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The Antares Alien

Power BI   |  Game Development

  • Writer's pictureBrent Jones

SQLBI Mastering DAX Workshop Review

I recently had the pleasure of attending the SQLBI Mastering DAX Workshop. Read on below for my thoughts!

Who is SQLBI?

Marco and myself!

If you are not familiar with the folks over at SQLBI, they are THE DAX people. They literally wrote the book on DAX. In fact, Microsoft partners with them for all things DAX related (and I'm sure other stuff as well). They have a wonderful YouTube channel as well where they upload a generous amount of content. Everything I know I learned from there videos.

SQLBI Mastering DAX Workshop Review

The workshop is divided into three days; the first day covers basic DAX concepts, the second dives a bit deeper into more complex topics, and the third covered advanced techniques. Going into the course, I had a good bit of experience with DAX, so I felt the first day would be too easy. But here's the thing about DAX... there's ALWAYS something under the hood that the engine is doing that you have no clue about. And Marco did not shy away from sprinkling (and at sometimes spraying) tid-bits of this type of information over the basic material. And boy did I get my filling.

In my experience with the DAX language, there are many times where I wonder, "geez... is this the correct way of writing DAX?"... And having Marco right there in person to answer my questions felt like a turbo booster strapped to my brain. Indeed, Marco covered many of my questions before I could even ask them. For example, did you know it's almost always better to use CALCULATETABLE() instead of FILTER() when you can? These types of questions just don't appear on the internet (or at least they are difficult to find answers for).

Each day is packed.. and I mean PACKED with information. I heard from a couple of students that it may have been better to change it to 4 or 5 days. Nevertheless, three days it is. While Marco did give ample time to ask questions between lectures (which lasted from 2 to 2.5 hrs each), there were a couple times when Marco was too busy answering other students questions to get to mine. Granted, he did acknowledge this afterward and went searching for me after I gave up waiting. Bonus points to him for this!

This particular event was hosted in the Microsoft building in Atlanta (Midtown specifically). The building itself is nice and new, and there is a lovely coffee shop in the lobby area - in fact it is a complete cafe with seating and all. They opened at 7AM before the workshop started I would sit here and read.


If you end up going, try the cappucinno. While not the best I've had, I could at least taste a nice and distinct flavor profile of the roast. Better than Starbucks but not quite as good as a specialty roaster.

Important: get it in a mug. Specifically ask for the mug, it's worth it!


Is this course for you?

If you are an absolute beginner with no experience, this workshop will be too intense. Even if you have a little bit of experience, say 1 year of using Power BI and DAX, it may still be too intense. If this is you, I would recommend visiting their YouTube channel and watching (and re-watching) their videos. I went in with about 7 years of Power BI experience and I thought it was perfect for me (granted, I only started seriously studying DAX for about 2 years). However, that's not to say if you have more or less experience it's not worth it. If you consider yourself an intermediate player, it is a great workshop to partake in. For those with less experience, you will obtain a great DAX foundation. Those of you with more experience, you will most certatinly stregthen that foundation.

With a price tag of $1990, it's not something everyone can afford. If you are lucky and work for an employer, they may pay for it. If you are self employed, I would only consider this only if your job requires you to get knee deep in DAX on a weekly basis, minimum. And of course if you are rich and don't mind the price tag, go ahead!

No matter your level of experience, you will certainly gain benefits from simply being in the presence of the DAX gods.


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