Monday, December 13, 2004

IT-related seminars in Pakistan

How many of you find seminars conducted here useful? Ever attended one? Do you find yourself slouching at the backseat for the heck of attending or looking forward to anything related to "IT" put together in local hotels? Recall any that proved a cut above?

From personal experience, seminars conducted to explain "internet security threats", "ebanking", "ecommerce in pakistan", and "digital divide" have rarely provided anything one hasn't come across on the net. The programs put together by most organization combine "basic definitions" with "case study"--an approach that comes off as very theoritical and dry. My pick: TMT Ventures once hosted a very good roundtable on "VC funding problems and prospects" where the audience was as proactive as the guest speakers.


H.A. said...

I don't think there are many people who actually go online to look up the how-to's of things like ecommerce etc. Exceptions aside, most of the people connected to the Internet cannot do anything beyond chatting and checking their email. So maybe those seminars who adopt a theoretical approach have such audiences in mind. But of course if the topic merits a discussion, I'd rather sleep than attend a one-way lecture. For the record, I have yet to attend an IT-related seminar. :)

Zunaira said...

H: Seminar's are advertised [unfortunately on the *DAY* of the event and NOT before as should be the case] in dailies. You should keep a look out for them.

General public are not the majority at such seminars. Its people who are invited from companies, schools and the press who *should* be familiar with the basics [and are too!]. The culture of sermonising/lecturing needs a good rethinking as far as these are concerned IMHO.

Merlinx said...

There was a time when I wouldn't miss a single seminar held somewhere, if it was in the name of IT. Now is a time when I wouldn't go to one even if someone bulldozed me over there. :-) These IT seminars are really for the following purposes:

1. Creating an awareness and advertising a new product, tool, technology, etc.
2. Getting the business decision-makers out and up to par i.e. marketing or top executives
3. Creating PR between people both b/w the attendees as well as the b/w the attendees and the organizers; basically these events are often a who's who to see who's doing what or what-not

These events are skin-deep and are not intended to do anything more than scrape the surface. The last time I sent my team members to such an event, it was the Microsoft PDC. A few of them made it a point to always arrive at lunch-time. The others were more interested in which companies had the best-looking chicks working for them. All of them came back and gave the feedback that they knew everything that was taught sans maybe an hour's worth of new stuff that they learnt over 3 days. Very useful, wasn't it! That was the last time I authorized anyone attending one of these seminars.

ZeD is right -- they are only for people from the media or academia or such. Not for serious hands-on, down-and-dirty professionals. Believe me, H, when your boss is standing on your paycheck and you have assignments to deliver or milestones to meet, you'll even be diving to find the answers that you need at the bottom of the ocean floor, let alone search the Net. All one needs is the right stimulus to get him or her going on something. ;-)

More useful than these (for serious workers and professionals) are the classroom-type training sessions that lead up to specific examinations and certifications from vendors of tools and technologies. These "hotel" events are nothing more than gift-wrapped PR soirees.

M Tabraiz Feham said...

Microsoft's 3-day Pakistan Developer Conference (PDC) 2004 held in Karachi, was extremely informative for both technical & non-technical IT professionals in Pakistan. Through this conference Microsoft provided a very good platform to actively discuss the emerging technologies. Here is a list of presentations which were delivered and to my opinion were very helpful.

On the other hand PSEB consistently organizes seminars & conferences on different areas such as software, web design & animation; conducted by field professionals who discuss in-depth technical aspects of the relative fields.

But in my opinion, generally seminars are arranged in order to create a general awareness. As Hafsa said, "people don't go to the web", and the truth is that average people are not easy with the internet. They would prefer to read a book or brochure instead of skimming a web page.

Another perspective is that you can't get so technical in a seminar of approx 3 hours, because if you go in to those technicalities, things would get more entangled and confused instead of getting solved.

M Tabraiz Feham

Sky Walker said...

Well I think there are not enough seminars organized in Pakistan. If Govt: take interest and organize seminars regularly then it really beneficial to Students as well as Professionals.

Rafay Bin Ali said...

I really dont seem any harm in such seminars even if they are for newbies. Trying to increase awareness would eventually lead to an increase in awareness. The quality of some of these seminars may not be as good as some of the pros may desire, yet it is still something that is necessary to generate 'the interest' in IT, which should be evident 50 or so years from now.

I never had the chance to attend one here, though.

Merlinx said...

Yeah that's quite true. I'm not an opponent of these seminars and roadshows. Just that I believe that they have a specific audience and are not intended for every Tom, Dick and Harry. Especially not for serious professionals. They have other avenues.

The vacuum is that I don't see too many vendors or their authorized dealers holding more hard-core technical sessions for the professionals. That's all Microsoft (or other companies) do here: roadshows. I see higher-end training available for Oracle tools supported by Oracle itself in Pakistan. But most other biggies don't. Where are the Sun Microsystems, Cisco, IBM, IBM Rational or Microsoft official centers? I guess it all boils down to economics...the Pakistani IT market isn't big enough and able to spend enough dough to have many other giants offer deeper training services and facilities here. And so we have to do with 3rd party intermediary training services, which also cost an arm and a leg.

Rafay Bin Ali said...

Talking about the interest of industry heavyweights, how is the Linux certification RHCE and RHCT that was recently advertised in Dawn? Don't know whether it is an authentic effort by Red Hat or some affiliated attempt, but it still is good to see some sort of Linux institute opening up in Karachi.

Mohsin Raza said...

I have attended a seminar held by the MoST in collaboration with TREMU (Technology Resource Mobilization Unit) with the title Linux/GNU Open Source Initiative 2003, believe me the seminar was very informative and was a decent effort for creating awareness about Linux and Open Sourced Softwares. Although seminar had no registration fee and also included lunch :) still the attendance was very short which shows lack of awareness among people.

I have also attended series of seminars and workshops held by CSP (Computer Society Of Pakistan),as usuall attendance was low but the seminars were highly informative. We need initiatives like these to be taken in the future.

Anonymous said...

I attended a seminar by conducted by Microsoft on the SQL Server Yukon.There were two guys invited to give the presentation.It was mentioned in their intro that both have them has completed their studies abroad.Well the first guy went on & on abt the product's features but had no accent(not that it's a bad thing,but they lived abroad for like 4-5 years for crying out loud).The other guy who did have an accent got confused after like every 5 minutes saying that I was not prepared & let me compose myself.I mean the guy didn't have any confidence at all & here he was giving a presentation.

That was one seminar I would have loved to stay out of.