Attending conferences

<p>I'm not talking about a conference where you present research. I'm talking about ASME, SWE, IEEE, whatever other organizations or professional societies. Have you ever gone to one before? What was it like? Was it worth it? I know some conference have career fairs and speakers and social events and stuff. I also know that it can get pretty expensive lol. I've never gone to a conference before, so I was just curious. </p>


<p>Most conferences are pretty similar - most of it is presentations or workgroups where people present their research and ask for feedback, combined with some number of social events, career-building workshops, and topical lectures. The ones that I have been to (mine and my wife's) have been instructive and useful and generally worth attending, bearing in mind that the cost CAN be prohibitive depending on the conference and circumstances - I would suggest avoiding expensive conferences when you must pay and are not presenting, and would generally not suggest spending substantial money (more than a few hundred?) even if you ARE presenting unless the circumstances are truly exceptional.</p>

<p>I don't know about SWE but the ASME and IEEE conferences will typically have research presentations. The whole point is to preset your work and see others' work and network with those with whom you can collaborate on a shared interest and get advice from the community. To my knowledge, there are few, if any, purely social conferences.</p>

<p>That said, they are a great experience, IMO.</p>

<p>Oh, my mistake then. There is a conference that I have a chance to go to that seems to be more career/workshop based than research based, so I guess that's why I was thinking along those lines.</p>

<p>Don't get me wrong, such conferences/workshops may exist, especially with groups like SWE or SHPE that don't have a journal and publish research as one of their main functions, but for ASME, IEEE, AIAA and the likes, I have not heard of meetings such as you describe, at least on the national/international scale. There may be regional meetings for regional chapters that are smaller and less publicized, in which case I am out of my area of experience.</p>

<p>SWE has an annual conference every year that I personally love attending. It's definitely not focused on research, and more about networking and career development. That being said, some research is presented, but you go more for the workshops, keynote speakers and the career fair. My section always represents strongly, and generally we only pay for registration and for food while we are in whatever city the conference is in (Chicago this past year, Houston this year).</p>

<p>ASME has some maaaajor conferences, but those are all about research. Generally, I've found that local and regional conferences such as SLS and SPDC really focus more on student career development. However, they often also allow students an opportunity to present their research, so that would be a great way to get started and get a feel for a low level conference.</p>

<p>Since I love to travel, and I'm heavily involved in those orgs, I go to whatever conferences I can.</p>

<p>Goldandblue, you're young, have no family, go. Now is the time to take advantage of any opportunities presented to you. As a female in engineering, the world is your oyster. Go out and feast!</p>

<p>If you have the chance you should go. Its a great perk especially if someone is paying for it. I went to Puerto freaking Rico for ASME bioengineering conference in June. Present work, meet experts in field, network... Oh then go to beach, hang out pool, and let loose at night. Its also great knowing you can walk up to anyone there and have something you both love to talk about. </p>

<p>Never turn down a conference is my advice, especially if your department pays for it.</p>