Confessions of a Space Quest League Advocate

By: Monica Miller
July 6, 2022
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Mission 2 Wrap and Mission 3 Launch

We all know at least one pandemic puzzler, a devoted crossworder, or a religious wordler who finds joy within the challenge or thrives on the thrill of success.  Scientifically, this phenomenon is explained to be most prevalent in reward-oriented personality types that crave the dopamine hit of a correct answer and just keep coming back for more. I have spent my entire life subconsciously surrounding myself with puzzles like this (yes, I am very reward-oriented) and I am self-diagnosing that I fall into the “beyond obsessed” category when ranking puzzle enjoyment from love to hate. So it logically makes sense that I naturally seek them out wherever I can. When I started learning SQL, the act of discovering the right statement structure to answer the posed question immediately struck me as a logic puzzle that, naturally, I had to solve.  Truthfully, I still get a childlike excitement when I find the correct answer to a SQL query today.

Creating the Technical Achievement Challenges

When I first learned about Space Quest League, I was excited about the possibility of challenging my own SQL knowledge and my current data skills. However, I didn’t see any programming problems that required me to really dig into a specific dataset, and apply the puzzle-like practices that I get such joy out of. So since we had these datasets already available in Starburst Galaxy and then sheer grit and determination to create a method to add these datasets to Trino, I capitalized. My hope was that potentially one other person got a small dopamine hit for solving the correct answer and those who chose to partake were able to feel the puzzle joy for a successful SQL query.

Initially my intent was just to create 5-minute quick challenges that let anyone who wants to work on the solution, no matter the SQL skill or the amount of time available. So I tried working backwards to come up with my own clear and concise SQL queries, and more importantly, the questions associated with them. Let me be the first to admit, some were more understandable than others. Even after spending years complaining to my own professors about their questions being worded weirdly, and trying to consciously think about all the interpretations as I wrote each question, I still fell into some of the traps. I truly have learned so much as this process has progressed, and have developed some safeguards to hopefully avoid those traps altogether in the future.

Looking Forward to Mission 3

To anyone who answered one of our Technical Achievement Challenges, I want to say thank you. This has been a really exciting journey for me, and I have been honestly blown away by the responses and interest since we started rolling a challenge out each week. I have already gotten some very constructive feedback, and I am confident that I can apply this to our Mission 3 challenges to make sure that we have even more fun in the upcoming months.

The fun doesn’t end here. We will be continuing on with new, and dare I say improved, challenges to test your knowledge in Mission 3. Also, the setup for any Trino folks will be seamless this time around with no work necessary on your end. Stay tuned in Mission 3 to test your SQL knowledge once again.

To enter Mission 3, go to starburst.io/sweepstakes and start competing in challenges to increase your chance of winning the $30,000 cash prize. The winner will be announced on September 1, 2022 so enter now to access the quests that will test your data skills!

If you have any further feedback, questions, or suggestions I would love to hear from you. Please reach out to me on the Trino slack channel and we can chat.

Space Quest League: An opportunity to give back

By participating in Space Quest League, you’re not only entering for a chance to win great prizes but also playing for a cause. The League includes a charitable component where Starburst gives back. During the first Mission, Starburst donated $5,000 to a charity supporting Ukrainian refugees. For the remainder of the Missions, we will donate $1 per valid contestant (up to $95,000) to a charity that will be determined over the course of the year.

How to enter and participate

Entering is simple, visit our website to get started! Here, you’ll find the sweepstakes details, rules, and entry form for each Mission. Don’t forget, you only need to enter each Mission once, but keep an eye out for additional challenges to rack up more stars and increase your chances of winning the ultimate prize!

Enter now for a chance to win 

Good luck and I hope to see you on the leaderboard!

Monica Miller

Developer Advocate, Starburst

Monica is a Developer Advocate at Starburst.

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