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Interview with Cathrine Wilhelmsen and Jason Horner

We are officially less than one month away from SQL Saturday Nashville! In the weeks leading up to SQL Saturday we will get to know a few of our pre-con speakers each week!

CWihelmsen    JHorner

Today we are featuring Cathrine Wilhelmsen and Jason Horner. You can find Cathrine on twitter as @cathrinew and Jason as @jasonhorner. Visit Cathrine’s blog here and Jason’s blog here.

Cathrine works as a consultant, technical architect and developer, focusing on Data Warehouse and Business Intelligence projects. Outside of work Catherine is active in the SQL Server and Biml communities as a Microsoft Data Platform MVP, BimlHero, author, speaker, blogger and chronic volunteer. She’s a past board member of the Microsoft Data Platform User Group Norway and past main organizer of SQLSaturday Oslo.

Jason is a Microsoft Certified Master: SQL Server Specializing in Data Warehouse design and development. He has been working with SQL Server for over 10 years. He began working with SQL Server as a DBA / Application Developer in 1999, starting with version 6.5. He made a transition to delivering BI solutions in 2002 and began working with spatial data in 2008. His latest focus has been architecting large-scale spatially enabled BI solutions.

Jason is passionate about Dimensional Modeling, Analysis Services, Geospatial Data, PowerShell and automation in general.


Jason and Cathrine will be co-presenting on Real-World ETL Design Patterns using SSIS and Biml .

Who should attend this session?

The ETL Design Patterns using SSIS and Biml pre-con has two main target audiences:

Beginner to mid-level SSIS developers, and experienced SSIS developers looking to learn Biml.  They will both be able to take away something a little different from the pre-con.

The beginner to mid-level SSIS developer will learn how to make SSIS packages more robust   and enterprise-ready, and how to work towards an enterprise-ready end-to-end ETL architecture. They will get exposure to Biml and BimlScript and see how to start automating parts of the SSIS development.

The experienced SSIS developer will learn how to use Biml in their current projects, and how to create a metadata-driven ETL solution. They will get basic Biml patterns to use as a starting point for their own projects.

What made you decide to work out this session together and what is your favorite thing about teaching this session?

Jason had been working on a pre-con idea for a while that would bring together all his experience using SSIS to deliver ETL projects. Cathrine wanted to develop a new pre-con focusing on Biml and SSIS. Instead of working on two separate pre-cons, we decided to team up and combine our knowledge. We will be delivering this pre-con for the first time in Nashville. We are looking forward to helping attendees by providing guidance on how to solve challenges they might face in their projects.


What 1 piece of great advice do you wish someone would have given you when you first started your career?

Discovery requires experimentation. Oftentimes you can become so caught up in reading manuals and documentation that you miss out on learning by trying. Things don’t have to be perfect the first time! Start small, start simple, keep going and keep learning.


If you could go back and change the career path that lead you to where you are now would you?

Everyone would probably go back and change something, but the choices we made have led us to where we are now. We’re able to help others by speaking and teaching, we’re part of a great community, and we also get to travel to new places. All in all, we wouldn’t change a thing.


Jason & Cathrine you basically live on opposite sides of the planet, what challenges did you have to overcome to work out this presentation and what advice do you have to give to potential other co-presenters?

Our main challenge was scheduling time to work together. There’s an 8-hour time difference between Denver and Oslo, so we both had to shift some plans around to find time to collaborate. Because of this, we also tried to use tools that allowed us to work together at different times. We used a shared OneNote to plan our pre-con in detail, and also used a Trello board to keep track of tasks. For the pre-con itself, we worked on the slide decks through O365 and used GitHub for our demos.

It has been challenging working together when we’ve been on different sides of the world, but the key thing has been communication. Make sure to check in with each other regularly, schedule calls to walk through things, and make some progress every day. Since we decided to work together and create one pre-con out of two pre-con ideas, we also needed to make some compromises on what to include and focus on. There’s only so much content we can fit into one day!