Why Go to a Conference

There are a great many developer and tech conferences to got to and the numbers are increasing. Some of these conferences are free or free if you speak or volunteer, some are relativley cheap and some you may be able to persuade your company to pay for. But why should you even consider going to a conference in the first place?

As a speaker

So why go to a conference as a speaker?

Well the most obvious benefit is that you will probably get into the whole conferences for free. If you are speaking about something relevant to the company you work for, they may also pay for your travel & hotel expenses (if required).

Speakers can sometimes invite a friend along to the conference too.

Being a speaker at an event is a good way to get to network with the other speakers at the event. The organisers some times arrange a speakers dinner the evening before, so as well as getting wined and dined by the organisers you get more of a chance to talk with the other speakers and build good relationships.

Explaining something verifies your understanding

In fact, presenters are usually the ones that get the most from a conference, they present there ideas and then have some one in the crowd as for “a real world example”. Putting yourself on the spot like that and learning how to deal with it puts you in a good place when you go back to work and have to deal with all sorts of other less than plesant situations.

Its fun being a speaker, you get respect for just standing up in front of a crowd and speaking.

Its a great way to develop your career. Are you tired of boring interview questions or dumb tests that only test your memory rather than your understanding? A reputation of speaking at conferences goes a long way to cut through the crap that you often get at interview time.

Working a crowd at a presetation helps inmprove you team skills and helps you understand how you can inspire and influence people. It is good training for real leadership.

I dont know of any speakers who ended up on the IT scrap-heap…

As an attendee

Attending a conference is a chance to get away from work for a few days and actually step back and think about things. It can be hard to see the big picture in terms of what you are trying to achieve at work when you are head down getting things done (or fire fighting).

Its good to find out what is happening in technology and see how others are applying the same tools and languages you use to great value. Even some small change in approach can make you more effective.

There is an opportunity to meet a lot of new people and discuss conserns and ideas with each other. Its a great chance to meet people in your situation and do some venting, talk about how you face your challenges, swap ideas and

Find out what people are doing and what they are excited about, why they get out of bed in the morning

Its good to put conferences on your CV - shows initiative, shows you are interested in learing and developing yourself

Its a great way to learn new things, or at least learn what things you should be looking at for the next 6 months - unless you like turning up to work and doing the same old crap week in week out !!!

It gives you something to talk about with your team when you get back to work, something other than what was on TV last night.

How boring is it to just work with someone who just turns up 9-5 and does nothing else. I want to work with people who are inspired, passionate and enthusiastic about what they do. As an employer, why would you ever hire someone who wasnt like this ?? Oh yes, because that employer has either no respect for thier staff or just wants them to do some grunt work - the IT factory in its worse sense.

Most employeers have no idea about IT and many do not need to know that much, except that they should respect the knowledge workers they hire and empower them to deliver the best possible service they can. Unfortunately managment has been trained to measure and manage people like a time and cost study, rather than considering the value that their staff can bring them.

Blinkered Manager: “What happens if I train my staff and they all leave”
Enlightened developer: “What happens if you dont train your staff and they all stay”

If you want a successful business then you need successful people, people who will help you drive the business forward and not be a blocker to the delivery of your ideas.

There have been quite a few organisations that are now able to deliver at the speed of thought, deploying hundereds of ideas a day and getting the best feedback you can in the world - the customers recieving your service.

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