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Who’s Attending Your SQL Saturdays?


At SQL Saturday #57 in Houston I sat in on Geoff Hiten’s [blog/twitter] “Bad SQL” session, which I had missed while at the Tampa event, and had heard it was a great presentation.  (Sorry Geoff, this post isn’t about your session, although it was really good, I learned a lot).  At the beginning of his talk, which I’ve seen many other presenters do, Geoff took a hand count of who was in the audience, DBAs versus Developers versus Something Else (that would be the one I fall into). More than half of the room was developers and only a handful actual DBAs.  I knew that in Pensacola our experience has been along these same lines, both at our SQL Saturday events and our user group meetings, but I was surprised to see that a city the size of Houston seemed to show the same demographics in the audience.  This really peeked my curiosity about what the numbers must be like globally.

When I returned back to Orlando, I logged into the SQL Saturday admin site, in hopes that there was a report I could pull to see just what the percentages were for attendance at the two Pensacola events. No such luck. Wrote to PASS HQ, asked if they happen to have a report handy, or better yet, were they already collecting these stats, and would be so kind to share those results.  Again, unfortunately they did not.  So, had to do some manual calculating, luckily in a spreadsheet it is easy to do, just a bit time consuming.  (and yes, I put in a wish item to change the website to have checkboxes for job titles, so that a report could be produced neatly off the results, but certainly didn’t want to wait on that to get analyzing this data).  With what I did have access to, here are the results of the two Pensacola events combined:

  • 25% – Developers
  • 23% – DBAs
  • 16% – Analysts
  • 11% – IT Help Desk/Support
  • 10% – Other (teachers, students, unemployed, just to give you a general idea)
  • 8% – Administrators
  • 7% – CEO/CFO/MGMT

Now really this doesn’t surprise me, like I said, our user group meetings in Pensacola pretty much mirror these same results.  And based on who is signed up so far for Hawaii SQL Sat, those numbers are already showing a much higher figure for developers.  So why is this?  Why are so many developers attending SQL Saturdays?  My extremely humble opinion is that more and more companies are not affording true DBAs, hince the “accidental” DBAs, which I know for many companies this is the case.  Developers are handling their own backup/restores, indexing, performance issues, etc (this is actually the case with the software development company where I work).  Which leads me to another question, being I’m so involved with sponsorships for many events and user groups, why aren’t more developer tool vendors sponsoring SQL Saturdays?  Seems to me the SQL Saturdays are pulling in just the right amount of crossover for them.

So as this post is titled, who is attending your SQL Saturdays?  I’d really love it if you’d post some of your results here or blog about it, so we can compare, especially the larger cities versus the smaller ones. Is there a difference?  Would love to hear your thoughts on why you think more developers than DBAs are attending SQL Saturdays.  I think the numbers will surprise a lot of you, not to mention, might help pull in more .NET tool vendors to sponsor SQL Saturdays!  YES, I am ALWAYS wearing my marketing hat!  You are SQL gurus, I am the community marketing guru backing all of you up…yes, cheesy pun not accidental.

From → SQLSaturday

  1. Check out for the numbers from
    SQLSaturday #35, SQLSaturday #56 and SQLSaturday #63

  2. Joe Flemin permalink

    I don’t know of any company where developers don’t out number DBAs. I participate in an outreach at my company where the DBAs offer training and guidance to certain SQL experts on the dev teams. As part of this, I send out links to all of the DBA and Performance VC meetings, as well as SQL saturdays. Dev mgrs might not want to pay for SQL training, but they will certainly send their people to get FREE training on various aspects of the technology. I suspect some of this is what you are seeing as well.

    I have no doubt you are right there are a lot of DBA/Developers out there who are overburdened, as I have seen that, too. I just think there are probably more driving forces behind the numbers than just that one. Of course, I love the idea of more sponsors…we can always use more sponsors.

    • Thanks for your comments, which supports exactly my point on why aren’t more dev tool vendors sponsoring these, not INSTEAD of Code Camps, but in ADDITION to them. Not trying to take anything away from Code Camps, I love them just as much as SQLSats (heck in a few ways, I love some of the cc’s more…that’s another subject though that I find myself in debates over). I think in part it is the name SQL Saturday, having the tag of SQL instantly makes these vendors think it is not for their clientele that they cater to, but if they would do a little research, even as little as just read the agenda, they’d see that many have tracks that aren’t just SQL. As far as them knowing that more dev than dba go to these, that is purely up to the organizers to educate them when approaching them for sponsorship. Maybe we should be including in the sponsorship plans some of these stats being posted, that might help to convince them and at least give it a try.

      Anyway, thanks again.

  3. Great Blog Karla! It is really awesome to see that we hit such a diverse crowd!

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