Conferences. For some, that word brings out a sigh as they picture boring speakers that go on for days. A new age of conferences has arisen and become a very important tool in networking, learning about the field, and keeping up to date on the latest developments. Essentially, conferences are about throwing some of the most important people in a particular industry or career field and forcing them to teach and interact with each other. These meetings are designed for those already working at the companies, but those are not the people who are going to get the most benefit from the speakers, panels, and dinners that comprise a conference.
The people that have the most to gain from attending conferences are undergraduate students, recent graduates, and those looking to switch career fields. They are the ones who can benefit from listening to speakers who talk about current research in the field, meeting managers and heads of divisions of the big companies in the field, and talking to people already employed to see what it is truly like to work in that career. These are the people that conferences need to be marketing to because they have the most to gain. How else is an undergraduate going to know if they are better off working in engineering or computer systems? Conferences allow an unparalleled chance for learning and reaching out to others that students may never meet otherwise. They can network and find jobs while also showing companies the kind of talent that is soon to be entering the workforce.
Conferences can be utilized by both employers and future employees to start a process of learning about new advances, making friends, and connecting as a community that serves the same career field.