The world at its current state is more connected. Everyone of us are connected to other in many means like FB, Twitter, LinkedIn and so on. There are lot of platforms that make this human connection possible.
With many ways to connect each other, multiple times many asked me about why it is still necessary to attend some techno group gathering or conferences or class room trainings. It put me onto investigating it with a bigger lens. Trying to understand more on what we gain while we attend conferences when internet is providing you every detail that you want to know about technology or product or a person. Basically, ROI for attending conferences, meet-ups and so on.
I want to plot this in 2 different planes –
Learning and sharing opportunities
I classify learning into 3 different styles –
1) Completely documented – This could be anything from your API documentation, Implementation guide, Reference documents, etc. All these materials provide details about everything you need to know about the product or software. This is available 100% over the internet. Some examples would be udacity, coursera, safari books online, etc
2) Half way documented – It would be nice to hear from the implementer itself to know about what made them to include the feature to the software or expose the API, etc. This is something that you will get while looking at YouTube where some tech enthusiast review the product or software online.
3) No documentation at all – Developer conferences like Google IO, FB Dev conference, Apple WWDC, Microsoft Build, etc are good example of this case where it helps you experience all of the three that I mentioned here and nothing is documented before.
Above all, its not just the learning experience, you get an opportunity to participate with others, network in person with other folks who use similar tools like yours, etc. It gives opportunity to know what others are doing and sometimes help acting as a checklist for your course correction.
Experience and knowledge sharing
1) Presentation skills and highlighted topics – When you attend presentations you get to know about the presenter and the style of presentation. Even though internet provides in depth knowledge about the details on the product that you look for, sometimes presentation bullet points highlight important features.
2) Experience sharing – This I think is one of the most important prospect in attending conferences. Not just one or two illustrations, you get plenty of real-time experiences hearing out from other fellow attendees. This is worth it all.
The person who attends the conference gets all these benefits, however at the same time, it should also benefit those folks in your team who couldn’t make it to the conference. Gained and acquired experience should be shared with the team colleagues.
Happy learning and networking!