After infoShare 2018: How I survived my first tech conference
Before one joins the IT community, tech conferences may appear like a distant and unknown land. Once you are already in and there, it becomes pretty clear that they don't bite. Back from infoShare 2018, here is my review.
Top speakers from leading companies, the most innovative solutions, workshops, 7 stages and over 7,000 people attending, all in one place and within just two days. infoShare 2018 was literally packed with events, presentations, networking and side events such as an after-conference boat race on river Motława in Gdańsk (but hey, which conference doesn’t have similar “toppings”?). My main concern was how, being a total newcomer to the IT community, not to get lost in the first place and turn the experience to my benefit. Well, it turns out this chaos can be organized.
Case studies and success stories.
Out of the total of seven stages, the one which obviously attracted my attention as a content writer was the Marketing Stage with speeches and presentations on topics such as video marketing, customer service and creating engaging web content. Among 16 speeches the first day, some were a real food for thought, while some seemed merely like self-advertising. The conclusion is: when attending a tech conference, rather expect case studies and success stories, than concrete theoretical or practical knowledge.
Step out of the box.
But hey, this was a tech conference, wasn’t it? Wasn’t I supposed to at least try get into the technological mindset? Of course I was. The rest of the Prograils team of five, present at the conference, strongly encouraged me to take a listen to what was spoken of on the Tech stage. And you know what? Even for an IT greenhorn, many of the topics were presented in a clear and understandable manner. “Lawful hacking”? It was an interesting listen for a certified lawyer I happen to be. The speech on the most common sins committed (pun intended) in Git projects? It made me familiarize with the version control tool I am going to use for at least some time. Conclusion two is: don’t be afraid to face the unknown. The topics which sound completely strange, may be a good kick for your future professional development.
Find time to socialize.
Conferences are about networking and integration. This was definitely my case. Beginning my adventure with a software development company, I couldn’t have a better start than afterhours conversations and a couple of beers with the new colleagues. Even more important, to witness how good they are at what they do, winning multiple programming contests, and even making it to the 2nd place in the grand finale!
Summary: Nothing to fear!
There is no single ideal way to survive your first ever tech conference, although it definitely should not be feared by newcomers to the IT/tech world. Whereas it might be a good opportunity to make your first acquaintance with the branch you are just entering, don’t expect it to be any form of theoretical or practical crash course. You’ll have to learn the essentials on your own. Don’t be afraid to confront the concepts you haven’t heard of before. Build community - after parties are still a good occasion to grab a beer and talk in less formal circumstances. In case you need some practical advice before visiting a conference in the future: we’ve got some practical tips for you.
Photo by Julie Macey on Unsplash