Tuesday, March 1, 2011

SPTechCon: Like Going Back to College

This past weekend, I took my daughter -- a high school senior -- on a couple of college visits in the Washington, D.C., area. She wants to study international relations, and while at the colleges, the advisers spelled out how her program would look. And I thought, 'Wow, that seems a lot like how we've set up SPTechCon!'

My daughter's college experience will begin, as all do, with an orientation, where she will attend sessions to get herself acclimated to life at the university. SPTechCon Boston also will begin with an orientation of sorts -- a pre-conference workshop day, at which those attendees new to SharePoint will get a full-day 'orientation' to the software. There are three different tracks -- for developers, admins and end users -- designed to get attendees acclimated with the software so they can really gain from the rest of the conference.

Next, my daughter must take 'core curriculum' courses -- a language, a math, a science, a social science -- that we were told will be held in big lecture halls on two days, with a third day broken down in a smaller group. SPTechCon also offers what we consider to be 'core' courses, the must-attend sessions that anyone working in SharePoint should know. For end users, it's "Working With Lists and Libraries," "Understanding Search," and sessions covering governance, branding and more. These classes have attracted big crowds, and we've set up the rooms at SPTechCon lecture-hall style to accommodate everyone.

From there, as she advances toward her degree, she will take classes specific to her major. These, we were told, typically are smaller sessions, taught by top on-faculty research professors and adjuncts with working experience in the field. At SPTechCon, attendees can hone in on their area of expertise -- be they architects, power users, IT admins, developers or more -- with classes that are typically smaller, but offer a deeper dive into specific areas and give attendees more of an opportunity to engage with the instructors (most of whom are MVPs recognized by Microsoft for their expertise in the technology).

And, like college, SPTechCon has plenty of 'elective' classes on such esoteric topics as 'Debunking Urban Myths Around SharePoint,'Office 365: Believe the Hype,' and 'Why is Developing for SharePoint so Darn Horrible?'

SPTechCon even hosts a 'mixer' -- we call it our exhibit hall reception -- where attendees can have a beer or wine and get to know each other.

All that's missing are the togas, and that's on our to-do list!

So consider this your 'acceptance letter' to attend SPTechCon. Now all you need to do is register. We hope you'll accept our invitation to attend.

-- Dave

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