We’re all aware of the standard reasons why it makes business and economical sense to attend quality conferences – such as networking with experts and like-minded individuals plus learning new skills.
What’s more many of us have heard or even made multiple reasons why we shouldn’t attend events. Reasons such as the cost, the ability to watch the recordings/videos, that there’s a project deadline looming and for the more control-freak bosses, there’s the fact that you’ll be absent from the office and not actually ‘working’.
You will also be forgiven for being skeptical (or skeptical depending where you reside!) about a blog written by a conference organizer on this topic. But – and it’s a big but – as a working DevSecOps specialist (who developed a series of conferences I’d benefit from and actually want to attend) I believe it’s well worth reminding ourselves of the very real benefits of being part of a quality conference. This has of course to take a balanced approach by realistically counting the cost of attending (travel, hotel, ticket price) alongside the cost of missing out.
So here’s my top 6 reasons I’ve always benefited from attending selective conferences:
- First up let’s take a look at the speakers. When will you ever get the chance to learn from – never mind have a beer or coffee with – the key influencers and experts in your field of interest in one place during two packed days? My suggestion is not often!
- Is a change as good as a rest? Well more and more research shows it is. By simply removing yourself from your usual workplace – whether this is an office, home-office, traveling from client to client – you are liberated to invest in yourself and as a result often get a fresh perspective, become more productive and dare I say happier. What better retention tool could a company employ?
- Connecting and building relationships with like-minded and often intellectually challenging people – face-to-face – talking – eating – drinking – having fun. A simple list of why actually being there is much more rewarding and fulfilling than watching recorded talks (which I personally think are great as a refresher/way to check the quality of the event you intend to attend).
- Sponsor representatives and Workshops. I’ve grouped these due to the insights I’ve gained by not only working alongside the experts and my peers in workshops, but also from the informative conversations and demos I’ve had at sponsor booths. These interactions have helped me stay well informed and given me a clarity about the next big challenge and/or development we’ll face which, I don’t believe I can gain via digital means such as webinars or social comments and other digital platforms.
- Getting out of my comfort zone and getting the confidence to actually put myself on the stage. It’s not always the easiest thing to leave the security of your desk and many of us aren’t natural networkers. That however, is no reason to stay stuck in a rut or to miss out. I’ve always found the security/devops community very welcoming.
- Community. My last and probably the reason I am most passionate about is being part of an inclusive community which shares knowledge and provides support to help us all tackle the very real security threats out there.
So my advice is check out the range of conferences on offer, see if the ticket costs are reasonable and community-focused (something we work hard at DevSecCon to achieve), review previous events (speakers, program, testimonials), ask your peers for recommendations and finally just get involved.
Needless to say you’d all get a very warm welcome at any DevSecCon conference – next up are Boston (10-11 September) and London (18-19 October), and I look forward to catching up with friends old and new 🙂 You can find out more here: