Sessions and Publications

I teach T-SQL, career development, and Powershell privately and at various conferences (SQL Saturdays, PASS Summit, and more). I try to make recordings and materials from all of those sessions available. If you don’t see what you’re looking for here, email me at and I’ll see if I have it.


T-SQL sessions:

Administration sessions:

Professional Development sessions:


Bio and picture

T-SQL Sessions

Designing Stored Procedure Solutions

Level: 100
Abstract: In this session, you’ll learn about SQL Server stored procedures (SPs): what they are, when and why you’d use them, and how you’d go about developing a solution with one. We will address common SP myths and learn about planning for performance. Most of all, we’ll walk through examples to explore the process of solution building in SQL Server.

Overview: SQL Server

Level: 100

Abstract: In this session we’ll define SQL Server and work with the tools to show you around, & explore what it can do. If you cant’ even spell “SQL”, this session’s for you.

Beginning T-SQL

Level: 100

Abstract: If you’d like to become a database professional – or if you already work with SQL Server at all – you need to know Transact-SQL, the SQL Server programming language. During this session, we’ll design and create our own table to demonstrate key concepts, query syntax, and more. If you’ve been meaning to learn T-SQL, here’s your chance!

Code Sins

Level: 200

Abstract: It’s impossible to follow every best practice all the time. “Code sins” are those things we do to our code that are either so horrendous that they can’t be borne, or that have such tremendous consequences that your stored procedures wish they’d never been created. Attendees will hear about the most common code sins that make code difficult to read, support, run and extend, and practical strategies for reversing the trend.

Ten Things you do that Make SQL Server Cry


“You always hurt the one you love.” That’s true, so we must love our SQL Server so very much. There are a number of things that developers, accidental DBAs, and on-purpose DBAs do to SQL Server that make it sad, slow, unsupportable, difficult to manage, and just impossible to talk to. Let’s talk about just 10 of these unkindnesses, and how we can – short of buying flowers and chocolates for the whole datacenter – make it up to our long-suffering servers.


T-SQL Brush-up: The Best Things You Forgot You Knew About SQL Code (aka Forgotten T-SQL)

Level: 200

Abstract: You’re a good SQL professional – you attend conferences and webinars, you read articles and books, and you know your way around SQL Server. But sometimes – just SOMEtimes – some piece of T-SQL slips by you unnoticed, or falls out of memory. Most of us are working with at least two or three out of the last five versions of SQL Server, so who can blame us for missing a feature or two? Come and revisit old favorites, and brush up on new T-SQL features and enhancements. In this session you will see SELECT turned inside-out. You’ll get really, really excited about OVER and PARTITION BY. You’ll learn that Common Table Expressions are, in fact, very cool, and that FOR XML isn’t as scary as it looks. And what’s more, we’ll look and BRAND-new features like SQL Server Denali’s new SEQUENCE object! This session is chock full of code examples, including before-and-after demos and how-to illustrations.

Unraveling Tangled Code – A Spellbinding Tale of Victory Over Chaos

Level: 200

Abstract: Once upon a time, you inherited an application or a database that was filled with chaos and inconsistencies. The T-SQL code is overly complex and impossible to ken. The architecture is painful to behold, and grueling to code for. One might optimistically say that query performance is “spectacularly mediocre”. If you’re without good documentation or system architects to guide you, how do you break the curse of confusion? In this session you’ll learn several methods for conquering chaotic code, and how to seek and destroy some of the nastier coding mistakes and inefficiencies. We will break complicated queries into key pieces, turn them upside-down, and reform them into something sensible. We will vanquish major issues like data abuse and index negligence. We will restructure joins, tame subqueries, and refactor dynamic SQL. We will emerge victorious!

Newer material:

Older Material


Administration Sessions

Introduction to PowerShell Cmdlets for DBAs

Level: 100/200

Abstract: You’ve been hearing about this newfangled craze, and it’s time to learn exactly why it’s called POWERshell. You’ll want to take notes, or better yet, bring your laptop and start using Powershell immediately. We will get Posh running and then I’ll introduce you to the basic concepts, with examples to make things happen right away. We’ll work on SQL Server with Powershell, and learn some cool techniques. Come see this all-demo, hands-on session!

When a Strange Server Calls

Level: 200

Abstract: Have you checked the databases lately? It could be that you’re new on the job, or you’ve inherited a set of servers from another team. Maybe things have just been busy lately. Any which way, you’ve got a SQL Server instance (or five) that may have issues, may have backups, may have maintenance…or not. How do you start getting to know an instance? We’ll go over scripts and methods to gather and prioritize important information about your server, so you don’t have to be afraid when the server calls.

  • Goals:
    • Let’s identify the situations where you’d have a server that you need to get familiar with.
    • And list the things you really need to know about your servers (and why) [top 12 critical issues for neglected servers].
    • Let’s get to know the methods and scripts for gathering that information,
    • And for documenting it,
    • And for making prioritized action plans/solutions for found issues.



Professional Development Sessions

DBA Career Roadmap

Level: 100

Abstract: Let’s talk about your career. You’ve been a DBA for a week, a month, a year, or ten, but do you know all you need to about keeping up to date? Job hunting and recruiters? Are you an interview ace? We’ll talk about all of this, and much more. To answer your specific questions, we’ll wrap up with a question and answer session.

Mouth Wide Shut: Coherent Interviewing

Level: 100

Abstract: “Interviews are so easy,” said nobody ever. Interviewing for your next DBA or SQL developer job can be tricky, and full of pitfalls. In this fun and interactive session, we’ll give you all the best advice you’ve never heard about pre-interview preparation, typical traps, and the new professionalism. You will start to refine the way you present yourself, tailor your answers appropriately, and learn about our revolutionary negotiating tactics. Most importantly, we’ll quantify the most difficult aspect of interviews: knowing when to keep silent. This session was rated the #2 session at the 2012 PASS Summit!Prerequisites:

There are no solid pre-requisites for this session, only the desire to really understand how to pass an interview.

  • Goals:
    • Teach the biggest pitfalls in the interview process and how to avoid them. This is based off of years of interviewing DBAs. Teaching how to practice will be one of the main tenants along with solid advice on things you should never do.
    • Teach the different types of tech questions and how to prepare for and answer them. This is a big portion of the session and comprises some of the biggest mistakes we’ve seen DBAs make when going for a job.
    • Teach some basic negotiating skills to get you the package you want once the offer is made. This is often times the most overlooked part of the process, but it’s very important if you want to be happy with your new position.l
    • Downloads: TBD

Presented at PASS Summit 2012.

Mouth Wide Shut: Interviews from the Other Side of the Table

Level: 200

Abstract: You’re a DBA, and it’s finally your turn to conduct an interview. As it turns out, asking the questions is nearly as hard as answering them! And listen to those answers: this guy has “master” and “expert” all over his resume, but he sounds like a mid-level the more he talks, and will likely turn out to be a junior once hired on. In this interactive session, we’ll show you the most effective ways to find out what the candidate truly knows. You’ll learn about effective tech screening, drawing answers out of nervous candidates, and how to use probing questions to really draw out the applicant’s true expertise.Among other things, you’ll learn:* How to pick up on resume “inaccuracies”* How to truly vet a candidate’s skills* Why keeping your mouth shut is a vital interviewing skill* The one thing that interviewers never do (and should)Prerequisites:

There are no solid pre-requisites for this session, only the desire to really understand how to conduct an interview.

  • Goals:
    • Teach the types of interview questions, and how to use them to determine real experience.
    • Teach the different interview formats, including types of lab exercises and the length of the question and answer portion.
    • Teach how to identify the most common candidate overstatements and omissions.



Jen McCown is a Microsoft SQL Server Certified Master, independent consulting, business owner, developer, and DBA. She is Senior Editor at, where she creates training videos, the DBAs at Midnight webshow, blogs, reviews, and podcasts. She is co-creator of Jen is a member, volunteer, and speaker in PASS.


Tribal SQL

In late 2011, we had just finished filming the show, and were talking to the audience in chat about the success of other multi-author SQL books and how it would be nice if a bunch of first time authors could have the chance to contribute to a book of, oh, how about… stuff they’re passionate about. We wanted it to be about things that people should really know about SQL Server, but might not be able to get out of a comprehensive technical manual. In other words, tribal knowledge.

Four people immediately volunteered to contribute, so we put out a call for more unpublished authors-to-be to write “a community-written book of tribal SQL Server knowledge”. Volunteers were to write about the thing they thought a DBA (or database developer, or BI guy) should really know. We chose from nearly 50 submitted abstracts, and the authors got down to the work of writing and peer editing.

We partnered with Red-Gate Publishing; they brought a level of experience and polish we could never have achieved on our own. The result is a book of what the members of your own tribe think you should know about SQL Server.

DBA Roadmap

Sean and I created an audio seminar on the topic of how to become a SQL Server database professional, and we called it the DBA Roadmap. This seminar will consist of several hours of audio, bonus tracks, and downloadable artifacts (like sample resumes, summaries, and more).

The Roadmap is available for purchase! Visit to get a sample audio track, and email with questions or comments.

MVP Deep Dives II

I wrote a chapter for MVP Deep Dives II, which was released at PASS Summit 2011 in Seattle! The scripts used in the chapter are freely available under “Source Code” (I’m chapter 37) on the SQL Server MVP Deep Dives 2 page on

For information on the first Deep Dives book, see the SQL Server MVP Deep Dives page on


Bio and Picture

Jen McCown is CEO of MinionWare, LLC; a Microsoft Certified Master for SQL Server; and an independent consultant. She is Senior Editor at, where she creates training videos, the DBAs at Midnight webshow, blogs, reviews, and podcasts. Jen is also an international speaker and co-writes the MinionWare flagship product, Minion Enterprise.


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