Category Archives: Editorial

Transact-SQL PIVOT & UNPIVOT redux

That was awesome!! The presentation went well, although it did go 2 minutes over. It’s hard to top the feeling you get when the audience is engaged and asking a lot of great questions.

I’m glad I went with PIVOT & UNPIVOT as my first presentation. By pure luck, a couple of people in the audience had just used PIVOT to solve a reporting problem with it and some others learned about it for the first time. Better yet, at least one of them will be using PIVOT right away in their own work to get rid of the CASE nest that you get if you don’t use these clauses.

Thank you SD SQL PASS chapter and especially all of you who came out on a work night to listen to me go on for 15 17 minutes. It’s ok, we all know you really showed up for the PowerPivot demo. Great job Lakshmi.

As promised, the slide deck and scripts are also available.

What have you taught lately?

Microsoft SQL Server has been the basis of a lot of success in my career and I was trying to figure out how that came to be. Without going off on a tangent that would cover many years, it all boils down to one thing: people. I have attained the technical success I’ve had thanks to the community of very dedicated people who share their knowledge of SQL Server.

I’m not going to create a list of those people because it would be too long. Besides, they’re not in it for the credit. That brings me to the blog you’re visiting right now. This is my version of “paying it forward”.

About a year ago, I looked around at the landscape of my career and noticed that I have attained a certain degree of familiarity and understanding with this product, a quite useful database platform.

It was at that time that I began to share what I know. And, boy, what an educational experience that is!! Learning by teaching is even more effective than I ever expected. The preparation needed to field a wide range of questions from an audience is not to be underestimated. Now, what I have been doing has an audience of 8 on average and they are fellow employees. Also, I’m not spending 30 hours a week preparing for these weekly, hour-long presentations (3-4 hours per week on my own time is more typical).

A year later (and wiser) and it still doesn’t feel like enough. Not that I’m devaluing what I’ve already done, but what I have received is so much more than what I’ve given back. So, I made it a point to become more active in this community.

At first, it was as a participant. Join PASS, go to a couple SQL Saturdays, find the local user group, and so on. Now that I’ve done those things, I feel comfortable enough to put myself out there even further.

So, here I am on the eve of my first presentation. It’s going to be a 15-minute description of PIVOT & UNPIVOT in T-SQL in front of the local user group.  But what is significant is not the topic nor the audience size. Rather, it is the exciting next step in what I expect to be a fantastic voyage.

It took me a while to work up the nerve to get to this point, but I am very glad I’ve done it. Therefore, for your own benefit, I ask: What [subject] have you taught lately?