1–3 October, I attended CompCon.
As a newbie developer
This was a great experience. I deployed my first server instance (and wrote down many words that I would ask people about later). I was surrounded by a small cohort who were leaps and bounds ahead of me and even when I walked out of a workshop feeling like an idiot, I received messages reassuring me that everyone goes through this and that most of the people in the room had been doing this for years. (I found a quiet spot downstairs and did an entry-level tutorial and felt slightly better about myself).
Takeaways included 3 business cards, a new curiosity for Rust, terrific loot, decent food, and enrolling for Functioning Programming Principles in Scala.
Go to events
Events are good. Talk to people. Be proactive about learning about stuff. If you are bored, help the person next to you learn, and in doing so, you’ll learn to be a better teacher. Blog about things. Volunteer for lightning talks. Eat the included food. Take the loot. Talk to the speakers in the breaks. Watch people’s faces change when someone says something cool or inflammatory.
You really do only get out of it, what you want to. If you sit there waiting for things to happen to you, you’re in the wrong place. Go to a strip club or a movie instead. Most conferences and events require your attention and shock horror your involvement to be worthwhile.