Many IT practitioners of all organizational levels have longstanding opinions on the value of personal involvement in professional associations. They vary widely from considering it the most important factor in their professional success to being a total waste of time. I know senior IT leaders who strongly suggest their staff become involved in industry-related activities, and others who strongly discourage membership or attendance at professional association meetings, user conferences, and other collections of IT executives or practitioners.
It’s been my experience, both personally and through the observation of others, that the value you receive from professional associations is directly correlated to your level of personal participation and involvement. Participation is showing up at meetings, listening to the speakers, and networking with others as the meeting schedule/agenda allows. Involvement is joining the local chapter’s board of directors, helping plan an event, or otherwise contributing to the association.
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