...: Marsh Chatter
Conferences AKA Opportunities
Conferences... present you with a choice. With due respect to Shakespeare... to go or not to go, that is the question?
What is the cost in both your time and money? The tough part is figuring out the value you will gain by any given conference. Does your schedule fit the conference time frame? Do the goals and sessions fit your educational plans? Do you have the ability to participate?
Whether you’re a new designer or developer, an employee, a consultant, or project leader – conferences hosting sessions geared to our arena are very important. If your employer will provide you the time and budget to attend – you should take advantage of every opportunity. If attendance at a conference is up to you, the decision becomes a bit harder, but attending still provides you the same opportunities.
To me – there are 2 significant benefits for attending any conference, they are...
- To increase my knowledge on one or more subjects
- To network with fellow professionals.
...each has the potential to lead to more employment opportunities.
All education requires effort. To increase employment opportunities, "we" must make a personal investment in our own skill development. Seek out opportunities, get involved, and network. Don’t just seek out "free" conferences as that will limit your options. Don’t just go for the S.W.A.G. or a free lunch; given our current economic times, both may be limited or not available. Remember, the true value is the education & networking.
Networking is easily done... seek out connections via Twitter.com or in your local community. Find a professional group that shares knowledge about subjects that interest you. Participate at code camps or Give Camps.
Great Conferences are Available
Kalamazoo X Conference
Day of .NET (multiple locations)
Indy Tech Fest
...there are many others in the mid-West – network and seek them out!
While there are many great conferences across the country, they are not held every day of the week, nor weekend. You need to make the effort to boost your skills. So plan ahead – don’t wait till the last minute. None of us like "last minute Charlie’s" when we create software – so why would you do that to the conference organizers?
Not counting the sponsors who provide the funding for the events, there are many speakers and professional groups that help make each event possible. Like the Kevin Costner movie, Field of Dreams, the conferences are built on faith – that is "build it and they will come". Conference teams and speakers plan these events to increase their own skills and give back to their community – but their effort is only rewarded if people like you make the effort to boost your own skills.
Invest in yourself – attend a conference or two!
Sponsorship isn’t just for Big Companies
If you have the financial ability – your sponsor dollars go a long way to making a conference a success. The conference teams truly appreciate your support. Even a conference attendee appreciates you, albeit indirectly.
Being a sponsor doesn’t mean you have to be a large company or that you have to donate thousands of dollars; even a single Ben Franklin (e.g. $100) can go a long way to making a conference a success. So don’t hesitate to toss a few "bills" into the hat. Most conferences are put together by non-profit organizations and your donation may be very useful around April 15th. (Please check with your tax preparer)
Invest in your community – sponsor a conference or two!
What’s that you say...
...all this talk – but "do you participate". Absolutely! I am a member of the planning team for the Kalamazoo X Conference (April 25th) and I have committed to participate for the second time at the Michigan Give Camp – held in Ann Arbor (July), and later this fall, I expect to be at my third Day of .NET – Ann Arbor.
I hope to see you at one of these events!
Hope you participate in one or more events that work for you!