Ajarn Mark Caldwell Blog

Bringing Business Sense to the IT World…

Professional Groups and Continuing Education

What are you doing to keep your edge in this competitive world?  Do you belong to any professional groups or Special Interest Groups (SIGs)?  Do you actively participate in any form of continuing education?

Tonight I went to the local SQL Server Users Group meeting where we had a speaker from Microsoft talking about What's New in DTS 2005.  It was a great presentation.  Definitely whets the appetite for playing around and seeing what you can do, and at the same time, gave enough information to be able to converse knowledgably with clients or prospective clients who might have a need for this technology.  I have not attended as often as I would like because of other obligations, but when I can go, I always get something good out of it.

And I don't limit myself just to SQL Server specific stuff.  There are developer user groups for many different languages, Project Management groups, and one that has been particularly interesting to me:  SIGCHI - Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction.  I have learned a ton about usability from this group.  The first meeting I attended with them, they had a nationally respected expert on web site (especially e-commerce sites) usability.  I learned a lot about some really simple things to make sites more usable for people.

Some people like to just read industry journals and magazines, or may subscribe to email newsletters like I do to Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox, but there's nothing quite like getting out of your home or office and meeting people face-to-face.  Just do it!  And keep growing!