Looking to advance your IT career? Join the club

Active participation in IT industry associations is key to accelerating leadership growth. Here's how to reap the benefits now and throughout your career.

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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.

The value of professional associations is not from simply going to an event now and again based on the speaker’s topic or having nothing better to do that evening.  The value comes from attending meetings month-in and month-out, regardless of the topic or meeting format.

Ongoing participation in the IT association of your choice helps you:

  • Stay current on IT trends and technologies by talking with meeting sponsors and vendors.
  • Widen your perspective on the IT profession by listening to the speakers and engaging in conversations with other association members.
  • Gain insights into new service providers, software products, and vendors.

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