“I’m not an expert“, “I’m a PowerShell Noob“, “I’m not good dealing with other people“, “Bellevue is far“, “I‘m afraid of @United“,”Will I fit in?“…Don Jones blogged about this very topic. Some of these thoughts went through my mind when deciding whether or not I would put myself out there and attend my first IT related conference since the Windows 2000 launch..yes, that long ago, and yes, I’m that old. I’m not entirely new to PowerShell as described here. I developed and teach a 2 credit introductory PowerShell course at a local 2 year college.
My goal with this post is to motivate other fellow “Noobs” like myself to put themselves out there, whether it’s contributing in the community forums, asking questions, or even attend that scary PowerShell Summit 2018. The following is just some experiences and takeaways that I wanted to share. I chose to hold before posting this as I wanted to be able to share post Summit communications with the folks I met while at the Summit.
Breath! This is probably hard for some of the introverted folks out there. Remember, you are going to be with A LOT of like minded people. Don’t be afraid to be honest about where you fall on the skill set chart. Everyone is there to learn, contribute and have fun! It’s pretty much a “judge-free” zone in most respects.
Feed You Brain
The PowerShell.org team did a smart job of providing healthy snacks and meals to keep your brain engaged throughout the conference. Yogurt, trail-mix, protein shots, fruit, wine and beer. The meals are second to none and meet almost all dietary needs/restrictions. You barely touch your per-Diem throughout the conference. Oh yeah, all the Starbucks you can handle (apparently they’re a big deal out there). You need to make sure you are feeding your brain the right stuff so you can digest (pun intended) all the great info. Doughnuts (sugars and carbs) isn’t the right fuel for these sessions.
Choose your Sessions Wisely
The sessions were plentiful. I wished I could have cloned myself for Pete’s sake. Most sessions were recorded so you can view online after the Summit. I think it’s important to go with a game plan as the sessions are scheduled and posted on PowerShell.Org in advance. If you’re attending with a colleague…divide and conquer! The variety of topics can seem overwhelming and you may feel it’s above your skill set. It’s not a bad thing to wade out into deeper waters. You’d be surprised what you may pick up. One of my favorite components of the Summit were the lightning demos. Some folks are doing some pretty cool things in the ‘Shell, from #VSCode to PowerShell in Linux. Sometimes all it takes is to see what’s possible.
Talk to people. Get on the Slack channel and get to know people before you hit the Summit. It helps break down those social barriers. Yes, you will forget peoples names, they will forget yours, we are human. It’s nothing personal. Ask people what they do? How are they leveraging PowerShell in their environment? Some may be just like myself and are just getting familiar with the “community” and are looking for ideas and ways they can contribute even though they aren’t hard corp “dev/ops” ninjas.
It’s been a couple of months since the Summit and yes, I have had contact with some of the folks I have met out there. From LinkedIn to Twitter as well as the Slack channel. This is a great “networking” opportunity for anyone not just to share knowledge, but who knows, someone may know of an opportunity that may interest you and might get you further down your career path.
GET OUT OF YOUR HOTEL ROOM!!
My hotel room was a place for me to change clothes, shower and sleep. Period. I was down in the lobby catching up with a group of guys heading for cocktails or dinner. You (or someone) paid for this event so your best bang for your buck is to collaborate and establish connections with people within the community.
This was a great professional experience for me and would recommend it for anyone. They limit the number of attendees to 250 which makes it a more intimate experience. Most Summiteers attending have been to the HUGE conferences (Ignite, Build, VMWorld, etc) and all admitted this was by far the best bang for your buck. My goal is to become a regular attendee and contribute as much as I can to the community, whether it’s participating in the forums, organizing a PowerShell Saturday or just helping out and being a DevOps evangelist. Either way, get out there, contribute and be active!
I’m attending the DevOps Camp in July…wading into some pretty deep waters! Wish me luck!