Cover image for Attending A Conference Soon? Consider A Regional Conference!

Attending A Conference Soon? Consider A Regional Conference!

bengreenberg profile image Ben Greenberg ใƒป3 min read

Conferences are a fantastic way to learn new ideas, keep in touch with the latest happenings in your language or framework community, network with people in the industry, and generally, just have a great time. It is an opportunity to step outside your normal day-to-day schedule and experience something new.

If you are considering attending a conference this year, perhaps you ought to look into the wonderful options at the regional level. This is not to discount the fabulous benefits to attending the large national conferences in your preferred language or framework community. Indeed, those conferences provide a truly wonderful opportunity to tap into the pulse with people from across the world.

Yet, in the midst of all the excitement about the massive conferences, we can often overlook the benefits of participating in our regional conferences.

Why should you consider a regional conference? Let me offer you a few thoughts for consideration:

  • Local conferences == Local needs:

There are things that all developers in a language share an interest in and pain points that they all experience. However, there are also topics that only your fellow developers in the same geographic constraints can truly relate to.

Here is an example. What is it like to be a developer in the American South? In a place that feels very far from the hubs of Silicon Valley, London or NYC? What are the resources that you can build locally that can support, grow and sustain your collective careers and professional development? You could have a breakout session at a regional conference on that topic, or perhaps dine together at a shared table during lunch, but you won't be able to dive into those complexities and work towards creating a shared community to the same depth that a dedicated local conference can provide.

  • Quality Networking > Quantity Networking:

You are at a conference with thousands of people. The coffee breaks between sessions are overwhelming. Maybe you are like me and you are an extroverted introvert and love social interaction but in moderation. How do you develop meaningful connections in that kind of space? A conference of 200, 300 or even 500 people can create the context for much richer relationship building.

  • We ๐Ÿ’™Community Power:

The big conferences are driven by volunteers and lots of lay leadership. All of us who attend them and benefit from them owe them a huge debt of gratitude for their countless hours of dedication. So too regional conferences are also run by volunteers, except often with a lot smaller team, a lot less institutional knowledge, and a lot less communal sponsorship. Where a big conference would have x number of people for a committee, a regional conference will have half that number, if not less.

Regional conferences provide a venue that is often more accessible for local folks both in distance, in time off from work or school and in financial reach than the large national conferences. Therefore, we can show our support for those efforts, by putting them on our calendar. Balancing our support for both the big national conferences and the unique service they provide with the smaller regional conferences and the unique service they provide lets us make sure both thrive.

  • Want to Contribute? Start Local!:

Have you been thinking through an idea for a while and would love to share it with the broader community? Did you experience a lesson at work that you think others could benefit from or create a new open-source tool you want to highlight? Why not share it with a regional conference?

The national conferences can receive hundreds of submissions, whereas regional conferences are often hungry to share the learnings, wisdom and thoughts of people in the regional community. It can be a great place to gain invaluable experience teaching publicly, and provide a real value-add to your local language or framework community.

Are you planning to attend, sponsor or present at a regional conference this year? Share it here! Let's celebrate the local communities that enable all of us to thrive!


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