The necessity of attending tech conferences
Attending conferences have a lot of opportunity costs involved with the activity. Oftentimes, they are expensive, require one to travel far and even, away from comfort zones. They are also for many, time away from work, but another work in its own right. Not a holiday.
Thus, in this article, we have outlined reasons as to why, despite the opportunity costs which many might perceive to be great, attending technology conferences in the 21st century is, very much, a good idea.
One of the biggest advantages of attending networking events and tech conferences is a new perspective-on business, in the world, in your life. You'll leave with inspiration and buzzing innovative ideas. You'll have new connections that can help give life to these ideas.
Also, even the best of technical experts usually have an idea which they might want to try out or see if something similar is being made available by someone else. At times, one might one to perform a test-run or it could simply be some tweaks to improve efficiency which need to be tested. Chances are other people are tackling similar issues, so why reinvent the wheel? Technical conferences allow you to promote your ideas publically for peer review or listen to other people do the same.
However, you don't even need to be that proactive when attending these conferences. There will be many sessions with topics you can choose from. Perhaps a presenter is giving a talk about an issue you are grappling with, or some skill you would like to utilize in the future. All you would need to do is go to that session and listen in on the presentation. Many of these presenters, who often are experts in the field and/or have published works, will provide a question and answer opportunity after the session. You will gain invaluable insight from people who are giants in the industry. These same presenters can then point you to other resources, including their own blogs or books, for additional information.
Professional Network Expansion
It is always helpful to have a healthy professional network if you are in a long-term career path. At conferences, you'll get the chance to meet like-minded people in your profession who may become part of your network in many ways: technical peer, future employer/employee, business lead for a new project. If you are out of a job or you need a new job, attending a conference might help get your career back on track. If you are happily employed, maybe your company is hiring and you can help find talented people to work with you. You can also meet people who keep you informed about changes in the industry, who you can email questions to if you get stuck on a problem, or will help you get connected with a group of professionals in your area, thus helping keep your skills fresh and your network healthy.
I can't tell you how many times I have gone to one of these conferences and left with a handful of business cards. Some of my friends in the industry are a result of the contacts I made at these conferences. Not only are they friends, but they are also great resources for the future.
Moving up the professional ladder
Usually, when you get a job, it can feel like you passed the final test and there is nothing else that needs to be done. For most of the companies in the technical industry, there are always other positions available that could be better paying if only you took the initiative to learn more. Managers are always looking for employees who are open to self-improvement. This can distinguish the slackers from those who want more. Going to a conference can be a big push in that direction, especially if the session topics are related to things you are working on.
A lot of companies want their technical personnel to be top notch and will cover the cost of these conferences. In other words, you will get paid to learn because they know your improved skills will ultimately benefit the company's bottom line and improve the value of your services to their customers. Keep in mind, that some companies will foot the bill, but may ask you to commit yourself to remaining at that company for a set period of time. Otherwise, if you leave before that set time you may have to repay those conference costs. Regardless of your company's policies, I believe it is well worth it. I go to at least one technical conference per year, just to keep my skills sharp and, thankfully, I have had very generous and supportive employers.
Furthermore, most tech conferences invite investors and reserve pitch sessions for startups. This is a golden opportunity for entrepreneurs to get funding for their business (or start a new one). If nothing else, it's a wonderful platform to practice your pitch and get feedback. With your killer idea and charm, you might even walk out with potential funding.
Moreover, you also get a chance to mingle and network with investors informally. In a meeting that's informal in nature avoid pitching your ideas to them; instead, try to get a feel of what the investors are looking for. Try to make a connection and you might have a better chance of getting the investment at the right time.
Attend for the fun of it
Oh and let's not forget, technical conferences can be fun too! You probably will get free food and beverages all day, you will get to hear new and interesting ideas, you are not expected to answer every work email, and at night you can go socialize with all the new technophiles you meet! So my question to you is why haven't you signed up to go to a technical conference yet?! -Source_startups.com