But then, I saw this question on Ask SQL Server Central. It’s from a college student, not yet twenty-one, who was considering paying his (assuming it’s a guy since their handle is ‘Eagle Scout’) own way to the Summit and wondered if it would be worth it. It pains me to say that I suggested that he not do it.
Don’t get me wrong. I think the PASS Summit is probably the single greatest resource you have to advance your career. Where else can you go to get that broad a choice in training? Where else can you go to get that many of the leaders of our industry, specializing in all aspects of SQL Server and the Microsoft stack, sharing their knowledge? Where else can you expect to have extended networking opportunities with those same leaders and all our peers? Easy answer right? Nowhere. It’s a unique place and a unique opportunity. So I’m nuts for telling this guy not to go, right? I don’t think so.
This case is unique. We’re talking about someone who is not yet employed in this industry, still in school, paying their own way out to this event. Not just paying for the event, but for the travel, the lodging, the food… It’s not a small expenditure. In fact, it carries a pretty hefty price tag. Someone in his situation, I couldn’t, in good conscience, recommend it.
What about the rest of you? I’ve heard people say that it costs too much, that it’s not worth it, that you can get the same information for free online, that there are better teachers elsewhere. So you don’t really need to spend the money either, right?
Right. Don’t go. Don’t spend that money. Seriously…
That way, those of us who recognize the unique value this conference offers will have a major leg-up on the rest of you in the job market. Not that there aren’t jobs enough for everyone. But the better jobs, the exciting and interesting jobs, those are going to go to people who are investing in their future by learning more, networking more and striving to achieve more. In short, the PASS Summit attendees who show up and take part. I can’t tell you how many people I know that are currently working at what they consider to be their dream job that point to the PASS Summit as the single biggest factor in landing that job. I do.
Stay home. Read a few blog posts. Don’t bother networking through events like SQL Saturday or your local user group. Certainly don’t travel to Charlotte and sit through sessions by industry leaders in order to ask them engaging and pertinent questions that will immediately help you improve on your company’s bottom line by improving the speed, safety or accessibility of its data. Save that money. Save that time. After all, you’re already in your dream job. Right?