IT Professionals: How PHIWUG Can Help Your Technical Career
My thoughts are racing once again, and I need to let this out. Too long to post in PHIWUG’s Facebook account, so I will just write it in my blog.
The IT professional world is full of technically proficient folks. Yes of course, that is OUR line and that’s what we are paid to do. But based on my IT career experience, one cannot become a network engineer forever. Sooner or later one would need to break out into something beyond administering and engineering.
And this is where community user groups like the Philippine Windows Users Group (PHIWUG) comes in to help us in our career development.
Most of us think that attending PHIWUG events would give us the technical knowledge to do our jobs. This is not necessarily so. If you ask me as a speaker in community events, more often than not, the topics shared by PHIWUG are too much for most of the attendees, and they end up getting nothing practical by way of new technical knowledge. Why? Because chances are, PHIWUG would have featured a new technology, which for someone passionate about technology, would just salivate on it. However, since that person does not have business development responsibilities in the company, the new knowledge ends up as a general FYI and not really practically usable in the organization.
In fact, the only practical takeaway an attendee gets may be free dinner.
Break out from an “engineering” mindset
IT professionals, you need to break out into something beyond the engineering role. An IT professional sooner or later becomes a trainer, a consultant, a presales technology specialist, an architect, a project manager, and so on and so forth. For all of these roles, different levels of technology knowledge is needed. However, one skill is A MUST in all of these roles: PRESENTATION. Yes, the IT professional cannot hide behind his or her console forever. One sooner or later needs to get out, get dressed, stand in front of people and talk to them about our technology. If you are currently in an engineering role in your company unfortunately you may not have the opportunity to get out in front of people to present.
PHIWUG will give you that opportunity. While you’re reading this, you may be aware that PHIWUG has regular community events. Where do they get their speakers from? People from the community who are very eager to share their stuff! Public speaking is something not natural for most if not all of these folks (including myself). Our only strength comes from that overflowing passion to share the tachnology with the community. If you are a well-versed public speaker and attend a PHIWUG event, you would know. PHIWUG speakers do not follow the usual norms of public speaking simply because they speak from the heart. The formal skills and confidence in public speaking comes later on :)
Even the best PHIWUG speakers started with trembling hands and knees!
If you have that desire yet you think “Oh, the PHIWUG speakers are so good I’m nothing compared to them,” well stop that thought! If it’s a consolation to you, all of us PHIWUG speakers started with trembling knees and mouse clicks that don’t hit their mark because of nervousness! Everyone started from nothing, so better start now! Lucky for you there is an opportunity where you can mess up your presentation and NOT get fired because of it! There are different levels of being in front presenting during events. One can be the speaker for the event, or one can assist with the demos and have little or even no speaking roles, just to build up confidence little by little. So take this opportunity to build up your career with the necessary skills. Oh, did I mention that you get to rub elbows with experts in their field? That’s another bonus!
Call to action
For one to get the most out of PHIWUG community events, one has to get out of the attendee’s chair and get onto the speaker’s podium. Talk to your PHIWUG leads and tell them you are interested in a speaking/demoing role, and participate actively in the PHIWUG Facebook discussions. It will give you the confidence and necessary skills later in your career. You want to get some skills out of PHIWUG events? Attend! You want to get THE MOST out of PHIWUG events? Deliver!