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Alex Radu for AWS Community Builders

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Speaking at AWS re:Invent 2022 - Dev Lounge

This year was the year all my speaking goals came to fruition. My public speaking aspirations for 2022 all were focused on being selected and delivering a talk at AWS re:Invent. Being a cloud professional, public speaker and techie, this was the highlight of my current career and I made it happen!

I was very excited to deliver my talk, "Why Build a Cloud Center of Excellence" as a Dev Chat, a 30 minute session in the Developer Lounge in the magnificent Expo at the Venetian, amidst thousands of cloud experts and enthusiasts. It was a fantastic and unforgettable experience, and I want to share my experience and encourage you to apply for next year, it is awesome!

The selection

The process for the call for papers began early in the summer of 2022, in July, and we were notified of our proposal's outcome by end of August. As an AWS Community Builder, we also have a slightly separate submission process, so definitely gives you an edge of advantage to already be involved in the AWS community. Heroes, User Group Leaders, as well as partners and customers, can apply and reach out to their account managers to find out more about the selection timelines.

The preparation

After being selected, you are required to reply and let AWS know if you are still available and happy to continue with the speaking engagement. You get a re:Invent presentation template and then have until mid-October to prepare and submit your talk and slides. Make sure you keep the proposal in mind as you craft your slides and notes, as it is a long time from when you submit it and to when you deliver the talk.

An extra perk you get as a speaker is the free re:Invent conference pass, though they do not cover expenses!
More than that, they will also provide you with speaker training, materials and support on-site before your talk.

The experience

Once the conference starts, you will have certain speaker appointments to attend (copyediting, tech check, speaker prep etc) as well as a designated room where this will happen, this year it was at the Venetian, near the Expo.

My experience in the whole preparation process has been fantastic, every single AWS contact has been brilliant in helping, informing and making sure my talk is a success! On the day, you will get setup with your presentation, microphone and off you go to deliver your wisdom to the people waiting for it!

In terms of experience, the Dev Chats are shorter builder type sessions, they are in the Expo, so participants get to wear the cool silent disco headsets, and the space can get pretty packed (in my case all seats were taken and had dozens of folks standing to listen in with the headsets).

I was also very lucky and got to do a short interview, to encourage and promote the Dev Chats for next year, I can only say one thing: do it, you never know where it may take you! Also, I ran out of time answering questions, so recommended any outstanding folks reach out to me on PeerTalk to meetup later in the week, that was super successful!

What next

For me, applying to a few more cloud conferences next year to deliver the same content, as it garnered a lot of attention and questions, and a lot of attendees said there isn't much in the space of Cloud Centers of Excellence, so I'll keep spreading the good word!

Alex, Shantavia and Jessica from AWS after the Dev Chat session and interview having fun

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