Next week at the PASS Community Summit, we will unveil the newest chapter of PASS, the Professional Development Virtual Chapter. Previously known as SIGs (Special Interest Groups) these have been renamed as Virtual Chapters, which I think is a better description. After all, they are organized and run like any other chapter of PASS, except that they are not constrained by geography or proximity of its membership. And the phrase “Special Interests” has taken on such a negative political connotation lately, that I am happy to be distancing ourselves from that.
Arnie Rowland, Jason Massie and I have been preparing for the launch of this new chapter for the last few months and we’re excited to roll it out at the Summit. Professional Development is a topic that is particularly dear to me. I spent four years on the Program Committee selecting speakers for the Professional Development track for past Summits, and I have a series of posts here about working as an independent contractor, and other thoughts on doing business right.
Although we are officially a PASS chapter, it is our intent to address the topic of Professional Development on a more broad scale than just SQL Server professionals. Much of what will be discussed is applicable to SQL Server DBAs and Developers, Oracle DBAs and Developers, ASP.NET Developers, and technical managers alike. In fact, Arnie and I had a lively debate early in the life of our group related to this topic, and we plan to open that up to the broader membership to join in the conversation. And that leads me to another of our goals with the chapter, which is to spur conversation. Jason has done a lot of work to turn our chapter web site into a medium for ongoing conversation, and not just a static page with a notice about the date and speaker for the next meeting. While we will have regular meetings with speakers presenting on relevant topics, it is our hope that those will merely act as starting points for new conversations.
To get more information about this new chapter, come find me at the Meet the Chapters lunch event on Thursday. I will be hosting a table for our new chapter, so please stop by and say “HI” and I’ll be happy to share some more details.
I will also be joining Arnie at the Birds of a Feather (BOF) lunch event on Tuesday where he is hosting a table on the subject of “What Is Professional Development for a SQL Professional?”. Jason will also be hosting a table on Tuesday under the heading of “Social Networking: Geek DBA to Butterfly”. Please stop by either of these and join in the conversation!