Professional Development

Daniel333Daniel333 Member Posts: 2,077 ■■■■■■□□□□
I just recently attended a huge presentation given to my department at a company called L'italie.
They stessed that being involved in IT communities was the most important thing I could be doing to develop my career possibilities while I am training myself technology wise.

They pressed, Linkedin, podcasting, message boards and joining professional IT organizations. They spent nearly 45 minutes talking about deleting your "high school/college" web-self and how to create a true professional image.

On and on they went about how web 2.0 was about your digital image.

So I am Asking what non-training things have you all done to develop yourself? Or is all this fluff?

The recommendations they had for me,
1) Finish my BA
2) Join a Professional Organization
3) Volunteer, in attempt to gain an award or recognition
4) Share what I do know through podcasting and message boards
5) Use a professional social networking site like linkedin

They actually very much devalued IT certifications and stressed up social networking and what to me seemed like smoke and mirrors.

Thoughts? Anyone else attended anything like this?


  • royalroyal Member Posts: 3,352 ■■■■□□□□□□
    1. I have a blog under my real name where I create lengthy articles with pictures on how to do Exchange stuff. Most of the people in my company know about my blog and commend me for it. Many of the senior engineers and engineers have stated it has helped them quite a bit when doing the relevant tasks.
    2. I help a lot in forums under my real name
    3. I participate a lot in our company's distribution group dedicated to Unified Communications.
    4. I offer engineers help with Exchange, ISA, and OCS when they need help understanding something that I understand. I always make myself 100% willing to help. I always go out of my way to make sure another does not feel uncomfortable with the work they are doing. If they do feel uncomfortable and I feel comfortable with what they are doing, I will help them out even if it is on my own time.
    5. I do a lot of reading and keep up on brand new technologies and betas. Because of this, I am usually a go to guy at work.
    6. I use linkedin which I never log into.

    I only have a couple years of experience. But I do a lot of reading and I play a lot with labs and I have a really good memory in regards to reading text. All of those combined help me do the things I have explained above.

    Keep in mind, not all of the above is for everybody. It's a lot of work and you can't just do it for recognition. You really have to have a passion for helping people.

    Another example of one of things I plan on doing is as follows. When the next version of Exchange is out, I plan on studying and studying and studying it when it first hits beta. I will attend every webcast, attend every chat, and play with it as much as possible. I will contribute a lot to my blog as well as do presentations and demos at something called the Chicago Windows User Group.

    Basically, one of the things that will set you apart at your company, is staying on top of a brand new product and helping people. This is huge but is more for the consulting realm of things imo but can also be for the local IT guy if they are in very early planning stages of deploying a product. You can read up a lot on the product and play with it, so when the time comes, you are the man.
    “For success, attitude is equally as important as ability.” - Harry F. Banks
  • eMeSeMeS Member Posts: 1,875
    Your post it doesn't indicate that they gave you enough information about the 'whys', or results from doing each of those things listed. Also, without knowing you it's hard to say if they missed something. I agree with your smoke and mirrors comment.

    I do disagree with "Volunteer, in attempt to gain an award or recognition", and IMO this taints much of this organization's advice. This is not the reason to volunteer. Volunteer first because you want to help, and second because you you want to build contacts. You get a "reward" automatically when you volunteer which is that you feel good when you help someone; you get another "reward" when people see in that setting what you're capable of and it possibly results in a new friend or an opportunity further down the line.

    I would like to know what they mean by "use" LinkedIn. I think LinkedIn is useful, and I am there. However, I question the value of LinkedIn when I see people that seem to be in some kind of race to add as many contacts and join as many groups as possible. This seems to be building contacts, but isn't useful because you don't know them and you probably add very little value to one another.

    Their thoughts about certifications are questionable as well. One of the reasons that IT certifications exist is because universities/schools weren't producing enough knowledgable people that could professionally operate complex technology that companies needed to deploy to run their business. IMO the hand of the free market decided (decides) the need for and value of IT certifications.

    One thing that was a big help for me early in my career was Toastmasters. I learned a lot about managing meetings, preparing speeches and presentations, and speaking on the fly. Developing these skills had a direct result for me in that it directly resulted in opportunity because of being able to speak in front of groups of all sizes. In fact, I am speaking at a conference later this summer that will directly result in consulting work for me.

    The downside to Toastmasters, IMO, is all of the extra stuff that comes along with it. They have a complex governance structure, and generally encourage people to get involved in it. Sometimes you will see people get into Toastmasters and get engulfed in all of the organizational nonsense that seems to feed itself and IMO offers no real result.

  • UnixGuyUnixGuy Are we having fun yet? Mod Posts: 4,426 Mod
    I always help other engineers in my company and many administrators from other companies whenever I am asked and know the answer.

    And just talking to IT professionals helps showing you the big picture, and helps you make the right decisions career-wise.

    Scarcity mentality doesn't work in IT, there is a room for everybody here, and we all get stuck sometimes.

    Check out my YouTube Channel!

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