Bumbershoot is the big music festival in Seattle. For one fixed price you can roam the grounds and take in music from any of half a dozen stages. There are hard choices to be made. Every time you choose to listen at one stage you are also choosing to skip the music available on the other stages. That same principle is true at SHARE as well. Every session you choose to attend means you’re also choosing not to attend the other ten or so sessions occurring at the same time. That makes for some hard choices too.
My recipe for a successful SHARE?
- Lots of care and feeding for your special area of interest. So if you are a CICS systems programmer then the majority of sessions you attend should be in the CICS track.
- Throw in some sessions in related areas. That same CICS systems programmer could also attend some DB2, MQ and IMS sessions. After all CICS doesn’t exist in a vacuum.
- Include some modernization sessions. CICS is one of the focal points for mainframe modernization, so be sure to attend some mobile sessions and some sessions on Web enabling CICS.
- Add some sessions that pique your interest. For instance today I attended the session Leading Edge Technology from IBM’s z System Research by Donna Dillenberger. I can’t honestly say I’ll ever put what I learned into practice, but it was a thought provoking session by an excellent presenter and an hour well spent.
- Attend sessions unrelated to your special area of interest. It never hurts to learn a little bit about other areas. For that same CICS systems programmer, attend a Linux or VM session or a session on mentoring. It is guaranteed you will walk out of those sessions knowing something you didn’t know walking in.
- Attend a hands–on session. SHARE offers a wide variety of labs. Remember once you get home you’ll be expected to take what you learned and put it into practice. What better way to get a jump on that than by taking a capability through its paces while at SHARE?
- Explore the host city. Part of what SHARE has to offer is location, location, location. Pittsburgh is different from Seattle is different from Orlando which is different from San Antonio (where the next SHARE will be held). Make sure at the end of the week you spent enough time to get a taste of the city (as opposed to “the hotel was nice!”).
Of course what really makes for a successful SHARE is that it meets your requirements for a successful SHARE. Decide what you want to get out of it and then demand those things from your time spent at the conference.
One last point. Kudos to the SHARE mobile app. Very easy to use and it allows you to set up your day beforehand, including the ability to overload sessions. So if you attend a session and then decide it’s not a good fit for you, just walk out (that’s always your prerogative!) and consult your mobile app to see what you set up as plan B for that time slice. Plus once in a session you can even take notes right in the session definition in the app itself. Very nice!