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Hasib Ahmed
Hasib Ahmed

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Making the Most of AWS Summits: A Developer's Guide

Hello all fellow tech enthusiasts and AWSers (is that a thing?) out there! ๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿผ

You're probably familiar with the excitement of AWS Summits, those gatherings of geeks like us, clinging to laptops and trying to find the best free t-shirt and caffeinated drink that's on offer. It's a toned-down version of the larger re:Invent convention but still packs a lot of meaty talks. With an impressive 1,100 AWS partners and over 25,000 attendees in the recent AWS Summit London 2023, it's evident these events are more than just flashy keynotes and freebies, but there are always nuggets of knowledge hidden away.

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Here are some tips for navigating your next AWS Summit, based on my own experience:

1. Welcome networking opportunities

Many attendees miss the real charm of Summits: networking. Instead of sticking with your colleagues or catching up on work, utilise this chance to interact with others. Get into conversations with engineers at the various booths, discuss potential implementations of technologies, and make valuable connections that could help you later. Remember, it's not just about sales; engineers are there for lead generation & to build connections too.

2. Embrace emerging tech

Sure the like of Datadog, VMWare, and Citrix catch your eye with their huge booths and raffle prizes. But the real breakthrough tech lurks with the booths barely big enough to fit a laptop on! Here you'll find emerging startups displaying their cool tech with the primary engineers usually at the forefront. They are interested in gaining early adopters, not just generating sales. So don't overlook these booths due to lack of flare; this is where the real technological innovations lie.

3. Study the schedule

With a jam-packed agenda, there are far too many sessions for you to go to. In retrospect, I would have devised a plan of attack to go to the most meaningful/interesting sessions in my opinion and allowed plenty of time to make my way to the theatre holding that session. Lines get very long so itโ€™s key to be there early so you can get a seat! I would also take notes in these sessions to refer back to later for my own learning.

4. Be open-minded

Represent your efforts professionally, regardless of the company or the context. Being open-minded will allow you to see technical choices and decisions taken by other companies in a different light. There is always a reason why company X has chosen their current tech stack, or why theyโ€™ve made use of one AWS service when there are others which could be better suited. Learn from these decisions and ask open-ended questions to facilitate deeper discussions!

5. Don't miss out on swag

Iโ€™m still a novice at getting the best swag, perhaps next year Iโ€™ll imagine Iโ€™m in a real-life loot-based RPG game? Most vendors hold late-day raffles, which are fantastic chances to win some cool tech toys. However, don't hold off until the end of the day; start your swag hunt early before the best items disappear. Some notable items I scored are a few sunglasses, very colourful socks, a game emulator, lots of quality notebooks & enough trek bars to start my own store.

Some talks that stuck with me & are an interesting read:

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In conclusion, remember that AWS Summits are not just about the keynotes. They're about connecting with people, discovering new technology, deep diving into AWS services in the advanced talks, learning from the decisions of other like-minded engineers and of course and grabbing some cool swag! So, next time you're at an AWS Summit don't miss out on these opportunities & most of all, enjoy yourselves!

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