In the November SQL Server Magazine editorial, "New Training Grounds," my pal Michael writes about Microsoft Official Distance Learning (MODL), which seems like a great training resource. But, dare I say, I'm skeptical about Microsoft. The proof is in the pudding, and I haven't tasted any tapioca yet. So, I found some of our own tried-and-true resources for your educational enjoyment.

Essential Guides
The name says it all. These guides truly are essential to your SQL Server–skill development. Get the information you need with guides such as "Jump Starting Your SQL Server Skills" and "SQL Server Management Fundamentals" at www.sqlmag.com/essential.

New Article Series
Michelle A. Poolet's continuing series is designed as a class curriculum about building data warehouses. See Building Your Data Warehouse for a summary of topics that will be covered in upcoming articles, and read information already published in the following articles:

    Discover the Star Schema (The star schema is the standard for supporting multidimensional cubes and supporting BI analysis across the organization.
  • Data Warehousing: Measuring the FactsWith dimensional modeling, you can build a user-friendly data structure that makes data access intuitive. Start by learning the components of the dimensional model and why they're designed as they are.
  • Data Warehousing: Dimension BasicsAs you plan and create your data warehouse, you'll need to decide the level of detail you want—how finely grained you want your dimensions to be—and you'll need to flatten hierarchies to make data more accessible for users.
  • The Data Warehouse Bus Architecture Find out how conformed dimensions and facts make up an enterprise data warehouse.

Every month, Pinalkumar Dave helps you "sharpen your skills" with his answers to frequently asked SQL Server questions.

  • Routines and Clauses
    SQL Server often features several ways to do the same or similar tasks. To select the best technique for the job, you need to understand the differences.
  • Joins, Groupings, and Data Types
    Learn the difference between UNION and UNION ALL; INNER JOIN and OUTER JOIN; DISTINCT and GROUP BY; NVARCHAR, VARCHAR, and CHAR; and timestamp and GETDATE().

Forums
Don't spend hours looking for an answer; just ask someone. Our forums are full of peers and experts with the solutions you need. Check out Michelle's forum focused on SQL Server database design and development at www.sqlmag.com/go/dbdesign.