“I don’t know, should I go?” is the question often asked by new coders. And the not so new ones, I’m afraid.
“I don’t feel like it…”
“The talks won’t be what I would like them to be…”
I’m not saying you will be doomed if you are among the people saying these stuff, but your professional life will hugely benefit if you decide to go. Please don’t be that person which doesn’t feel like doing something useful for themselves.
Don’t concentrate on the talks if you don’t want to – it’s networking you should pursue. It doesn’t matter if there will be 3,000 or 30 people. You will meet someone new from your field, you will hear something different from what you hear every day. Who knows, you might start a new project with people you just met or you will be offered a job in case you are looking for one. Take a look at the picture above this text. I wasn’t looking for a new job on last month’s WebCamp, but still these pamphlets managed to find their way into my goody bag (on an unrelated topic, I do love goody bags).
“I don’t know enough coding to attend a conference.” You will never be 100 % ready for anything in this profession. The sooner you realise that and relax a bit, the sooner you will see real progress. If you come to a conference, people won’t ask you if you’re super-advanced or a newb. Your attendance means that you are willing to participate in the activities your community organises and that you might actually be a team player. Being an exceptional engineer with absolutely no social touch won’t get you very far. I know such engineers.
“I have no one to go with.” – even better! Head out to meetup.com and find a group near you which covers the conference field. Send an email asking them to join if anyone is going. Or, if there’s time, attend a meet up before the conference and make some acquaintances there whom you can go with. That way you’ll already be doing a lot of networking before the conference even started. I know it’s not always comfortable to approach strange new people because it’s uncomfortable for me, as well. But, the further away from your comfort zone, the greater the benefit.
I heard this CEO talking on one of such meet ups, he was looking for new people for the company. I asked him if he has a job ad posted. “No”, he said, “first I like to see if there are some people interested on meet ups. If there’s no one, I ask them if they know anybody they’d recommend. Job ads are my last resort.” If that doesn’t sound as a convincing argument to socialise, I don’t know what would.
Hope to see you there.