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September 14, 2009

The Benefits of Sharing Your DB2 Know-How

Two weeks ago I noted that IDUG is accepting presentation abstracts for its next North America conference in May 2010. At the time I said that giving a presentation at a conference like IDUG is a great experience. Allow me now to elaborate.

The first time I submitted an abstract for an IDUG conference, I was working on a new DB2 2.3 feature. I thought it would be nice to share what I learned about it. I was relatively new to DB2 then, and by no means did I consider myself an expert. I'd never presented before, but figured this would be a way to get my manager to let me attend the conference. I explained that I'd get in for free and be able to network with peers who could help me down the road when I have questions.

I wasn't sure even how to even get started. Fortunately, IDUG offers prospective speakers a kit that includes, along with instructions on how to submit an abstract, ideas for presentation topics and sample presentations.

By the way, don't assume that someone else has already presented your idea. DB2 is so large and robust, no one can be an expert in all areas. If you've ever worked with a new DB2 feature or developed some internal processes and/or procedures to manage DB2, then you probably have something to contribute.

I've been working with DB2 for 20 years and I continue to learn from people all the time. And I really like it when others take the time to share their experiences. Your ideas give me new perspectives on how things work.

But maybe it isn't a lack of ideas but a fear of getting in front of group that keeps you from presenting. Here's how to get past that: Once you have your presentation done, ask your local DB2 user group if you can present at the next meeting. This gives you a chance to practice with a small group of friends--or, if you haven't been active with a local user group, it gives you a chance to meet and network with other DB2 professionals in your area.

Over the years I've benefited in many ways from my involvement in the DB2 community and with local user groups and IDUG. I've made some good friends who've helped me diagnose DB2-related problems (and of course I've done the same for them). These same people have even helped me during job searches (and yes, I've returned the favor there as well).

That's the thing about sharing your experiences with the DB2 community. Everyone benefits. So start your speaking career now. You won’t regret it.