Professional Development Opportunities in Denton
"Professional Development." It’s a topic of advice you’ll be given over and over throughout your entire career. A quick look to Google will yield a seemingly infinite number of articles and websites talking about it. It can look a little different across various industries (for example: some occupations (such as lawyer) can have requirements in the form of "Continuing Education Credits"), but at its core, "professional development" is any activity that contributes to professional growth. Many of you are starting out in your career, or will be in the next few years, so we wanted to look at what professional development looks like in real life (including things you can be doing even now as a student or recent grad), and what kind of opportunities you have for it in Denton.
If your goal is to learn a new skill or improve on an old one, there is no shortage of resources online to help you succeed. One of our favorites is Lynda.com. With over 5,000 courses, you’re likely to find something interesting and beneficial, but the best part is that you can do so for free if you have a membership with the Denton Public Library (also free if you live in Denton). Check out this article for more info.
The City of Denton
The City of Denton also offers in-person classes through the Denton Public Library. These classes tend to be geared towards beginners, but advanced courses aren’t uncommon. Check out the schedule and register online.
While we’re talking about the library, we’d be remiss not to mention one of the best and oldest forms of professional development: reading. Skip past the crime thrillers and romance novels and check out something from the non-fiction aisles. You’ll find books about every skill imaginable, biographies from industry leaders, and books discussing the professional world of your chosen career path.
Volunteering is good, no matter what, when, or how. It’s also a great opportunity to pick up some skills that will benefit your career in the long run. If you’re still a student or early in your career, offer to help out in the office or get in early on a specific project that you can see through to the end. Not every nonprofit has the capacity for this type of volunteering, but many of them will. Commit to volunteering with them on a regular basis and you’ll find yourself learning new skills, meeting new people – all things that help you develop professionally. Once you're further along in your career, join a board or committee (and check out United Way of Denton County’s Board Leadership Training Course, Project Blueprint). When donating your time, it’s important to find a nonprofit whose mission you are passionate about – check out our index of organizations that need volunteers to get started.
Denton Chamber of Commerce
The Chamber of Commerce is made up of businesses across every sector of Denton. They help to promote local products and services and to support the needs and interests of its members. They also act as the administration behind services such as Leadership Denton and the Small Business Development Center – both great resources of knowledge. They also offer a Smart Business 101 Program and present monthly seminars on a host of topics such as marketing, networking, business management, and so much more. More info on these programs and others can be found on their website.
Professional and Service-Based Organizations and Clubs
One of our favorite professional organizations, Denton County Young Professionals (DCYP) hosts weekly coffees, monthly social mixers, quarterly lunch-and-learns, and more. Other options include local chapters of Rotary and Kiwanis, and numerous industry-specific groups such as the Denton County Young Lawyers Association.
We can’t end this guide without mentioning companies such as Blue Steele Solutions (check out their blog and resource page) that host their own series of workshops that aid in your professional development. They aren’t always open to the general public (sometimes they are) and there may be a fee (sometimes there isn't), but they’re worth checking out.
Have other ideas for professional development or know of a source we missed? Let us know via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.