Like many of you, I am often asked about the value of professional associations like AITP. People want to know why they should invest their time to do more "work". While there are many tangible benefits of membership, such as discounts to products and services, the answer often deals with intangible benefits such as opportunities for networking and growth.
AITP offers OPPORTUNITIES for its members in the areas of Education, Networking, Advocacy, and Leadership. Stated another way, AITP offers opportunities for personal and professional GROWTH. And it is those members who seize the opportunities, who will advance and grow in their IT careers.
One of these opportunities is networking. You see the advantage of networking through chapter meetings. You interact with fellow IT professionals when you go to conferences and education sessions. But there are other networking opportunities as well. Through AITP you can network with thousands of IT professionals throughout the association, often without ever leaving your desk. You can take advantage of these opportunities by participating in the AITP forums and by joining AITP committees and task forces.
AITP Forums A recent survey of AITP members showed that one of the benefits they desired the most was the ability to virtually discuss issues with their peers. In response, AITP established discussion forums on a number of topics. There are dozens of forums available to members, with topics like: jobs, security, hardware, software, wireless, certification, projects management, ethics, IT skills, leading edge technology, and so on.
One of the advantages of AITP is our diversity. Our members are from all different facets of the IT industry. We are mix of executives, middle managements, consultants, programmers, students, faculty, etc. It is through this diversity that we can really learn from each other. The AITP discussion forums offer the opportunity to reach out to people you may never otherwise meet.
The funny thing about discussion forums is that they are only a benefit if they are used. The more you post, the more others will post. So ask a question. Provide an answer to someone else's question. Discuss an issue. Learn from your peers and help them learn from you, through the AITP forums.
The AITP discussion forums are available to you at the AITP web portal. You can even have the web portal notify you when someone responds to a particular post. Check out the AITP forums and discover a new way to network with IT professionals.
AITP Committees and Task Forces Another way to network and to grow is through AITP Committees and Task Forces. There are many opportunities at the local chapter, region, and association level to network with peers, lend your expertise and learn new techniques. You can serve as a "thought leader" within the profession. You can build new alliances and partnerships. You can practice new skills that you can take back to your employer. And it doesn't have to take much time.
As a non-profit association, AITP relies on its volunteers to build or enhance programs that benefit all AITP members. You can further the IT profession while enhancing your own skills by taking part in these committees. Contact your chapter leaders about opportunities in your local community. Opportunities also exist to participate in association-wide activities and to network with fellow IT professionals across the country and beyond.
Click here to review the association-wide committees and task forces. See where you can seize the opportunity to network with fellow IT professionals, learn from them, and grow both professionally and personally. Send an email to AITP headquarters at firstname.lastname@example.org and let them know what committees and task forces you would like to participate in. Your participation will be an investment in your future.
NCC - An Opportunity for both Professionals and Students The National Collegiate Conference (NCC) will be held at the Adams Mark Hotel in Dallas, Texas, March 30 - April 1, 2006. This year, the NCC committee put to together an outstanding program. And it is not just for students. The educational sessions are "professional grade", on a wide variety of technical, development, infrastructure and executive topics. Here is an opportunity to network with fellow IT professionals, participate in outstanding educational programs, and to interact with current and future leaders of our profession. Employers, there are many opportunities for your company to reach the best and brightest IT students, before your competition does. Check out the opportunities at www.aitp.org/ncc.
Student Membership Campaign The student membership campaign is in full swing. Students save $10 if they join or renew in February 2006. And there will be drawings for PDAs among those new and renewing students. The strength of AITP is our support of students, who are the future of our profession. Promote AITP at your colleges and universities. Help students and faculty alike learn about the opportunities to network and grow with AITP.