We’re in the thick of it now – Conference aka “Drinking from the Firehose” Season is upon us.
From now until October, the conversation around the water cooler and SLACK channel’s are going to be focused on one thing.
What conference are you going to this year?
And if you didn’t get your first pick or your choice was assigned to you – the follow-up questions might include…
Where is it?
Is there anything to do there?
Who are you going with?
I don’t have anything against Conferences, as a means to disseminate large amounts of information to a group of individuals they are great. They are the firehoses of communication to get an idea out to as many people as possible and try to do it in an intimate way as possible.
They are meant to get you excited about doing work when you leave the conference, when you come back to the office with this new found information and want to try something new, change the world, put a dent it, etc, etc.
How many times have you done that?
How many times have you watched all the sessions you missed?
How many times have you implemented what you saw in a conference into a shipping product for release in the next few months?
With the above questions in mind, if Conferences are your primary source of training and you’re not implementing what you have learned into your work in the next 2 – 3 weeks from when you’ve returned from the conference then what value has it brought to your growth.
(I emphasize growth and learning here because I know conference trips serve other values such as team bonding and enjoyment).
If you were to take the funds to be used on you attending that conference what would you do differently to ensure you apply them to your growth path?
Buy twenty Udemy courses?
Register for a year-long Plural Sight subscription.
Sign up for a developer cloud account with all the cool features on it (not only the three ones).
Integrate that decaying “customer required” app into your main code base and get a feel for what it truly does?
The options are endless, I’m sure with half the funds available to you, you invariably take a different approach to your learning.
Conferences are about mass consumption where the other niche training options above are about learning.
Am I looking for Training or Mass Consumption?
What you hope to get out of each is vastly different and applying one goal (I want to learn) to the wrong implementation (firehose) will leave you feeling discouraged in the end.
Know what you want, ignore the hype and figure out the path you need to take to get there and make it happen.
But know that you have the power to make the right choice for your growth.