Why should you go to professional conferences?

Professional development

Conferences are a great way to get a deeper understanding of new products, ideas, theories and practices in your chosen field. Every professional organization has conferences, nurses have hundreds of organizations like AONE, AACN, and NTI. Most of these organizations use conferences to present new information. All these organizations offer training classes that give nurses CE (Continuing Education) credits for attending these lectures and presentations. The wireless world is no different. There are many wireless conferences, such as WLPC, WIFI Trek (CWNP), Cisco Live and Atmosphere (Aruba). All these conferences have presentations, Boot Camps and breakout discussions about new products, technologies, and best practices. Just as with other professional organizations, Certified Wireless Network professionals need CE credits to keep current with our certifications. These CE credits can be obtained by either going to formal classes, teaching classes or attending these conferences.


New topics

Reading about new wireless topics is something we all need to do to keep up with new technologies. Reading articles is the 1st step, but you really need to go beyond the articles and dive deeper to fully understand these new topics. You need to talk about these technologies and bounce these ideas off your colleagues to obtain a deeper understanding. You need to understand how others have implemented these ideas. These conferences offer you a way to do this in a unique way. At these conferences, you will meet and interact with people of all levels, some who have been in the industry for many years and there are others who are just starting out but are hungry to learn. When topics are presented at these conferences people ask questions you never thought of or they ask the questions in ways that you would have never thought of. These questions lead to deeper discussions that grow into conversations over meals or even later at the bar. These conversations will lead to broader topics that will be discussed later through blogs and Twitter feeds and possibly grow into topics for next year’s conferences. These conferences allow you to add to the conversations and to interact with professionals in a way you would never have gotten by simply reading articles.


Creating professional contacts

The contacts you develop at these conferences can prove to be useful throughout the year. Whether you are attending vendor-specific shows or vendor-neutral shows you are interacting with people from every major vendor. These men and women represent sales, marketing, engineering, service and different levels of support.

These contacts can become useful during the year if you run into an issue or problem with their products. Many of the people who you meet are from backline teams of these vendors. By attending these conferences, you have access to these professional that you would never get over the phone. There is no way to quantify these leads, but they can save you weeks of going through the endless loop of grabbing logs and explaining the issues two and three times to different levels of support. These relationships that are developed at these conferences with different vendors may offer quicker solutions or they may help to push issues along in their organizations.




Team development

The information and knowledge learned at these conferences can be shared with teammates throughout the year. You don’t have to send everyone on the team to every conference but each person that attends a conference will be able to share his/her experiences and lessons learned with the whole team. Conferences also give the newer or junior members of the team something to attain. Management can create incentives for your team; if teammates achieve this level cert, then management could reward them by sending them to this or that conference.


Presenting at these conferences

Presenting at these conferences can pay dividends in two unique ways sharing your knowledge with others, getting your name out there as a thought leader in each wireless topic or technology. Sharing your knowledge with others helps those you are teaching by introducing them to a new idea, technology or procedure, but it also helps you understand the topic more deeply. No matter how prepared you are there will always be someone to ask a question that gives you and the those attending a deeper understanding.

Getting your name out there as a thought leader will help you reach more people on Twitter and Slack. This can help promote your current business, project, product or even your future employment.


Product promotion

What better way to spread your company’s story, philosophy and be seen as an industry leader than having a presence at these conferences. A major presence at these shows and conferences will help you spread this story and gain valuable feedback from industry-leading experts. Exposure at these conferences can lead to broader acceptance of your product throughout the industry. Feedback from participants could help drive improvements to your products or procedures.



Top Wireless conferences

There are quite a few Wireless Conference. Here is a list of 4 of the biggest.


Wireless LAN Professional Conference (WLPC)

Started and run by Keith Parsons of Wireless LAN Professionals http://wlanpros.com


Created and run by the CWNP group https://www.cwnp.com/

Cisco Live  



Atmosphere run by HP/Aruba https://www.arubanetworks.com/atmosphere/



Thank you for reading this blog. I hope reading this blog encouraged you to attend a conference. Feel free to share this with your boss if he is on the fence about sending you to any of these conferences. Please leave comments and continue this discussion on Twitter and Slack. If you haven’t followed me on Twitter please use this link to follow me.