Learning SQL Server is painful.

Blogs are free, but they’re bite-sized. They’re great when you’ve only got a few minutes, and you wanna learn a single small thing. But they’re not organized in any kind of flow at all – you’re jumping around all over the place, learning random small things. You’re not really mastering a topic start to finish.

“Wait – there’s no pictures in this book.”

Books get outdated, fast. With SQL Server’s frantic release schedule, and the rapid evolution of tools like the First Responder Kit, Query Store, PowerShell, and even features introduced in Cumulative Updates, books just don’t cut it anymore.

The information isn’t useful. Sure, it’s interesting to know internals or log file formats, but how can you make a real, meaningful difference in your SQL Server? Most training classes aren’t focused on the job you actually have to do every day – they’re about passing a meaningless certification that isn’t related to your day-to-day work.

Local classes aren’t taught by experts. They’re “certified instructors,” which means they just read someone else’s material out of a book. They’ve never actually done the job in real life. When you ask them a probing question about the material, they look around to the other students to see if anybody else knows the answer.

Out-of-town classes are really expensive. There’s airfare, hotels, and meals. Often, the locations aren’t even fun – they’re some airport hotel somewhere with bad beds.

The timing is terrible. You plan months in advance, but then production emergencies pop up during class. Or sometimes a student raises their hand, asks a lot of level-100 questions showing that they’re wildly unqualified for the course, and you lose patience with the slow pace. You step away, and next thing you know, you’re totally lost yourself! You want to be able to jump in & out of the class, plus revisit your material all year long.

It’s not even relevant to your own server. You can learn all kinds of topics, but how do you know what’s relevant to your own server’s indexes, queries, and wait stats? You really want a super-qualified instructor to look at your server’s data and give you personal advice.

Video training isn’t for everyone. Some people prefer to learn with hands-on labs, and even better, labs on their own servers, tying the concepts back to things that matter.

Let’s mix things up with a new way to learn SQL Server.

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45 Comments. Leave new

  • This might be exactly what I have been looking for. Thank you!

  • Very Interesting!

  • Wow this sounds revolutionary!!!
    What could it be?
    A hotline?
    Mini classes on demand or frequently scheduled?
    Mind control?
    AI has taken over brentozar??!!!
    Stay tuned!

  • Brent Clones!

  • I am getting excited! I visit these pages daily. Would love an easier way to learn and also teach others to make my job less stressful.

  • Definitely looking forward to this topic!

  • I have been struggling to learn the SQL in a way I can get some confidence and start writing my own code instead of always looking for scripts that people have written. I so want to contribute as well. 🙁

  • You tease!

  • Looking forward to it!

  • Awesome! Long time coming, sounds something like Stormwind campus. Hope to see training in terms of time tested disciplines – sports, dance, martial, etc. Not about memorizing actions, click here, copy-paste there, run this report, use get out of jail free card. Techniques and tools to get on a daily training regime to become a master with deep understanding.

  • Marcius Marques
    October 24, 2017 11:57 am

    Matrix style! “I know SQL…” “Show me…”

  • This is exactly my pain point..just like anyone else. Waiting for your announcement…!!

  • Sound Great

  • SELECT announcement FROM [dbo].[brentozar] WHERE announcementdate >= ’10/30/2017′

    Dang That didn’t work .. Guess I’ll have to wait until next week!

  • ahhh unqualified instructors. Years ago I went to a class (not SQL) where the instructor talked about his previous job as an airline cabin steward. When, in discussion, stack overflow came up, he knew it was bad but had no understanding of what it actually was.

    probably the worst class ever.

  • SQL Yoda!

  • What a a tease!

  • thanks for the compassionate statement. Looking forward to it.

  • Josh Obudzinski
    October 24, 2017 1:14 pm

    Have my interest!

  • Sign me up!!!

  • Can’t wait

  • Finally, someone that has the end DBA in mind with relevant ideas. Thank you.

  • A direct, 900 number, to Brent, available 24×7 for the low, low price of $99.99/minute ($199.99/minute on weekends and holidays)

  • Very Exciting!!

  • The Bren ‘three-eyed raven’ Stark is coming …

  • John Deardurff
    October 25, 2017 2:11 am

    Very dismissive of local instructors. I’ll try to not be offended.

  • Wow…

  • You have my interest.
    Great work Brent as usual. Many thanks!

  • Andy Chandler-Wilson
    October 25, 2017 3:21 am

    Can’t wait! Completely agree with your comments Brent about training courses not being relevant to the real world.

  • This is awesome! Can’t wait to see what it is…

  • Rafael Colón
    October 25, 2017 4:08 pm

    Interesting, however I think your career and what you learn is on you own hands not your employer or your “Local instructor” If you like what you do, you will find the time and place to learn in many different ways. Also not all the instructors were created equal, to put all of them on the same boat is unfair to the many that are extremely experienced professionals (like yourself Brent) and put a lot of time and effort in their lessons based not only on books but past and current experiences on the field to teach that information the right way to their student-clients. SQL Saturdays is a great venue but not everything can be free on life, sometimes you need to pay for quality and is wise to learn to distinguish if you are getting real value of what you are paying.
    I hope your new approach will be revolutionary and will offer another choice to the many SQL professionals that are always looking forward to improve their knowledge.

  • While I agree with a few of the things you said, I could not disagree more with your comments about local instructors and the classes they teach. I feel that condeming an entire industry in a few paragraphs is quite an accomplishment. You described the certifications as meaningless. While agree they will not and should not get you the job, in a competitive world it might help you get a look from hiring personel that you may not have gotten otherwise. So to descibe them as meaningless is incorrect. When I read your comments about “Certified Instructor” that simply read the books, have never done the job and let other students answer questions all I could do is sit back and think “WOW, did he really say that?”. Are there bad instructors, of course, just as there are bad consultants and bad DBAs. There are many instructors who have done the job and do a very good job at bringing that real world experience into the classroom. If you are wondering..yes I am an instructor with over 14 years experience as a DBA. I work as a hands on DBA supervisor during the day and teach at night. You should spend more time highlighting what you offer, rather than making others look bad.

    • Dave – we’ll have to agree to disagree.

      In my opinion, if a student graduates a class and thinks that Activity Monitor and Profiler are the right place to go when looking for slow queries, then I think the teacher ripped off the student.

      That’s what I see in MS exam classes: people who “graduate” and are utterly unprepared for the realities of database work.

  • Håkan Nilsson
    October 26, 2017 3:30 am

    I agree completely with all points. But to understand what Brent said about instructors, Someones in-town instructor is somebody elses out-of-town instructor. So, of course there are both good/bad in/out-town instructors. Compare this with great artists, where are they? Well, 99,6% of them is not in my town.

  • Stephen Morris
    October 26, 2017 9:23 am

    Definitely a HoLo lens app …