Conference Year in Review - 2004

by Stephen Andert

2004 has been over for some time now. It was a busy year for me in the Oracle world. I was able to attend 4 major conference events as well as a number of smaller user group gatherings. I had planned on writing this as a New Years entry, but several things conspired against me. After reviewing the past 4 months, it has become clear the root cause of the delay is mainly life. Between work and keeping my technical skills current, there is hardly time to participate in my kids soccer games or other events

While this is a bit late for a year in review, it comes on the eve of one of the conferences, the International Oracle Users Group Education Symposium. The IOUG conference officially gets under way Monday morning.

I enjoyed certain aspects of all the events I attended last year and will mention some of the strengths of each of the conferences I attended. There are other events that I did not get to attend last year, most notably, ODTUG and the Hotsos Symposium. I have heard great things about both conferences, so I will leave it up to someone who has been to them to provide input either in a blog of their own or in a response to this one.

These are in chronological order based on when they were held last year.

RMOUG Training Days:
The Rocky Mountain Oracle Users Group conference was only 2 days long and is put on by a local user group in Colorado. This February event attracts top speakers from not only around the United States, but also from around the world.

I attended presentations of some of the brightest people in the Oracle world. Some of the things I learned allowed me to return to the office with some new ideas to become more productive. This was a great conference that I think far outshines its’ billing as a regional conference. This 2-day conference is a great value with some top-notch speakers.

While the International Oracle User Group conference always attracts attendees and speakers from around the world, in 2004 it was held in Toronto Canada making it even more international that usual.

This conference was a great event with too many good sessions to choose from. Whatever topic you are interested in, you will find sessions there by someone who has real-world experience. One of the things I really like about IOUG are the Round Table Sessions. These are topic-oriented times where people of various skill levels gather. I attended one that was oriented on performance tuning. We had a great discussion that resulted in a better understanding of the issues we were dealing with. I think that many of the folks in the group left with some new ideas to take back to work.

Last year, I had the opportunity to attend this conference in England. This conference is similar in format to the IOUG conference. Like the IOUG conference, this conference is a user group and User Group events always feature real-world presenters with real-world experiences. UKOUG is no exception to this and the speakers I saw all had presentations that were based on real-world experiences and test results.

I was impressed by the organization that put on this event. The facilities were topnotch and the volunteers were on par with the other user group conferences previously mentioned. One thing that really stood out to me was that all of the speakers I saw were introduced by a volunteer, which can enhance speaker confidence and can make a professional impression on the audience.

Oracle World:
This event wrapped up the year for me. It was another first for me, having never been to this event before. This is the conference that Oracle puts on and I had heard many opinions on this event and how it compared to the other conferences.

One of the programs available at this conference, is the combination of classes and testing opportunities for the Oracle Certification program. Completing the “exam cram” class increased the knowledge that can come in handy for both certification exams as well as in daily work.

This year, Oracle involved user groups to help in selecting some of the presentations. This provided a good balance between various levels of technical presenters. Since this conference is presented by Oracle, many of the presentations were made by Oracle employees. I enjoyed the ability to hear presentations by technical people that had played a role in developing the features being introduced or discussed.

All in all, I enjoyed many things about all the conferences I attended last year and would be happy to attend them again in the future. These conferences all add a great value and allow people to receive useful information at whatever level they seek.

Stephen Andert

Please let me know what you think about conferences you have attended in the past, especially for conferences I didn't cover here.