I am a bit late with the almost obligatory "How was my past year and how do I think next year is going to rock" blog post – we're already a good week into the new year – but without further ado I present you: How was my past year and how do I think next year is going to rock!

2013 was not a bad year professional wise. I had set some goals and I managed to reach most of them (which is quite a miracle, because I excel at abandoning New Year's resolutions at the very first chance possible). I laid those goals out in the blog post Happy Holidays. I read more technical books. Not 12 like I wanted to, but almost 10. Those books were the following:

  • Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Analysis Services: The BISM Tabular Model by Marco Russo, Alberto Ferrari and Chris Webb. It's a great reference on the SSAS Tabular model and DAX, but it is sometimes a difficult read.
  • Information Dashboard Design, Data Visualization: a successful design process and Say it with Charts. I wrote a review about those 3 books here. Three great books who got me up to speed with data visualization. In the summer the second edition of Information Dashboard Design came out and I immediately bought it and read it front to cover. It's a great book and offers a few extras over the first edition.
  • I was browsing a local book store and I found those two books: Visual Intelligence: Microsoft Tools and Techniques for Visualizing Data by Mark Stacey, Joe Salvatore and Adam Jorgensen and the book Excel 2013 Charts and Graphs by Bill Jelen. Actually I just went home and bought the books at Amazon, because those local bookstores sure aren't cheap. I had the pleasure of meeting Mark in person at the Belgian SQL Server Days and he's an awesome chap. It's a great book he wrote and I absolutely recommend it as a great overview of all the Microsoft BI visualization options. It even gives you a taste of HTML5. Sadly, Power BI was announced after the release of the book. The Excel book was quite nice as well. A bit dry, but a very good reference if you want to find out what you can do with Excel (a lot).
  • Also in the summer time a new edition of the Data Warehouse Toolkit by Ralph Kimball was released. I read it and it was great to freshen up my knowledge on dimensional design. If you didn't read any of the previous editions yet, this book is an absolute must-read.
  • Since my (ex-) colleague Valentino did the technical review, I was very keen to do a review of the book SQL Server 2012 Reporting Services Blueprints. A very fast read and great to get up to speed with SSRS.
  • I started reading The Balanced Scorecard: Translating Strategy into Action by Robert Kaplan and David Norton. It is a fundamental book regarding scorecards and performance management, but it was way too "financial" for me (read: I almost fell asleep reading the book). So I gave up half-way. No shame in that, I might finish it in the future when I'm overdosing on Red Bull.

Currently I started the book Star Schema The Complete Reference by Chris Adamson. It was recommended by a colleague and it looks very promising. This will be my first book of 2014 and I hope I can reach 12 books in total.

Regarding the other goals: I got the MCSE certification, learned a lot about SQL Server 2012, changed jobs and started writing articles. The blog went all right in my opinion: I managed to squeak out 40 blog posts, with the most popular blog post at the time of writing being SQL 2014 CTP1, where is my BIDS? with over 31000 views for the moment. I had a couple of beers when I wrote that post, so this seems to be worth for further investigation to see if I can repeat that success formula.

What does the year bring in 2014, aside from the 20-year anniversary of Kurt Cobains death? (Yes, we are that old). I will try to keep this blog running of course, next to the articles, and I will try to present again at a few events. SQL Server 2014 is coming up, so I'm sure there will be plenty of stuff to learn and discover. I will also try to get a better grip on data vault modelling.

Anyway, thanks for reading all those posts in 2013 and I hope you return in the following year. Have a great 2014!