In part 1, I talked about how I got started with speaking at conferences by attending my first local meetup. Also, there I put forth various reasons for attending tech conferences like learning, marketing, giving back to the community and developing networking skills. After reading that, you should have bought tickets for your next tech conference or at least RSVP'ed for your next local meetup.
Are you still not convinced why you should attend/speak at conferences? well, more reasons are coming up. Scroll down and read it. I would recommend you to read this even if you got convinced after reading part 1 already:)
If you haven't read part 1 of this article yet, Its not too late to read it.
👉 click here to read part 1
A company's brand is one of the most important factors for its eventual success. It is the culmination of the company's identity, presented to the customers in a way that is familiar and attractive.
Branding creates a legacy for the company in the market place. People will remember the company by its services, products and new announcements. Similarly, If you have a personal brand, people will remember you through your actions, your expertise and the emotional connections that you make.
You need to stand out of the herd. Establishing yourself without a degree is impossible, no matter where ever you go a degree in something is required. However, there is one problem with this, everyone looking to establish themselves has that same degree as yours. Everyone might have that degree but do they have a distinct personality?, A unique personal and professional history that will help enhancing the company's culture?, If you establish that, there you go, you stand out from the crowd!
One of the way of establishing them is speaking at conferences. This will help you in creating a personal brand around you. When you go present something on the stage, people will remember the way you present, how you emotionally narrate, they will get to know where you work and what are your expertises. Then in the networking sessions, you will meet the interested people coming forward to with questions on your talk or to know more about you and your work.
You can't move up if you don't stand out, you are the CEO of Me Inc.
A room of like minded individuals
Everyone who steps out of their workplaces to attend conferences wants to learn something new and are the one who want to "better" themselves. When you are in a room with these people, you discover that you're not the only one who wants improve your skill sets. You will never get this kind of energy in your video courses or other online channels.
I have spent hours and hours of my time discussing with people in the conferences. There will always be a bunch of groups discussing on various topics in the networking area. I personally enjoy these random talks, Some guy will start talking about the open source project he contributed to, then people start discussing more about the language with which the project was built, their community, people, code, tech stacks and random shit, but totally worth your time, I tell you. Because all the topics everyone discusses will be related to your interests somehow and you will learn so many things in those short networking sessions.
I recently got to know that there is a hackathon where you will be hacking and coding from Himalayas. I just heard about it in a random conversation from my previous conference where we were discussing about other events:). I was so curious about it and in fact, I have postponed this year's vacation from December 2017 to May 2018, to hack from the Himalayas.
Look how being in a room with like minded people impacted my vacation in a good way and hopefully will turn it into a different experience.
Expanding Your Professional Network
An healthy professional network plays a major role in long-term career path. I already mentioned that most of the people you get to meet in conferences are like-minded people in your profession. They might be your technical peer, business lead for new project or future employer/employee. If you make them become part of your network, they will become a great resource to your future.
I've always left a bunch of my business cards in all the events I've attended. Some of the people I work with, some of the people whom I will contact for technical clarifications, some of the people who are my friends, some of the people who seek my opinions are the results of the contacts I made at the conferences and meetups.
Mutual benefits for you and your company
Your company will encourage you to speak at conferences or at least attend them not only because they want you to learn and grow but because they benefit equally as much as you when the company name comes out in a conference.
It will expose the company's brand to the community, what products they have, what solutions they provide, what tech stack they use. If a bunch of people finds the services offered by you are interesting and starts talking about that in networking sessions, the company already got a few lead customers.
If a bunch of people were interested in your tech stack, the way you work and how you solve problems, the company already got few potential recruits.
So, by stepping out of your workplace, collaborating and sharing knowledge in conferences, apart building your career you also make your company grow. If you are speaking, you will be sharing the knowledge on how you or your company work and you will set a path to the people in the audience who are trying to solve similar problem. If more people started liking your approach and following them, it will leave a legacy for you and your company.
Don't worry, even if you are not speaking you will learning something new from the conference and will be bringing back all the positive knowledge to your organization. By doing so, you not only can educate your juniors but also you tend to make good decisions as you know something more by listening to others experience and mistakes.
A good programmer learns from his or her mistakes. A great programmer learns from others mistakes.
Most of the startups will sponsor their developers to attend conferences that are related to their field of work. I go to at least 3 big technical conference per year and 1 local meetup per month, just to keep my skills sharp, spread knowledge among my colleagues and take better engineering decisions. And, thankfully, I have had very generous and supportive employers.