Many of us – people working in IT industry (developers at most) are introverts. We would the most like to lock in the basement and write code…
Yes, of course I am exaggerating, but this stereotype didn’t came from nowhere.
So maybe it is a good time to meet other developers and experience something new.
In this post I want to tell you something about conferences, to be more precise – why it is worth to attend this initiatives. I will tell you about three main advantages based on my experience (dozens of attended IT conferences and meetups) and opinions of people who are more experienced than me.
My first conference took place one month before my apprenticeship in company which organized this event. My goal was to meet their workers and get some connections – I didn’t want to be anonymous on my first day at work.
The day of event came in. I went to the place of conference and what next… There is so many people, they know each other, talking, no one stays alone. How and who with could I start conversation? I didn’t found an answer so before start of conference I didn’t meet no one except girls from registration.
After first session I was amazed by what I learned in just 3 hours, amazed by people who have their speeches and wanted to spread their knowledge. But one thing persecuted me – I still didn’t talk with no one. Hopefully I found Piter – he was just like me, student, alone at conference. But he was somehow different – he wasn’t affraid meeting new people. So there was two of us – Piter who started conversation and me and me – newbie who listen and sometimes tried to carry conversation asking “smart” questions. And it was quite good. I met a few people, but I didn’t feel satisfied.
After the lunch time and second session which was also great I decided to stay at after party – “this will be great opportunity to meet more of great people here” – I thought.
And it was, but I couldn’t afford to start conversation with someone. There was a blocker inside me.
I wanted to go home when I met Piter hanging out with his new friends. “Join us” – he called out. After a few seconds I was introduced to two developers, and three QA’s sitting at the same table. It was the best conversation this day. They gave me advices, how to start career, how to develop myself, how does IT market structures and many others. During this talk, I get also my first job offer, without sending CV. After this conversation I decided that I want more of that. And in less than a year I attended about 13, maybe 15 meetups or bigger conferences
So what do I enjoy in this kind of events?
No matter what conference are You attending, there is always something to learn. All of us have different perspective, different experience. Listening how others use technologies or tools to achieve specific goals could open your mind to new possibilities.
My first conference was dedicated to Quality Assurance specialists, people who are working directly with clients. I wanted to be a developer, and still I benefited from their knowledge, learning a lot about customer approach, soft skills and code quality.
Our industry is running very fast and we need to keep its pace. Most of the talks would be about actual trends, learning those technologies or even “knowing something” about them makes you more valuable on market.
Sometimes you are going out from conference room, after great speech, and you know what you will be doing for next few weeks, which framework would help you working on current project, how could you improve your work, how can you learn faster etc. Just feeling, you need to do something with that.
This inspirational talks are those which I like the most – because they gave motivation for experimenting and improving work / life.
Conferences are great place for meeting new people from our industry and staying in touch with friends.
Building a contacts network is extremely useful, no matter how experienced you are.
There are two main advantages of meeting new people:
- You don’t have to be specialist from security, frontend, backend, administrating, if you have problem in specific area and know someone with this knowledge, you can just ask him for help, saving a lot of time. Of course, it works the other way around too.
- You can find job easier. Knowing a lot of people working in different companies in different cities could be extremely helpful when you’re looking for new job. But it is not given for free. You have to show them your value – yes it could be your
Going to conferences is extremely useful, but to exploit conferences full potential you need to do more than me from the beginning of this post. In one of the further post I will show you how do I try to get as much as possible from conference.