All The Things You’re Missing Out On When You Don’t Attend Tech Events
Those conferences, hackathons, meetups, seminars, etc., that you always say you’re going to go to but then don’t? That’s your loss. Don't let it be.
5 min read
We’ve all been there. We see on Facebook, Eventbrite, Meetup, or through a friend that a cool event is happening next weekend. Maybe it’s a speed-networking event with amazing and successful women in tech or an Intro to Machine Learning talk with Google - no matter what, it sounds awesome and seems like something that will definitely help us further our careers. Or pad our CVs/resumes. Or reach our dreams.
But alas, the day has arrived and you feel like backing out. You’re too tired after work or don’t feel like networking or socializing. You made other plans because you “forgot.” You make up excuses and ultimately back out and forget you even were going to attend to begin with.
You probably made a mistake, and here’s why.
1) There are things you can Google… and then there are secret tips that you only learn directly from the mouths of industry experts.
Yes, there are thousands of blogs and websites you can go to read what seemingly every person in Silicon Valley has to say. There are online courses you can take and books you can read. But hearing from local experts at a conference, hackathon, meetup, etc., forces you to engage directly with the person (instead of spacing out while reading an article online) and gives you the opportunity to ask them any follow-up questions you or another attendee may have. Don’t know what to ask? No problem: other people will definitely be asking questions of their own, so you can learn things from hearing their responses or help you think of a question of your own.
2) LinkedIn connections are the new Facebook friends
Some event types have just a few experts but an abundance of local talent just like you. You may be hesitant to interact at first since the only thing you know about them at this point is they also like the tech subject of the event you’re attending, but that’s all you really need to know to hit it off. People love talking about what they’re passionate about and love just as much to hear what you’re passionate about. So go on, get your geek on, and chat with your fellow technophiles. The connections you make here can teach you just as much as a local expert so make sure you stay in touch - LinkedIn or otherwise! Especially since a recent study from Lever shows that applicants that are referred to a company are 10x more likely to be hired than ones who apply independently.
3) Maybe you’ll find a new role model/mentor/someone who is #goals
Whether they're a well-known leader in the industry, a classic senior engineer, a local student, or even a designer for a small start-up down the road, almost anyone can be a great mentor for you. The last event I attended, I heard from a UX Designer who started out as a cold-caller salesperson at the company with no prior design experience and worked her way up through the company into her dream job today. Not only does her story A.) make her a surprisingly great mentor, since although she’s not an engineer, she’s an amazing example of someone who makes their dream job a reality, but also B.) it put on display the impact of the mentors she had in her life that helped and encouraged her into the position she is in today. Mentors are incredibly impactful for setting and reaching goals, expanding your network, answering questions, and more... so why not try to find one?
4) Unsure what to do in life? Bored by your current position? Looking for some spark? There’s plenty of inspiration to go around here!
Everyone’s story is different and almost every story can contain something inspirational. Whether it be someone’s work ethic, what they fought through to become the person they are today, what they’ve accomplished already, or how they face and challenge what they’re passionate about every day, hearing from people in the industry and your peers can give you that extra motivation and determination that you didn’t even realize you needed. I guarantee whenever you leave an event, your brain will be buzzing with all the things (whether goals or far-off dreams) that you suddenly want to accomplish ASAP.
5) You can even earn some confidence boosts yourself!
You may not even realize it yet, but you’re already a role-model yourself to those that have yet to make it to where you are today. Whether you’re still in high school or trying to transition into a job in tech, no matter what you still have a lot of experience that has led you to your current self that’s standing (or sitting) at a conference or meetup or seminar. When you’re meeting people, feel free to share your story and offer any advice or answers you have to anyone that asks! Helping others is extremely gratifying, and maybe you’ll become someone else’s mentor in the process.
6) No matter what… there’s always free stuff!
Tech events of every kind, always, ALWAYS, have free stuff! Whether it’s company swag (stickers, pens, galore!), pizza, snacks, t-shirts, booze, or prizes, you’ll never be leaving empty-handed. Aside from the material items, there also will be plenty of fun. Icebreakers, games, contests, or laughs with new friends are also all free - so if you’re not going for any of the above five reasons, maybe just go for the fun. And who knows, maybe you’ll get inspired along the way.
Have I convinced you yet? Search your local tech chapters on Facebook, Eventbrite, and Meetup - or check out our own events page - and find the next event that excites you. I promise you it will be beneficial to your life or career so I challenge you to attend!
Are you going to a new tech event, hackathon, seminar, meetup, etc., because of this post? Message me or comment below - I look forward to hearing what you did (or did not) learn!
Hi friends, I'm Kim! I'm a fourth year (of five!) computer engineering and computer science student at Northeastern University in Boston. I've worked four full-time software developer internships (or as we call them at NU, co-ops) so far at EMC, Apple, Starry, and now Turo! I also enjoy art and design, rock climbing, swimming in lakes, and doppler radar - though my passions lately have mainly revolved around diversifying the tech workplace. Please don't hesitate to send me a message; I'd love to chat!