In this article, we will learn why attending tech events is important and how to find which events to attend. You will also learn important things to do before, during, and after the event to build your professional network and improve your networking skills.
Why is attending technical events important?
Attending technical events increases your visibility to people in the industry, and gives you a space where you can learn from them, communicate with them, and grow your network. Growing your network is very important for your career as a developer as many opportunities come through our connections and networks. You can read more about this in the lesson “What is networking and why is it important?“.
Think about these questions as you learn about finding tech events to attend.
- Which are the best tech events and how do I find them?
- How can I prepare before attending an event?
- How can I get the most benefit from attending an event?
Finding tech events to attend
The first part of this lesson focuses on finding tech events to attend and the best websites to help you find them.
Learn more about finding tech events to attend:
- TechMeetups.com: This is the largest meetup and events site online that offers a wide range of tech events, many of which are free.
- Eventbrite: Eventbrite is a great place for finding tech events as well (and many of them are free).
- Confs.tech: This is a crowd-sourced site that lists upcoming tech conferences. You can sort by language and location to find any that might be a good fit for you.
Preparation before attending an event
Once you have found an event you want to attend, it’s time to prepare for it. It is very important to prepare before any event because events are great places to not only learn, but also to build your connections with people in the industry. Preparing for an event beforehand will help you get the most out of it. In this part of the lesson, we will discuss how to prepare before attending an event.
How to prepare before attending a tech event
- Research the presenters: Take some time to research the presenters. Are they on Twitter? If so, start following them on Twitter and see if they have any tweets that are interesting to you. If they do, like and retweet. All these little actions will increase your visibility to the presenters and their network, thus helping you grow your network. If you couldn’t find them on Twitter, are they on LinkedIn? If so, you can send them a connection message letting them know that you will be attending their event and that you are looking forward to it.
- Research the attendees: Take some time to research the other attendees. This might not always be easy; a tech conference will likely have a list of speakers, but probably won’t publish a list of every attendee who has RSVP’d. However, the event may have a dedicated Twitter page where they post updates before the event, and you can check the comments and retweets to find a probable list of attendees.
- Introduce yourself to attendees: When you have researched the people you are interested in meeting from the step above, reach out to them to introduce yourself. Twitter allows you to send DMs to people so you can even message some of the attendees you see commenting. Other websites like Meetup.com allow you to directly message organizers and attendees. You also have websites like conferencebuddy.io which allow you to buddy up and chat with other people who will be attending the same conference as you. To introduce yourself, your message should be brief and to the point: let them know you’re attending the same event, let them know why you chose to write them, and then tell them you look forward to meeting them.
Learn more about preparing before attending an event:
- Meetup.com: This website allows you to DM attendees before an event.
- Conferencebuddy.io: This website allows you to buddy-up with someone so you can both attend an event together.
Getting the most out of an event you are attending
- Take notes: Taking notes during the event can really help solidify the information you are receiving and help you prepare questions for the presenter or the other attendees.
- Share your contact details and collect theirs: The event attendees are all potential connections who could potentially refer you to a company, help you with a code review, guide you during an interview process, or build a joint project with you. Don’t leave the event hoping that you’ll see them at another meetup. Give them your LinkedIn/Twitter contact details and ask for theirs too.
What to do after attending an event
In this part of the article, we will look into things you should do after the event so that you build more relationships and grow your network with the people you have just met.
Stay connected: Don’t forget about the people you met at the event now that it is over. Connect with them on LinkedIn, add them to Twitter. Send them a short message telling them how nice it was to meet them at the event. Staying in contact will make it easier for them to remember you and provide you with a support structure for the future if you ever need advice or guidance during your job search.
Tweet about the event: Say something on social media about the event you just attended. Remember to use the hashtag of the event in your tweet so that it reaches all the attendees. Every event has a particular hashtag created by the organizers so remember to ask them for it or go to the website of the event and look for the hashtag. In your tweet, you can also tag a presenter you liked at the event as well because they tend to have a large network and this could help you grow your network.
Write about the event: Write an article on your favorite blogging website (for example, Medium is a good website) about one of the presentations you liked during the event or the event in general. Share your article with friends, family, and on your social media too, using hashtags to tag in the presenters or the organizers of the event. The more you share your articles with the world, the more visible you and your skills are to the world.
How often should I attend events?
You should aim to attend at least 1 event per month. This will allow you to meet new people in the industry on a regular basis. The more events you attend, the more people will begin to know you and become familiar with you. This, in turn, will help keep you at the top of their minds when they hear of a possible job opportunity. Attending events regularly will also help you stay up to date with the changes that are happening in the tech industry so you know how to adapt to those changes.