Whether you are a job seeker or a hiring manager, new-to-tech or a seasoned developer, conferences can make you a stronger thinker, business person, and developer.
To begin with, conferences are a great way to meet other people who are interested in topics that you are interested in as well as learn more about other organizations or products related to your interests. When people come together around their passions, there’s a kind of energy in the air. There’s no way to predict exactly who you are going to meet or what new valuable tidbit will come your way.
A conference’s primary goal is knowledge transfer. Aim for events that have speakers and topics that you find interesting, but make sure there’s a few of them that you don’t know anything about yet. Expanding our reference points and our awareness of what is being created can be as important as solidifying a skillset in a training workshop.
Taking a curious approach is a great way to enjoy and maximize the value of a conference. This is a great time to learn about technologies, companies, types of jobs, or even new cities. If you head into the event to collect information, not just “land a job,” you’ll likely gain more insights than you expected to. This is the kind of knowledge that may have show a short term gain, but it might also be the information that saves your bacon in a couple of months or years.
This is the kind of knowledge that may have show a short term gain, but it might also be the information that saves your bacon in a couple of months or years.
Conferences provide a valuable environment for you practice telling your story at a time that is lower risk. You’re not actively interviewing for a job, pitching for investors, or trying to sell a product. Instead, you get the chance to figure out how you want to tell those stories over and over again throughout the event and seeing how people react. What questions do they ask or not ask? Do they understand what you wanted them to understand? Are you able to interpret their motivations and easily answer their questions? What stories, projects, or topics do people engage with? Which ones tend to slow a conversation down? These are all valuable lessons that will help you in other professional environments.
Take the pressure off yourself and seek to engage authentically with the people around you
Another bit of good news is that opportunities to engage are around every corner. Here are a few of the Portland area go-tos that you should know about:
If you choose well, you’ll be walking away with more than just the ability to say you were there. You’ll walk away enriched and more invigorated about the work that you are doing.
By Kari Fass, LaunchCode Portland's Company Relations Manager