Conferences, so many conferences

Photo by Mikael Kristenson via Unsplash

My company has been super generous, allowing me to attend several tech conferences already within my nearly 6 months there. I have been paid as if I were at work, and have even been reimbursed for the one for which I paid $300. (Others I have either received a free ticket because of affiliations with tech Meetup groups, or have volunteered in exchange for free tickets.) Truthfully, though, I have grown tired of conferences. I love to learn, but I am discouraged by a couple of things.

First, some attendees disrupt the sessions by coming in late and/or leaving early. As a room facilitator for the Chicago Coder Conference this week, I was really surprised at all the disruptions. Who thinks its okay to come in 20 minutes late to an hour-long session, and then leave 15 minutes thereafter? Have some respect for the presenter! The volunteer organizers worked their butts off to make it a quality event and if presenters decide not to come back, that would be disgraceful. Chicago, you can do better!

Second, with regard to representation of women, there were only 20% women speakers (22 of 111 total, as listed on the website.) Though this is the tech industry average, only one of the sessions I attended in the two days had a women speaker. I know Chicago has more women who could have presented. Please step up, women! We need to see you!

Third and finally, the information was over my head in most of the sessions I attended. Because I am so new to the tech world and have focused primarily on Android development, I was not very familiar with most of the content. I have been exposed to the tools and frameworks discussed because they are either being used or at least talked about at my company, but I do not have any training or first-hand experience with them. Therefore, I didn’t have enough base knowledge to be able to follow along with the presentations. I hope that the mere additional exposure to these products and services will help me understand them better in the future.

For now, going forward I intend to only attend Android-centered and Women-In-Tech conferences.

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