One of the many things I do to keep current on some of the techy toys I use every day is attend professional development events.
Even way back when I was a newshound, I’d go to all the professional development events hosted by the professional associations.
Image by TheBeej via Flickr
The latest trend is to go to events not associated with any one specific profession or trade, but rather some sort of product or service.
Case in point, I just registered for a local Adobe InDesign User Group meeting, which takes place later this month. InDesign is a high-end desktop publishing application, used to layout everything from newspapers and magazines, to complete books, encyclopedias and more.
Can’t get more geeky than getting together with a bunch of like minded geeks, sitting in a lecture hall, and discussing shortcuts to save you time in some software application.
But the free coffee, fruit platters, and other assorted munchies they have is a big draw. Actually, the free food doesn’t draw people in, but the networking opportunities do.
During the event, and especially during the breaks when everyone can mix and mingle, you can meet all sorts of interesting characters, in fields related to the one you happen to be in.
I certainly get hounded by the younger members of the crowd, always eager to show me their latest CV, asking if I’m hiring or know someone who is.
Maybe I should stop shinning my shoes, or dress more like a kid out of college, because for some oddball reason, people often assume I’m the one to kiss up to, to get a job.
Aside from the youngin’s drooling over the potential employment op
Image via Wikipediaportunities that don’t really exist, I find it invigorating talking with others using the software in different fields.
After spending some time yaking with them, you quickly realize that we all encounter the same sorts of issues, but in different ways.
An advertising agency designer has to figure out how to resolve the color balances between the different hues represented on her monitor, and that of how the actual printed document will look on glossy posterboard.
A person trying to self-publish her book discovers that some of the templates for books don’t conform to standard publishing dimensions, and if she were to use these templates, she’d have to re-design her whole book should it get to a printing house.
I sit through the user group, enjoy the discussion, but not being a Mac-head (I use PCs) often scratch my head and wonder what key combination to use, whenever they demonstrate a cool feature using the “Apple” key – which my PC doesn’t have. And no, it isn’t always replaced by the “Windows” key – which you’d think makes logical sense.
Free munchies are nice, but the real draw for me, and the other ultra cool geeks in the room, is the sharing of knowledge.
And no webcams, chat rooms, or social networking sites were used either – which says something for the value of real-time, face-to-face communications.