My experience at GOTO Berlin and 2 takeaways in participating in tech conference

There are so many interesting and motivational tech conference around the world. However those which have good quality talk and many people is eager to join is limited. I think one of them is [GOTO conference](https://blog.gotocon.com/conferences/) GOTO conference is held in 4 citied through the year; Chicago, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Berlin.

Luckily I live in Berlin and I got a chance to attend the GOTO Berlin this year. I’m going to illustrate my experience there and share 2 takeaways with you.

GOTO Berlin 2017

GOTO Berlin was consist of two parts, workshop and conference. The conference was held on 16th and 17th of November 2017. More than 900 people gathered in the center of Berlin to participate in.

The topic ranged widely; Programming Languages, Cloud Service, Agile methodology, Artificial Intelligence and more.

Are you interested in the talk to listen? It’s possible to listen the talk on [GOTO Play](https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.gotoplay) mobile app. What a surprise, the talks on GOTO Berlin already uploaded the day after the conference.

Not only the talk, there are some social events. One of them was networking for Woman in Tech. I was surprised the portion of female participants in the conference after having read this article([What It’s Like to Be a Woman at a Tech Conference](https://shift.newco.co/what-its-like-to-be-a-woman-at-a-tech-conference-8a1a299ac82b)).

I felt 10–20% of participants at GOTO Berlin were women. So in the networking event, I mingled with other participants. I was surprised how diverse background each participants have and it was a great chance to get to know other women.

2 Takeaways

1. Preparation is important

During the 2 days conference, 60 talks were given by the speakers. Unfortunately it’s impossible to listen to all talks on live at the conference as we only have one body.

So it would be crucial to prepare for the conference beforehand in order to make full use of it. Even though all talks have room that you can learn something new, it is better to listen to the talk that you can learn more or you want to learn out of it.

The information of a speaker and a talk is available online so you can have a look before the conference starts. Then you can pick up talks that you want to listen on live before the conference starts.

2. Raise your hand!

In order to join the conference, you need a ticket. Honestly speaking, the ticket price is not that cheap. When it comes to GOTO conference, considering the quality of the conference, I think the ticket price is reasonable.

If you are employed, it is highly likely that your employer support the cost of a ticket. Many companies offers support for learning material and work related conference.

However your employer might not support the cost. Also it possible that you are freelancer or unemployed or student. Still it is not impossible to join those conference even though you cannot afford to pay the ticket.

If you are student, you can register as a volunteer crew. Instead of helping the conference on a side of organization, you will be able to get a chance to participate the conference.

Furthermore, companies and organization offers a grant and ticket giveaway. I met an woman from the United States during GOTO Berlin. She got a grant from Google to join GOTO Berlin. The grant covers traveling cost (though there is a limit, still it should be a big help) and give a free ticket. Not all conferences might not have this option, but if you have a specific conference that you want to attend, you can check if they offer this option.

I also got the free ticket. WomanWhoCode, the organization to empower female in tech industry offered ticket giveaway. Not only GOTO conference but the other conferences and events offer ticket giveaway through WomanWhoCode very frequently. I think this ticket giveaway opens a door for more people to get in these conferences or events they want to participate in.

Final word

It’s true that you can watch the talk which was given at the conference online. However, participating in the conference give you a chance to talk to speaker directly and get mingled with new people who have similar interest and skills.