Thank you all for your kind words! I'll let you know how the first day goes :-)
@aybee77: Honestly, I'm not really sure when I got to what could be considered professional capacity in Italian, I think that term can be as loosely defined as the term "fluency". I think it really depends on how you focus your language abilities to do the job you want to do with them. For example, in Spanish I can (and have) answer complicated technical support questions through email, although over the phone I would be next to useless due to my inexperience in speaking Spanish. I consider this a degree of professional capacity because I have interacted with clients in this way over a period of months and the final implementation was successful. For Italian, I wanted to be good enough to be able to live there, take part in business meetings, work through complicated logic problems with somebody in person, and pass a job interview (check!). Obviously, general fluency was required for this, which in Italian took me about two and a half years (listening to lessons and radio podcasts for about 45 minutes to 2 hours a day and reading when I had the chance), with a large emphasis on speaking towards the end. However, a week before my interview I'd say there was still some of those things I couldn't do because I had never been in that sort of scenario and had never bothered to see what the engineering and computer science vocabulary was for Italian. So I went searching for programming tutorials in Italian and imported them into LingQ to get the vocabulary I needed to study, and then skyped up one of my friends from Italy (last year I helped her get her English to a place where she could get a job as an accountant for international clients) and I had her do mock interviews with me so I could answer the types of questions I needed to and explain my work history, skills, and projects I have worked on. If you are going for a professional position, having your speaking partner "role play" mock scenarios for you I feel really helps you out. Also, don't just do it once. Have them ask you the same questions again later, so you can fine tune your responses each time. Record these sessions so you can listen to them and see where you had trouble responding and get feedback on how to improve these responses for next time. The next thing I personally need to do is have more interactions in a group setting of native speakers, as this is much more chaotic to follow than when you can give your full attention to one person.
@steve Don't worry! I'll still need lingq because now there is much motivation to make my Italian sound as natural as possible, and I still have other languages to learn as well!