I'm a project manager by day. Once I dedicated myself to this career path, I attained my Project Management Professional (PMP) certification in 2008. I've been a member of the Project Management Institute (PMI) ever since. This shows that I understand the general practices and that I know what I'm doing.
In order to keep our certifications current, members are required to earn Professional Development Units in our field. This is accomplished through such activities like training, teaching, and even working in the field.
One of the areas in which I obtain PDUs is by attending conferences. Here in the Detroit area there is a conference held annually.. By attending, I can obtain 40% of the annual average requirements. I debated on whether to attend this year, as I have some ‘carry over' units from last period, but ultimately decided to attend.
Benefits of Attending Professional Conferences
I attend conferences for a variety of reasons. These provide great benefit to my career.
- Professional Credits. As I mentioned, we get credits toward required project management practice and learning by attending. Conferences are a great way to meet your required credits or training.
- Knowledge. Our conference has a variety of presentations and panels. Here you learn about areas which are directly tied with your interests or areas of practice. A form of project management called ‘Agile' is one of the newer and more popular practices. Since this is not in practice at my job. So, I learned more about it at my conference.
- Networking. Conferences are full of people in your profession. This makes it a great place to network. You can stay in touch, exchange information and ideas. It can also be a place where you can find your next job!
- Resume builder. Did you know that conferences can help your resume? Showing potential employers that you have standard industry knowledge can give you an edge.
- They're often a perk. Many employers will pay for the conference fees. Hopefully you can go without having to take time off. You'll usually get a free meal. Either way, it's a day away from the office!
Industry conferences can be a great way to boost your knowledge, give you an edge in your industry, or give you food for thought in areas where you may want to concentrate your future attention.
Readers, does your career industry provide you with the opportunity to attend focused conferences? In what ways have you benefited from attending a conference? Have you ever attended one that was a complete waste of time? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.