Why You Need to Attend Conferences

By Bryan Norden

If you are passionate about software engineering then you need to go to a developer conference. Whether you are new to developing software or have 10+ years of experience, you should go to a developer conference. If you have a lot of knowledge or experience, you should consider talking at a conference. There are conferences for all types of programming languages and technical fields, which can be overwhelming. The key is to find one that is in your field and will help you become a better software engineer.

My First Conference

I’ve been developing software for several years now but I haven’t been to a developer conference, until recently. I attended my first developer conference in Denver, Colorado called 360iDev. I had the time of my life at 360iDev and would highly recommend it for anyone developing on Apple products. For those who are unfamiliar with 360iDev, it’s a conference for iOS, Mac OS, watchOS, and tvOS developers.

Playing with the Nintendo Switch

At the conference, they offer you sessions filled with information on new topics or techniques and hands on coding sessions to improve your software engineering skills. There were talks and demonstrations about Augmented Reality (ARKit), Core Machine Learning (CoreML), Reverse Engineering/Debugging, Grand Central Dispatch, how to build UI in code, tvOS, contributing to Swift, and the list goes on. It was amazing how much knowledge I was able to learn in four days! The community behind 360iDev is truly remarkable and inspirational. I was sad to leave all the wonderful people I met and I cannot wait to see them again next year at 360iDev or other conferences.

What I Learned

Going to a developer conference has inspired me to strive to be the best software engineer I can be. It opened my eyes to new opportunities and new development features that I could implement into the apps I build. What I learned at the conference was priceless. Besides learning new things, I was able to network with so many people in my field from all over the world that share the same passion for software engineering as I do.

My Recommendations

After going to my first conference, I came up with some tips to help others.

  1. Attend as many open sessions as you can to soak up as much knowledge as possible. It really helps if you plan out a schedule of sessions ahead of time.
  2. Reach out to the speakers and ask more questions! The speakers have a ton of knowledge about their topic and can’t possible fit everything in one session, but they’re always happy to share more after the session.
  3. I encourage everyone to network with other attendees. I met a bunch of people at the conference and it was great hearing their stories about their careers and projects. Networking with others is one area I wish spent more time on.

I highly recommend going to a developer conference at least once, if not, as many as you can go to. It has truly changed my life and career as a software engineer. The knowledge you learn and the people you meet will be priceless for your growth as a developer. Attending 360iDev has inspired me to one day be a speaker at conferences.

One of TribalScale’s first employees for the Orange County office, Bryan Norden, is an Agile Software Engineer at TribalScale. He is currently on the mobile team working on iOS applications. When he is not coding, hacking or learning new things, you can find Bryan snowboarding, boating, shooting, playing video games, drone racing, exploring the world or meeting new people.

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