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What conferences and workshops should I spend my professional development budget on for 2017?

over 4 years ago from , Product Designer

Hi everyone, Does anyone have suggestions for some great 2017 Design conferences in North America? Also looking for design workshops to up my UX skills within Toronto CA.

7 comments

  • Michael WongMichael Wong, over 4 years ago

    I've been to many design conferences etc.

    I honestly would recommend you to save/spend your professional development budget on building out side projects.

    Workshops and conferences are 80% hype. Yes there are some very talented creatives on the line ups etc. but nothing beats throwing yourself into the deep end and learning for yourself.

    Challenge yourself, come up with an idea, conceptualise it, build it, launch it, grow it and iterative it.

    If you can do that, I will assure you - you will: 1. Find it far more interesting than sitting at a conference all day. 2. You will develop an entire skillset you'd never thought of having. To stand out as a UX Designer, you need to be able to have a full-fledged product design mindset. 3. Most probably develop a deeper passion for UX. When you throw yourself into an idea you believe it and you try do whatever it takes to make it work.

    That's just my 2 cents.

    14 points
    • Austin Knight, over 4 years ago

      As someone who speaks a lot, I couldn't agree with this perspective more. If you're looking to tactically learn how to do something and develop hard skills, there is no substitute for getting your hands dirty and teaching yourself. I'm a self-taught Sr. UX Designer with no college degree, no mentor, and I've never attended a workshop or watched a tutorial online. I've just built things and figured it out along the way.

      Many aspiring UX Designers ask me, "how can I get into UX?" and my answer is always, "if you're asking that question, you're already doing it wrong". No one person is going to be able to tell or teach you something that will launch your career in UX. You have to forge your own career and the best way to do that is to start making things. This is because UX is truly dependent on what you can actually do and the results that you can generate, as opposed to processes or techniques that you've memorized.

      In my opinion, conferences are much better for the "bigger picture" conversations. Things that will challenge the ways that you think about design, introduce you to new technologies (or ways that people are using them), and inspire you to be a better designer. But the hands-on tactical stuff is better kept hands-on, despite the fact that many "tactical" conferences have popped up recently.

      Of course, there are exceptions to this, so if you really want to attend a conference, I would recommend checking out Interaction 17, UIE, Web Summit, Squares, and An Event Apart. There's also a huge event list here.

      4 points
      • Michael WongMichael Wong, over 4 years ago

        Hey guys, really glad you're all onboard. @Austin hits the nail on the head about conferences are more about inspiration and the 'bigger picture'. Once again, they're always refreshing to go to once in a while!

        But don't prioritise them over everything else :)

        0 points
    • Maurice CherryMaurice Cherry, over 4 years ago

      +1 for investing in completing a side project. The half-life on that high, giddy feeling from conferences is extremely short. I think you'll get far more professional development teaching yourself something new through building something instead of listening to someone tell you how they built their project.

      2 points
    • Lucas EspinLucas Espin, over 4 years ago

      Yea I'm mos def about the side projects as a learning tool I try to always have something gwanin on the side as well. What would you suggest is the best way to approach this regarding financing the side project through my profesh dev budget? what are some ways I can use my budget to help me with side projects? in my mind the most valuable thing is finding time to put in work on a side project but I don't see how I can use my budget that way.

      1 point
  • Sarper Erel, over 4 years ago

    I have been to a good bunch of conferences this year. I think the "positive" thread among all of them are that you get new perspectives and you can meet a lot of new, talented and nice people. This is extremely uplifting. On the other hand, I don't feel like I've learnt or seen anything I couldn't have watched a video online instead.

    At least my own learning for 2017 is to try repeating the networking bits of these events for myself and try saving my (or my company's) money and time for something more fruitful : )

    1 point
  • Sjors TimmerSjors Timmer, over 4 years ago

    http://interaction17.ixda.org Looks very interesting to me

    1 point