Microsoft Certified Trainer. Yet again.

Microsoft Certified Trainer

Microsoft Certified Trainer. Forth year in a row. And the first time I am blogging about it. Why?

In the last few years my personal opinion on the value of the MCT certificate was, let’s say, mixed. It was strange for me how one can become MCT(yes, anyone could have became MCT if he pays a fee!?). It was also strange to me that the training materials that Microsoft was providing to the MCTs (at least to the SQL Server trainers) were with really poor quality, sometimes even full of errors! What’s more, I seriously doubted the overall value of the certification – there was almost nothing that you, as an MCT, get from that program which is somehow… not fair. Now, for first time since 3 – 4 years, I feel like this certification is something one should again be proud of. It’s again something that is worth mentioning when you say what you do and who you are (and that’s not because the fee was raised dramatically). Microsoft has strengthened the requirements for one to become MCT and they actually started requiring things like training experience(kinda important, right?) + feedback from the students to be higher than X. In return they provide MSDN and Office 365 subscription(+ some other cool things), but again – that’s a step in the right direction and I am really happy to finally see it because training, teaching and education in general are really, really important things and I want to see only capable people involved there.

As of me, I have already delivered my first course for 2015 (LINK) and I have 6 more (yes, 6) already arranged and booked till the end of May! So, I am busy, but with a smile on my face and already looking forward to meeting so many new people.

MCTs, wishing you a successful year and a I hope you will be having an amazing time with your students!

Another Group of DBAs Trained


Last Saturday the 4rd group of DBA students (and 5th group just from New Bulgarian University) completed their 40-hour DBA training. I have to say(once again) that I am extremely proud of the group! Their motivation for learning(during some of the days we were working for more than 7 hours – they were just not going home…) was almost second to none. Those guys are all actually database professionals – some of them are system engineers who also work with SQL Server, some of them are reporting specialists and some of them are doing both Oracle and SQL Server on a day-to-day basis. It’s always a fun experience for me as trainer to have such a wide variety of skills because it’s not only them that learn a lot. I do too! So huge congratulations to them for taking the course. I feel privileged that I was their trainer and what’s more I am happy that I made them join our SQL community in Bulgaria. That’s 5 more seriously knowledgable people who are going to participate in the user group meetings, come to events and probably decide to speak at some one day! So much great things, huh? :)

Speaking at
MVP Open Days 2015

MVP Open Days 2015 CEEFirst of all, I have to say that being a Microsoft MVP is a huge honour! Since I got this award last year, many things changed for me for the better and so that’s one more reason why I am really looking forward to 1st of April when Microsoft will announce whether or not I will continue to be part of that elite group of people for one more year(so everyone wish me luck!). In the mean time, however, the MVPs from our region(CEE – Central and Eastern Europe) will gather in wonderful Belgrade on 29th and 30rd of March for a 2 day conference and I am really pleased to say that I will be one of the speakers of the event! What I am going to talk about is one of my favourite topics – Presentation Skills and the title of my session is “Deliver Better Presentations. The Next Level!”. In the 50 minute slot that the conference organisers are giving every speaker, I will simply share my algorithm of how to create and deliver presentations/talks/sessions (whatever you wanna call it) in a way that the audience just does not have any other option, but to rate your session as the best one. I am really looking forward to this event already! The bar is raised high, but I have some serious experience in delivering amazing talks, so I would love to share some of the things I know with the other MVP folks!

See you there and I am sure we will all have great time!

Speaking at SoftUni Conf

SoftUni-Conf-MugSoftUni Conf. A conference held in Bulgaria. A conference that’s not organized by Microsoft. A conference that is not organized by any other huge company or corporation. However, a conference that gathers really important group of people together – the people who are going to rule the IT industry in the upcoming years – the students of Software University. I am extremely honored to be able to join that conference as a speaker and I am already looking forward to meet, chat and have fun with those guys this time not for 4 hours though, but for a whole weekend!

Concurrency Control Lecture at SoftUni

Just one day. That’s how much time the students of Software University had between the two lectures I delivered for them. During the second one, we talked about transactions. We again had 4 hours in front of us, so we started with the basics, but ended in the world of isolation levels and update conflicts. We also touched on what problems come when using locks and of course they know now what ACID means(because I told them they are going to be asked on their interviews about this!). As last time – here is the video, screen capture and slide deck. Almost everything is again in Bulgarian though.

Performance Tuning Lecture at SoftUni

I recently blogged about me delivering 2 lectures as part of the course on databases at Software University in Sofia. Both of them are now in the past and what can I say – it was great! In my first “visit”, I spent 4 hours with the students and we discussed a lot of things that they need to know in order to make their applications work fast. We started from the hardware(even though they are preparing to become developers) and moved towards instance configurations, database design techniques and finally – queries and execution plans. There were tons of questions and I really believe we all had great time. The materials – video, screen capture and slides are below. However, most of those are in Bulgarian ;)

Speaking at SQLSaturday #376, Budapest

SQLSaturday_Budapst_376I am trilled to share that on 18th of April I “will be back” to one of the biggest SQLSaturday events in Europe – the one in Budapest! Last year the event was crazy successful – more than 500+ people showed up and think about it – when you have so many people + great speakers, sponsors and organizers – the show is guaranteed! Frankly, I expect nothing, but the same if not even more from this years’ event, so I am already looking forward to it!

Hope to see you all there!

Webinar for PASS Profesional Development Chapter


On 11th of March at 17:00 CET I will be delivering a webinar for the PASS Professional Development Chapter. I will be speaking about the topic of design and more importantly what every speaker (or someone who wants to be such) needs to know when he/she is preparing his slides. My personal opinion is that this part of the preparation of a presentation is many times underestimated and I cannot understand why!? I agree that content is important, but how you will deliver it is also something that plays a huge role in the “overall game”. Register here for the webinar, book your calendar and see you in March!

SQLHangout #33 Testing Database Code

What a great number and what a great hangout once again! Alessandro Alpi(t|b), a friend of mine from Italy, joined me to talk about testing database code with tSQLt. As you will learn from him tSQLt has a lot of advantages over other tools like Visual Studio for example, especially when we talk about testing code. Alessandro, who is MVP for 8 year now, also shared his experience with a tool that’s called with the interesting name SQLCop and I believe that after watching this video, you will not only be assured that testing your code is important, but you will also know where to start from! So enjoy watching and have fun!

SQLHangout #32 Storage and SQL Server

SQLHangout 32 comes to you and it’s with a special guest – Argenis Fernandez(t|b) or as you may already know him – @DBArgenis! We have been planning this hangout for at least 2 months, so I am really happy it finally became true. What we talked about is simply storage. A topic that is crucial if you are looking forward to having a SQL Server that is performing well. Learn from the SQL Server Certified Master about what’s coming up in the storage world(and what storage he is using), why you need to know more about system administration and Windows Server in particular and what are the specifics of SQL Server when we talk about storage configurations and requirements. By the way, do you know what shortstroking is? You guessed it right – that’s one more thing you will learn about. Enjoy!

T-SQL Tuesday #63
How do you manage security?


Security – a topic that is even more dear to us in the last few months after witnessing so many major flaws with huge, huge organizations. There are quite some things that worried and continue to worry me when we talk about securing data in SQL Server, but one of them really stands out in my mind. Let me tell you which one. Read More

Teaching Databases at SoftUni

softuni-bulgariaSome months ago I delivered a 3-hour seminar for the students at SoftUni. Back then we talked about their first steps with SQL Server and we covered the basics – how to set up an instance, configure the security, create the databases they need and connect their application to that. Now, however, it’s time for the students to pass a whole course on databases and I am happy to “announce” that I will join the trainers team that is lead by the founder of the university – Svetlin Nakov(t|b). I will cover just two of the topics during the course – the one on performance tuning and the one on concurrency – really important topics as some of you know. The course will start on the 2nd of February and I am already looking forward to seeing the students! Stay tuned as more interesting information is coming up really soon…

Update: Here is a short interview with me from the opening day of the course. It’s in Bulgarian though!

SQLHangout #31 Optimizing PowerPivot and Tabular

Number 31 is here and yes, it was a great one(just wanted to say it from the start!)! I was joined by a friend of mine – Johan Brattås(t|b) who I met in Oslo last year at their fantastic SQLSaturday event! What we discussed and what you can learn from Johan, who has some serious experience in the Business Intelligence area, is how you can actually make your PowerPivot workbook or Tabular model faster. He shared some really practical advices on how to dramatically speed your BI solution, but didn’t stop there because I actually asked him about QlikView and Tableau too! Enjoy watching and I hope you will find that useful….

And yes, don’t forget for the webinar which Johan will deliver in February! He will talk about Azure, Tabular and PowerBI, so watch out for an invitation from PASS soon!

SQLHangout #30 Being a DBA in Healthcare: The Specifics

SQLHangout 30! A special number and some amazing content for you to watch! This time I was joined by a friend of mine – Enrico van de Laar(t|b) who works as a DBA for the healthcare industry and yeah, you guessed it right – it’s different to work for such customers. What we discussed and what I believe will be of extreme interest to you are the specifics of the healthcare business and what we as DBAs have to know, understand and be prepared for if we are for one reason or another going to work for such clients. Watch Enrico sharing really interesting things from his day-to-day work which will also prove you how far ahead is Netherlands in delivering quality healthcare services to its citizens! Enjoy!

Speaking at SQLBits XIV, Superheroes, London



SQLBits. Probably one of the most well-known and anticipated SQL Server events during the year. I am extremely pleased to share with you that I was selected to be one of the speakers of the conference which is going to be held in London between 4rd and 7th of March. I am going to do a partially new session for me – Deep Dive into Isolation Levels – and am I definitely already looking forward to it. Wish me good luck or even better – come and join the conference(it’s in London at the end of the day)! You will have amazing time and you will see, chat and learn from the best speakers in the SQL Server world. It’s worth at least thinking about it, right?

Hope to see you all there!

T-SQL Tuesday #62
Healthy SQLs in 2015


Here we are in 2015 and the T-SQL Tuesday cannot start in a better way than this. The question, this time coming from Robert Pearl(t|b), is what each one of us will do to improve our SQL environments in 2015 and I have to say – that’s a really great question and something to write about especially for me – a person who changed roles last October.

Read More

SQLHangout #29
Security Issues From the Field

SQLHangout 29 is here and this time I was joined by someone who you may already know from articles on SQLServercentral – Kenneth Fisher(t|b). We talked about issues that we have seen in securing data inside SQL Server, so expect to hear some real-world cases that we both faced and how we approached them. Kenneth also shared some great tips on how you can improve your security and the fact that he actually written two really nice scripts to help you understand your security configuration – you can find those here and here. Enjoy watching and let us what you think in the comments!

SQLHangout #28 From DBA to Consultant?

Welcome to the first SQLHangout of 2015! By no mistake is this one the first one though! What you are going to hear from Matan Yungman(b|t) and William Durkin(b|t), 2 friends of mine that have both been already twice at the SQLHangouts, is their experience(OK, mine too…) of the career move they did some months ago – from DBAs to Consultants. What you will learn is what you should expect and what will actually change for you if you decide to switch to a consulting job and what are the differences between being a DBA or a developer and being a consultant. Enjoy watching and I hope you’ll find this useful!

Speaking at SQLSaturday #374, Vienna


I am extremely pleased to share with you that I am yet again going to speak at the local SQLSaturday event in Vienna. Baring in mind how great the last year’s event was and the fact that the audience there rated one of my sessions as the best one at the event, I am really looking forward to 28th of February, 2015! I am going to speak about what I consider 5 great T-SQL improvements and I really believe that this session will be of great help to the community there! I am also bringing some Pluralsight presents, so… see you soon!

Update: Once again the organisers of the event in Vienna delivered! Even though I was actively participating in the event during just half of the time (after the lunch was served), I continue to believe that the audience there is simply amazing. Everyone is just so open for communicating and learning, it’s just fantastic! My session went also great – I had full room of people with some of them even standing, but I think the folks learned quite some things about the 2014 release. Below is the slide deck and here are all of the scripts that I used!

Huge thanks to the organizers again who helped me find a place to sleep for some hours before my presentation(it’s a long story why I haven’t slept during the previous night) and thanks to all who attended and sponsored the event. I am already looking forward for SQLSaturday Vienna 2016!

2014 by the numbers…



Here is what I will remember it with…

  • Spoke at 10 countries
  • Spoke at 4 local events
  • Recorded 2 courses for Pluralsight
  • Recorded 17 more SQLHangouts with SQL experts from all around the world
  • Delivered 2 webcasts
  • Participated in 1 podcast
  • Delivered 3 in-house courses
  • Was awarded with 3 prizes – MVP, MCSE: Business Intelligence and MCT
  • Rated twice as best speaker and once as the second best
  • Participated in my first MVP Summit in Seattle
  • Infinite number of work hours were spent at the blog(especially for the redesign)
  • More than 12 000 people from 111 countries visited it
  • 70 new blog posts
  • 1 change of my job and company
  • 1 new partnership – with ApexSQL
  • Completed my first BI project
  • Completed 2 huge sport events – LegionRun and Sofia’s ½ marathon race
  • Lost 6 more kg.
  • Traveled to 3 countries with my girlfriend
  • A lot more…

So that’s it about 2014. Now let’s see 2015. Huge things coming on my end, so wishing you all the best and have a great, great year!