Ahmad Yaseen

How to be the top SQL Shack author and attend the PASS Summit – twice in a row

November 8, 2017 by

Being the top SQL Shack author again required double the effort and the time than I spent last year (2016) to achieve it, competing more professional authors with creative writing styles. Fortunately, I achieved it this year again, two years in a row. Let me tell you how I succeeded and what kept me motivated!

“The Database Administrator role is not a relaxing job, but I like it”


My name is Ahmad Yaseen. I am a Data and BI Leader – Database Administrator at Aramex International Company for more than seven years, where I started my SQL Server Database and BI administration experience. I live in a small country, where I was born in, belong to, studied and grew in; The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

My role

The Database Administrator role in such huge international company is not an easy mission or relaxing job, due to the busy environment, the heavily transactional systems with tiny downtime tolerance, and various strange problems that you will face every day and need to be resolved under pressure, due to the high cost of any downtime or data unavailability. However, I like this kind of job.

The international companies, such as the one I am working at, are the best environment for me to have a very fast learning curve and apply what I learn practically. As a SQL Server Database Administrator, my acquired skills include:

  • Installing, upgrading, configuring, securing and monitoring the different SQL Server versions and components
  • Databases designing, developing, indexing, query optimization and performance tuning skills
  • Designing and implementing SQL Server high availability and disaster recovery solutions (Replication, Mirroring, Log Shipping, Clustering and Always ON Availability Groups)
  • Designing and implementing SQL Server backup and recovery solutions
  • SQL Server Data Warehouse administration, designing and development
  • SQL Azure administration
  • On premises to Azure data migration
  • SQL Server administration trainer
  • Technical communities’ speaker

My goals

To be a successful professional person, you should have goals in your life. When your goal is achieved successfully, you should not stop; it will open new prospects that redraw your plans again, to keep you in the road of success.

A tale of two PASS Summits

When I won the PASS Summit 2016 trip last year, I met a huge number of professionals and experts in the different data and BI aspects, chatted with them, learned from their experiences and exchanged my experience with them. From my last trip, I realized how wide the Data and BI field is. I got back to my country with new plans to keep pace with the rapid changes on that field. I started digging deep in the big data and Business Intelligent fields and achieved a new MCP certificate in Designing BI Solutions with Microsoft SQL Server. I also started reading about the different choices of storing the data in the Cloud that is the main concern of all DBAs now.

Attending the PASS Summit last year also showed me that it is not an easy mission to satisfy all type of readers and meet their needs, especially with this huge number of database experts that we are competing, working with and feeding with knowledge. So that, I had one of two roads to follow: continue working to help narrow part of the readers, or manage my time to work harder and harder with the suitable pace to meet the needs of wide range of the database experts. The second choice that I required a big effort, I had to choose carefully the topics that most of the readers are interested in, to be an added value for their experience.

My process

Choosing new article subjects requires research by following the top active social media SQL Server related groups, pages and hashtags, trying to find all new announcements, test these new features and enhancements and find the best way to present them. To encourage readers to go through my articles, I have to write in very professional, but simple way, so that anyone with simple English language and the minimum article subject knowledge can take benefits. At the same time, I must provide very accurate tested scenarios and information.

In order to improve my technical writing skills and find the best simple way to describe the difficult topics, I read a large number of articles on writing.

Once one of my articles is published at the SQL Shack site, I start promoting it via different social networks, such as the Facebook groups and pages, the LinkedIn groups, the most active SQL Server twitter hashtags. In this way, we can guarantee that it will reach a larger number of potential readers in the SQL Server community.


What always keeps me motivated at a high level is the feedback I receive from the most cooperative and supportive people I have met and worked with, the SQL Shack community. They encourage me with their nice words and valuable feedback when the submitted article is reviewed then published. What also makes my day is the readers’ interaction in the shape of number of views and comments received from them on the article itself, the different social media networks and personally by emailing me.

PASS Summit 2017

PASS Summit 2017 allowed me to connect with Data and BI platform experts from all over the world in a unique learning environment that empowers me with the practical knowledge. This year, I could choose between more than 222 sessions and 2 keynotes that mainly concentrate in SQL Server 2017 new features and different choices of storing the data in the cloud. The Exhibit hall has allowed me to meet the top companies that provide integrated solutions to make the DBA and developers life easier. During the conference, the Microsoft Clinic was a magnificent stop between the sessions, in which I could ask the SQL Server creators about my SQL Server issues.

Visiting the PASS Summit for the second time allowed me to make more professional friends working in companies from all over the word, with various experiences and opinions.

During the Experience SQL Server 2017: The Fast and the Furious and Building a Graph Database Application with SQL Server 2017 and Azure SQL Database sessions, I got valuable knowledge about the new features and enhancements in SQL Server 2017 version. I concentrated also in the different SQL Server Azure versions and options by attending the Migrating to Azure: Moving from On-premises SQL Server and Oracle Databases to Azure SQL Database, Comprehensive Guide for Monitoring SQL Server and Azure SQL DB, Cloud & Hybrid Data Storage Roadmap for Business Intelligence and Azure Cosmos DB: The Globally Distributed, Multi-model Database useful sessions. I also gave myself an opportunity to dive away from the Windows platform by attending the Monitoring Linux Performance for the SQL Server Admin session. I saw that the Strategies to Speed Up Data Load into Clustered Columnstore Index session deserved my time to learn better ways to deal with the data warehouse.

Finally, I will go back home motivated by attending the Take Each Day and Work on Making it Better session. All these sessions were presented by very qualified professionals.

The PASS Summit 2017 also redraws my plans this year, motivated me while being an interactive attendee in most of the sessions. What surprised me is that the snapshot in which my face appeared, that is taken from the last year conference, was chosen in the welcome page of all PASS Summit 2017 presentations!

The main thing is that the PASS Summit 2017 provided me with new good material to write about, as I will also work hard to win this contest again next year. Take my words seriously, my SQL Shack friends! 🙂

Ahmad Yaseen
Latest posts by Ahmad Yaseen (see all)
Professional development

About Ahmad Yaseen

Ahmad Yaseen is a Microsoft Big Data engineer with deep knowledge and experience in SQL BI, SQL Server Database Administration and Development fields. He is a Microsoft Certified Solution Expert in Data Management and Analytics, Microsoft Certified Solution Associate in SQL Database Administration and Development, Azure Developer Associate and Microsoft Certified Trainer. Also, he is contributing with his SQL tips in many blogs. View all posts by Ahmad Yaseen