hard to predict what I need to learn in an upcoming year, but 2018 is particularly difficult to predict. Why? Because at the time I’m writing this, I currently don’t have a job :) I finished my previous job last week, and I’m taking the rest of December off. Then in January, a new adventure awaits. I just don’t know what yet! So in this post, I’ll focus on some wants instead. I have picked three main goals: one technical, one personal, and one professional.

I will revisit this post next December and see how things turned out. It will be interesting! :)

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