Notes On Our First Student to IT Pro Seminar

This past week we did our first try at the Student to IT Pro Seminar, run concurrently with SQLSaturday Orlando. You can read why we did it at Some notes on the experience:

  • We registered 85, had about 70 attend
  • Mostly students, but we had a few from SQLSaturday that found it interesting
  • We spent the first 30 minutes talking about logistics and then the silos in IT, from Java/Microsoft down to the various and many titles related to SQL Server
  • Rodney Landrum then delivered a hour or so about relational databases, installing SQL Server, and some really really basic queries
  • I returned after the break (and after delivering a session at SQLSaturday) to discuss LinkedIn and social networking, career choices, and answered lots of questions, ranging from “what is business intelligence” to “should I take cert exams” to “how do I get my first IT job (and how to become a DBA)”.
  • We had a local staffing company thing spend 30 minutes with them, building on the themes of networking and knowing the target job title to help the students understand how to use staffing firms effectively, common resume mistakes, and more
  • We finished up with a raffle, and provided students with a certificate of completion and/or a signature on their schedule proving attendance, and then invited them to lunch at SQLSaturday and to attend the afternoon sessions
  • We need to send a follow email to try to connect them to oPASS/MagicPASS and to solicit more feedback
  • It’s almost impossible to make this “too beginner”. I’d bet money that your best shot at beginner is still too advanced. Advice to us for next time too!
  • A half day or less seemed about right, both for students and for us. I wish I could have sat with them at lunch to interact more (had to serve the food!) and I can see it being very handy to have more than one person available to answer questions – perhaps a networking, server, developer, DBA, maybe a few more different people, let them pick a group, or even rotate.

The response seemed very positive. We need to dig into the evals and feedback from Rodney and others, mainly to see what we could better and to work on formalizing it more – very off the cuff this year, we had good ideas and were prepared to adapt as needed.  Definitely a win though, and we’re hoping to do more and better next year. That said, it put a strain on the team running it on the same day as SQLSaturday. Nothing decided yet, but we’re thinking there is real merit to holding it 2-3 weeks prior to SQLSaturday. That would separate the logistics and allow us to give it our full focus, and hopefully we convince some of them to then register/attend SQLSaturday.

Lots of lessons still to be learned.

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