Meeting the Community at SQLBits 2022

Date: Monday, March 21, 2022

Meeting the Community at SQLBits 2022

In a previous life as a PhD student, I spent a lot of time making what were effectively tiny little TV screens with a single pixel. It was a very fiddly job - one of the very first things I had to learn was how to put the glue down so I didn’t end up with a gluey, completely unusable sample. Yet, the method wasn’t written down in any textbooks or papers. It was something all the students learned, but could only learn from another person.

While I’ve been lucky enough to learn an awful lot of this kind of knowledge from my colleagues at Village, visiting the data conference SQLBits opened up the chance to share knowledge with people from all over the world.

The conference was down in London, at the Excel centre right next to the docks.

The organisers of SQLBits (who are nearly all volunteers) made a real effort to help build the community, making things inclusive and welcoming to newcomers and people travelling on their own like myself. There were a few people who in particular made extra effort for me, if any of you are reading this, you know who you are and thank you.

The first two days of the conference were full training days. I had one day on communication skills presented by Blythe Morrow and Catherine Brown, which really made me think about some of the less technical but important parts of the job. The second training day was a workshop on query tuning by Erik Darling. Not only did I learn an awful lot about how the SQL query optimiser thinks and how to work with it, but made the talk really entertaining.

The main conference kicked off with a board games night, then the next day a very busy day of many different seminars and discussion groups – it’d be difficult to choose between them. Needless to say I met many people in the SQL community who I’ve been looking up to for some time and never expected to meet in person – as well as many other knowledgeable and encouraging people.

Even despite all the amazing skills I learned and polished during my visit, the main thing is it reminded me of the importance of community. I’d encourage anyone else interested in data to find their local community and get involved.


Selection of Data Meetups

Merseyside Data & Analytics

Manchester Data Platform

London Power BI User Group

SQLBits Annual Data Conference



Header image by Robert Pittman, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0

Helen Macaskill

After completing her PhD degree in Physics Helen has moved more deeply into the data world. She is applying the technical skills for data management and the sharp thinking to find solutions. She is heavily engaged on the ETL and data management parts of peoples work.

Read more posts by Helen Macaskill