Where do you get your “In Person” fix?

imageMy team is in the midst of our planning cycle right now and a question came up that has me scratching my head. “What conferences or face to face activities do technical professionals in Canada attend in order to get training and keep up to date on what’s out there?” Times have changed – there used to be a lot of conferences and activities years ago – but what about now? Oh – I am also talking about ones NOT PUT ON BY MICROSOFT.  I’m trying to think outside of the box here. Drop me an email (rick.claus@microsoft.com), tweet me a reply (@ricksterCDN) or comment below if you please!

I’ve been hypothesizing over the last couple of weeks as I’ve been heading out to the community activities on the Virtualization Reality tour and talking with the folks afterwards over pints.  Developers / entrepreneurs / start-ups have the {fill-in-your-name}camp activities (DemoCamp, CloudCamp, CodeCamp etc). When I used to work for various consulting companies – we had internal lunch and learn and team knowledge building activities on a regular basis.  But what do “The Infrastructure Types” attend? 

There has to be more out there.

This is part of a larger conversation that I’ve been having with myself (ok – and others too, I don’t just talk to myself). You’ve heard me talk about investing in yourself and your skills – external training / info sessions / partner events are one avenue to stretch that training budget.  It still takes a withdrawal on your personal time budget.  Going out and participating in community driven technology meetups / user groups / professional associations also take a tax on your personal time, but it’s a necessary evil.

Do you take the time to make this type of investment? If so – where do you go? I ask once again: “What conferences or face to face activities do technical professionals in Canada attend in order to get training and keep up to date on what’s out there?” Drop me an email (rick.claus@microsoft.com), tweet me a reply (@RicksterCDN) or comment below if you please!

I’ll write up a summary of all the responses from across Canada for all to see.

Note: I didn’t call out TechDays on purpose. We will be sharing our plans for TechDays this year in the coming weeks.

Comments (10)

  1. Ed says:

    I would like to see more of an in depth day of training and not as much on the sales pitch. I don't think you need to sell us on most of the new releases. An example would be something like a simplized [not too in depth] version of Thin PC. From scratch to ending. Of course certain things would be needed to be left out.

  2. marco_shaw says:


    Definitely suggests stuff for future sessions.  I find these "not too in depth" sessions are great for TechDays sessions (www.techdays.ca) which are in the 60 minute range.  That way everyone across Canada gets the info also.


  3. Mike F says:

    I attend PMI conferences and Leadership Meetings as well as local events put on by PMI Nova Scotia, CIPS, NovaKnowledge and the local annual Professional Development Symposium.  I also get to our local Halifax User Group SharePoint meeting (Yes – that's HUG SharePoint) and recently attended the first Canadian Day of DNN.

  4. Mike F says:

    … and of course, Tech Days in Halifax.  🙂  

  5. Daryl Rasmussen says:

    – I try to attend DevTeach/SQL Teach about every other year (in Vancouver usually, as the conferences in Montreal & Toronto are just too far for me, and probably most westerners).

    – Local IT User group events are ok.  I go to as many as I can.

    – On line!  Web casts, recorded events, etc. are my primary go-to these days.

  6. james says:

    What I try to do is initiate a project with some new technology that I want to learn. Then I teach myself from the web and deliver the project.

  7. Kirk Munro says:

    TechEd and The Experts Conference are my two favorites (aside from the MVP Summit of course).  It's hard to get truly deep dive content from most conference sessions, but there are always a few nuggets at TechEd and The Experts Conference definitely provides very rich, in-depth information without fluff.

  8. shawn lukaschuk says:

    WCISC in Winnipeg for information security. http://www.wcisc.ca/

  9. Richard Reukema says:

    With the announcements of Azure, and all the uncertainty around Silverlight/WPF, and the Build Conference – I hesitate to answer this question.  To me, the MS roadmap on technology forward, is a very confusing mess right now.  How can you consider training, when you don't know what to invest in until September?

    I would love to see MS put on a monthly session, where a serious technical expert would put together notes for the "rough" spots in any technology – WCF, SharePoint, WPF, SQL, Rx, WCF Ria Services, WCF Data Service, WCF Web API, REST, MVVM.

    You could also consider just making your experts available to various user groups in every city, and have "experts" do a session during their meetings.  It would be a much better way to get closer to the community, and also meet the leaders in various technologies within each city.

  10. Sean Heuchert says:

    Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS) Local Chapter meetings are my best opportunity for a little PD and some F2F with local IT Pros.  Great discussion and sharing with my peers.  My local chapter (Kawartha) meets monthly from Sept to May, you are welcome anytime.  Agree with Ed that I prefer to reserve that F2F time to talk about solutions and implementations, best practices etc…I'll do the sales pitch by webex if I need it.

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