Tag Archives: community

Conferences for IT Services Professionals: the what, why, where and how.

Conferences for IT Services ProfessionalsAs we’ve said before, IT tools are not just physical gadgets that you can pick up and wave around the datacenter, they also include knowledge and connections or in other words – people. While there are many online communities for IT pros which we talked about in that  linked article, there are of course offline ‘meatspace’ places for meeting and greeting and learning and sharing. The infamous conference circuit is where the action is and there’s plenty of conferences to keep you busy all year around.

If you’ve never been to a conference you may be wondering what goes on there? How should you prepare? Is it worth the often not inconsiderable cost? Well the answers to those questions depends very much on what you are expecting to get from the event, what kind of event it is etc..  and yes you generally should prepare to some extent to ensure you get  the most out of it.

For many people conferences are just an excuse to get a day or three away from the office to party in a fancy hotel in Vegas on the company expense account (and of course what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas). However besides partying there are actually other reasons to attend..  networking is a big one as it’s a great chance to meet potential clients and partners, thrash out lucrative new business deals and perhaps co-found what seems like it will surely be the next hottest thing, until you sober up the next morning..

Besides that, a good conference will be packed with informative sessions by industry experts and you can certainly learn a lot so don’t forget to bring a pen & paper (or tablet/netbook if you want to go all hi-tech 😉 ) and take notes!

There will of course be schwag, or there should be as no conference could get away without the giveaway these days – the “schwag bag” is one of the key reasons for attending such events – we attendees need our free rubber stress balls, mouse mats, pens, hats, t-shirts, bags, badges, stickers, USB thingymajigs and assorted shiny things, all of course stamped with a company logo or domain name so you wont forget who provided the freebie sat on your desk or at the back of a drawer six months later.

The Events
So what does the coming year have in store for the prospective IT conference attendee? Read on for our current recommendations for IT services events..

If CISCO is your thing then you will want to be at CISCO Live which provides a working weeks worth of fun with routers. Whether you are a CCNA or CCIE or just want to get your hands on some Cisco schwag, this is the place to be.

HDI offers the ‘World Conference for Technical Services and Support’ which is attended by over 2000 people and lasts for 4 days, not including multiple pre-conference breakfasts and the like.

If you’re in the MSP line of work then you wont want to miss MSP World – you might even win $5k!

RMM service provider GFIMAX also has their own IT events around the world each year which are popular with MSP’s and IT techs.

Interop is yet another event worth checking out and as good an excuse as any to visit Las Vegas for a few days.

Gartner has events all over the place for a whole range of IT related themes so pick your poison and off you go.

Over in Europe there is the ridiculously large CeBIT conference (in fact the worlds largest IT conference) which runs for 5 days and features hundreds (if not thousands) of sessions and exhibitors and hundreds of thousands of visitors.

These days ‘the cloud’ is red hot so of course you’ll just have to head for CloudExpo in Europe if you want to stay on top of the game.

Also in Europe (UK to be precise), there is IPEXPO which bills itself as the the UK’s number one enterprise IT event. If that isn’t enough to tempt you – the whole event, featuring hundreds of sessions and hundreds of exhibitors, is FREE to attend!

If you want to get in on the latest tips, tricks and news from the search engine world then SMX is the place to be and they have events all over the world.

There are of course many, many more IT events including offerings from IBM, Microsoft, Citrix, Oracle, ASCII, CompTIA, Asterisk, VMware, SITS, HP, Parallels, Infosec, RSA, HostingCon, and not forgetting of course CES.

If you manage to attend all those and live to tell the tale – let us know!

So what are your plans for the conference circuit this year? Do you have any favorite events to recommend? Or any to avoid even? Feel free to comment below.


IT Community Resources

IT Community ResourcesTools are not just physical things which you put in a box, they come in all shapes, sizes, forms and even forums. The internet is all about connecting people so it comes as no surprise that there are many great community resources specifically for IT technicians. There are discussion forums, bulletin boards, social networks, groups, circles, tribes and more. An active community, packed with published knowledge and knowledgeable people willing to help, is itself an invaluable IT tool which will come to the rescue time and time again.

This article can’t possibly cover every such IT community resource online these days, there are simply too many but Google/Bing will no doubt turn up something that suits your particular requirements. However, below you will find some of the best of them with a bit of info about each..

Technibble is a community founded back in 2006 and aimed specifically at Computer Technicians (or those that soon will be, they say) and offers a wealth of expert articles, videos, kits and other resources as well as having active and very useful discussion forums. You can’t go wrong here if you’re in the IT services trade.

Serverfault is a great resource which is part of the massive StackExchange network of Q&A sites. Serverfault itself is for sysadmins and network admins and is a very active community.

DBA StackExchange is another good one from, well the clue is in the name, which is for database admins. But outside the StackExchange there are plenty of other places for the database challenged technician to get help such as dBforums.

SuperUser is yet another StackExchange community but this one is for “computer enthusiasts and power users” and provides plenty of info and answers for a troubled technician.

For anything Microsoft related there is of course Technet and MSDN which both have active forums which may, or may not, be more to your taste if you’re stuck with MSFT related tech issues.

Over on the infamous “front page of the internet” (as they call themselves), known to the rest of us as simply reddit you can find a whole bunch of IT related ‘sub-reddit’ communities such as SysAdmin, Linux Admin, Network Security, IT Dept, Tech Support and of course Tales from Tech Support. There are of plenty more to be found if you dig around the subreddits but this list should be a good place to start – just don’t go getting sidetracked with the ever popular cat pics though!

If you’re still not satisfied and want MORE communities for tech guys, then check out the aptly named Tech Guy forums and if you’re over in India then perhaps the Tech Gig community will answer the call.

As with many things in life, you get out what you put in – as a quick source of answers to tricky problems, the above mentioned communities will certainly come in handy. However if you actively participate in such communities and contribute your own answers to questions from others then you will certainly benefit far more in the long run and they will become an essential IT tool that will always be there when you need.