At this point in my story, I’d found some good groups and meetups to attend to give me some foundation. Many of these groups had suggested that I go to conferences to expand my knowledge and get acquainted with more people. Following their suggestion, I decided to go to a local event, called Central Ohio Day of .NET, and it was great! Some of my acquaintances introduced me to more devs who I still follow on Twitter to this day and receive valuable information from them. Also, by this time, I’d made a habit of following speakers that had good presentations, which has helped out quite a bit as well (some from this event were: Brian Prince, Steve Horn, Dennis Burton, Joe Kuemerle and Matt Casto). Afterward, some of the devs went over to the Microsoft offices and had a game night, which was a blast!
After that, some time had passed, and CodeMash was on it’s way. This event is generally well-received as being one of the most awesome conferences, so I badly wanted to go (if my facts are right, the event sold out ~1000 tickets in about 1 minute…insanity!). However, considering it’s popularity and it’s location being in a pretty nice place, the ticket price is pretty high. I couldn’t afford it, so I asked my company to pay. However, I hadn’t produced anything of solid value in the field of development, so they didn’t want to spend 100’s of dollars on something until they saw that I was really doing something in that field. I plan on going to this one in the near future though, so save me a seat 🙂
Thankfully after that bombshell, there was another conference of great value (and affordable price) that was coming up: KalamazooX. This conference is a bit different from the rest, in that it focuses on soft skills (like communication, motivation, emotion control, when to quit a job, etc.), and it was really good. Although it was focused on developers in professional environments, I feel like this conference helped me in a big way personally, and would’ve been good for anyone to hear, developer or not. Considering the distance from Columbus to Kalamazoo is pretty long, I decided to carpool (thanks for putting up with me Seth). Generally others are interested in saving money too, so asking around helps in these scenarios.
During KalamazooX, and a few times before in some groups, I’d heard about StirTrek. This conference also has a unique piece to it, where there’s technical talk followed up by a movie (the whole thing’s hosted in a movie theatre). This year, it was the new Star Trek movie, so I was sure to go. However, the conference had gotten popular over the years, and I was quite busy that day, so I missed out on the registration (it sold out in 8 minutes!). I kept my chin up in hopes that the waiting list or Twitter would pop up a ticket for me…and Twitter did! I got a tweet from Matt Groves that someone was selling a ticket (Randy Beiter; haven’t talked to him about technical things, but he’s a nice guy nonetheless) and we worked out a transfer of the ticket with the organizers. Sadly, I didn’t attend most of the events because I couldn’t get the day off, but I did get to rub elbows with some new acquaintances at lunch and watch the movie afterward.
It seems during the summer time, a lot of conferences are scheduled, because after StirTrek I had a list of different events to choose from! Eventually I chose CodeStock due to price and location (never went to Knoxville before, but loved everywhere else I went in TN, so I figured it’d be all good). Interestingly enough, there was a decent amount of people coming from Columbus, but I could find no one that wanted to carpool with me (Seth must’ve warned everyone :D). The event was like many others in many aspects, but was two days long and had open rooms where people could discuss things not on the main event schedule. Also, they had an after party at a nice bar/restaurant just down the way that allowed us to relax and talk more freely amongst ourselves.
Well, that pretty much wraps up the big events and people that I’ve met that’ve helped me get to where I’m at now. Next, I’ll be focusing more on direct things that I’m working on, and will update on the latest events/conferences that I attend.
Once again, if you got this far, thanks for reading!