The professional development (pre-)conference

I’m writing this ‘blog article from my hotel room in Rochester, NY, the night before SQL Saturday #953. As is tradition at most SQL Saturdays that I attend, I went to the speaker’s dinner tonight. It’s always a wonderful time getting together with #SQLFamily, and tonight was no exception.

An interesting conversation came up between me, Deborah Melkin, Andy Yun, Jen McCown, and Elizabeth Noble: how feasible would a professional development pre-conference session be? Jen mentioned the idea of a “career direction” pre-con. I don’t remember everything else that we discussed (I was pretty tired), but a few thoughts were tossed about, and I’m intrigued with the idea.

Matt Cushing and I have talked in the past about doing a joint presentation. I told him about our conversation, and mentioned the idea of putting together a networking pre-con (we both do presentations about networking). He seemed pretty intrigued. And if that wasn’t enough, Paresh Motiwala told me that I should set aside May 16 on my calendar — apparently, he is planning on a “Professional Development Saturday” conference for that date!

As someone who presents about professional development topics, I am highly intrigued and encouraged by these conversations. The big takeaway for me is that professional development topics are taken very seriously by technical professionals, and are not necessarily the “ugly stepchild” of technical conferences.

I’m looking forward to seeing where these conversations end up going. Perhaps you’ll see me and others doing professional development conferences and pre-cons sometime soon. Stay tuned!