The Conference Springboard

It’s been a little over a week since the 2019 PASS Summit and Ignite conferences ended. These are two of the largest events for data platform pros, and quite a few people either attended or watched some streaming from the events. I didn’t attend sessions at either one, and I have been trying to stream a few of the sessions as I find time.

John Morehouse, of DCAC, wrote a nice piece at the end of the 2019 PASS Summit as he was thinking about how to grow his career after the event. He included a few things that he wants to do, such as looking over notes, touching new contacts, and sharing his knowledge. His post is worth a read, and you might follow along and try some of John’s ideas.

I am a huge fan of notes, and really, paper notes. I’ve had a laptop for decades, I’ve had a screen I could write on for eight or so years, and I’ve found that nothing replicates the feeling of writing notes on paper. Perhaps it’s the slower pace, or the ease with which I can scratch out something (as opposed to the backspace, backspace, backspace method). I find that writing things down helps me remember. I don’t go back and review them too often, but I do at times. If you didn’t take notes at this event, plan for the future. If you did, glance through them before you start sharing information with others.

At a few places I worked, the boss actually scheduled a half day or so (or hour meetings across a few days) in order for conference attendees to share some things with others. Attendees might present something to others, or just talk about sessions they attended. I do like the USB sticks (or downloads) that PASS lets you buy. If you attended, they’re steeply discounted. If you didn’t, they’re still reasonable. This is the chance to capture the presentations and watch those that conflicted with your schedule. I know a few people will do lunch and learns, watching a session a day for weeks. Some user groups do this as well. It’s a great way to think about how you can improve something at work and show an ROI.

I think networking is the best reason to go to a conference and not just because you might want a new job. Certainly that can be one outcome, but the best part of networking for me has been the ability to reach out later to someone and ask a question. This isn’t just to the MVPs, speakers, and other big names. I’ve made contacts that used similar software or had environments configured like mine. Being able to ask them if they have solutions has helped me at different points in my career. Make sure you reach out to people on LinkedIn if you met them. If you met me, please feel free to connect.

A conference is a fun, busy, inspiring, tiring, and exciting event to attend. I’m very lucky I’ve attended many, and even if you’ve only gone to one, you ought to feel the same way.  Whether it’s a week at a large event or a day at a SQL Saturday, take some time and ensure you get something out of the week to carry you along for the next few months.

P.S. If you want to share some knowledge with a wider audience, I’d love an article on something you learned at a conference.

Steve Jones

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