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Growth Happens with Intentional Learning

Crestron recently held its annual Masters event where programmers, designers, and sales professionals came together to advance their knowledge of technology, hone their technical skills, and learn about the newest advancement that Crestron has to offer. Upon completion of the event, I took some time to give thought to my experience and came to some meaningful conclusions.

As a Crestron certified programmer, I realized that Crestron Masters 2021 offered very similar content to what was presented during the 2020 event, but my takeaways were vastly different. Reflecting on this, I considered how my lack of intentionality impacted my previous trainings—and how I can change my approach to learning moving forward. 

[Crestron’s Dan Jackson Discusses Enabling Collaboration]

I had known of Crestron Masters' reputation well before I even knew what was involved in the event—I heard this was the place you stretch your programming muscles and grow into your own as a programmer. I first attended the event in 2020; even accounting for the sudden change to remote, I didn't get it. I was left exhausted, disappointed, and did not understand how people saw this as the place to grow. 

Both years, the Masters classes I signed up for and the approach I took to learning, were directly in line with the vision of the company where I was employed at the time. With my focus set on what was expected of me at that company—and being that I recently made a career move to Control Concepts—I looked at Masters 2021 through a different lens than I had in 2020. 

I believe I missed some awesome tools in 2020 that would have facilitated my individual growth. This year provided me clarity as my current company's vision and goals were better aligned with my personal vision and goals. I felt a greater sense of accomplishment and satisfaction at the end of each day of Crestron Masters 2021.

This year with a new approach, new goals, and a fresh perspective, I get it! I  can see through the remote setup to how this can be an awesome collaborative event full of potential and growth. I see it now! Furthermore, I now understand my disappointment last year was a result of the classes my company "approved" me to take, and not assertively discussing and adding the classes I wanted to take.

Last year, I worked for an AV integrator as a system engineer and programmer. I had the programming knowledge I needed to do my job well. Therefore, the goal of Crestron Masters 2020 was to determine how things could be done for less money and time. There was minimal to no focus on advancing my programming skills.

My Crestron Masters 2020 focus was:

  • Can I capitalize on some of the tools taught in PowerShell?
  • Can I take a Crestron HTML5 template to make a company standard *just in case* VT-Pro disappears with flash?
  • How can I save my company money?

To be frank, it was exhausting because it was not how I wanted to focus my energy. I put in a lot of effort that did not advance my skill set or help me become a better programmer. It was solely focused on how it would advance my company's initiatives.

This year, I work for Control Concepts as a systems programmer. My role here is what I actually want to be doing. This meant I approached Crestron Masters 2021 with a fresh, encouraging perspective.

Each day, I sought out tools to help me grow as a programmer geared towards module/driver development or mass AV deployment. I looked at some of the same classes through a different lens. I was now looking for classes and resources that could advance me as a programmer.

My Crestron Masters 2021 focus was:

  • What can I learn in SIMPL# fundamentals to create stepping stones into proper module/driver development?
  • What do I need to learn to make Crestron HTML5 as customizable and dynamic as possible?
  • How can I grow for my company?

My overall experience of the event was way better. I still felt tired at the end of the day, but I also felt energized and excited about how I had grown personally and professionally ... while adding value to my company.

My intentionality was evident when I signed up for classes too. Last year, I really wanted to dive into SIMPL#, but it was not in alignment with the company goals. I was discouraged from even signing up for anything that wasn't needed to save the company money. I was told that I didn't need to know SIMPL# to do my job better. "Why would you waste your time on that?" is a real question that was asked of me. "For me!" is how I should have responded.

Ladies and gentlemen, do your company goals align with your personal goals?

At the end of the day, if a company is sponsoring you to go to a training event, I do believe in honoring the company goals and needs. Reflecting back to last year, I think I had a choice. I had a choice to do extra training and attend the SIMPL# class during off-hours. I had a choice to approach the HTML5 class from both perspectives of "we need a just-in-case basic company template" and "What golden nuggets can I take away to be able to make customizable and dynamic interfaces?". 

Sure it would have been insanely long days and I would have slept the entire next weekend.  Regardless, it would have been worth it, which I can not emphasize that enough. Instead I decided to take the "learn it yourself" route. Unfortunately, that is a difficult road and I lacked the proper resources and mentors for success.

If you are an in-house programmer and you want to grow into a software developer, you must be intentional about it. You must help yourself and capitalize on any opportunities presented to you to pursue your personal vision and goals. For me, I'm glad to have had the opportunity to see Crestron Masters in another light as part of Control Concepts. It makes a big difference when you are a part of a supportive team where your goals and vision are in alignment!  I look forward to seeing how much more I will get out of similar growth opportunities in the future.