In December, Margo and Dom attended the DockerCon Barcelona where they had a chance to chat with many interesting people from the Docker Community.
Sometimes getting a cheaper or even free pass to certain conferences might be easier than you think as long as you make a strong case for it and you don’t give up. Here are a few tips that we’ve overheard at various events like Meetups and Conferences we attended in 2018:
Here is a quick cheat sheet that should help you in preparing all the necessary answers before asking your manager to send you to a conference, you can download it here.
00:00:15 Liz Rice If you want to attend an event you have to identify why it’s relevant to what you do, what you’re going to learn from it, what you’re going to bring back to the company from it. What value can you add to the event and what value can you bring back from the event?
00:00:34 Don Bauer I’ve worked for several companies that in the interview made a promise of conferences. And then you’ll talk to them and they’re worried that all of the exposure and meeting all these other teams and people, is going to lead to them leaving the company because they might find something better.
00:00:53 Gareth Rushgrove I think conferences, and not just this one but all technical conferences, are actually a good way of both learning specific things, having time to focus on learning and getting better at your job.
00:01:07 Don Bauer The company I’m at, realised pretty quickly that it’s an investment they’re making in their employees. And it makes them happy, but it also makes them better professionals.
00:01:17 Banjot Chanana The first tip would be to tell them what you’re bringing back from the conference that will be useful for everybody else. Because, one of the things that most bosses are afraid of is that you go to the conference and you either hang out, or you do something that’s not part of the conference, or you’re kind of wasting time. So you want to make sure you can tell them this is what you can use and apply and: “I will bring it back and I will make sure I do a lunch brown bag and teach the rest of the team”, or “I’ll bring all the notes and make sure that it’s communicated to everybody else”.
00:01:24 Alex Palmer It might save probably days or even months of effort down the line if I’ve learnt a few things here, that would mean that I don’t go down a path that I otherwise would have in the future. So that kind of justification would be how I’d try to sell it. Of course to do that I need to believe it myself.
00:02:09 Gareth Rushgrove The other side is actually, increasingly technology is moving incredibly quickly, being at something like DockerCon, like you’re here with other people who are solving the same problems as you and learning from their experiences is probably the cheapest, fastest, safest way of accelerating anything you’re doing.
00:02:29 Don Bauer We get to expand our networks, we get to learn how to do new things that we probably otherwise wouldn’t have had access to. So if it’s important for the company to invest in their employees, then it’s absolutely the first thing I would mention in trying to convince a boss or a manager, or a VP to you know… let your engineers come to conferences. We need to make them available to everybody! That’s how we learn, that’s how we get better and that’s how we network and figure out how to do the next big thing, or what the next big thing is.
00:03:05 Dieter Reuter First you have to be curious…
00:03:07 Liz Rice You know, sometimes it’s even having the right conversations with the right people. If you know those people are going to be at an event, then that’s a good reason to be there.
00:03:17 Dieter Reuter Then you look at what is the right conference for you and then you try to follow these guys on Twitter. Ask the conference leaders: “ok how can I get a free pass, how to get a sponsorship to attend?”. So just try to get in touch with these guys.
00:03:35 Banjot Chanana Probably the second tip I would say is you should also explain who you’re going to meet. So if you’re going to break out sessions or if you’re trying to meet other people from other companies, that work in a similar way to you, then that networking also helps when you come back, because you can say: “I will go and learn some best practices from this company that is also in our field”, “I will find out more about how other engineers are solving these problems”; “Here are five problems I’m going to take that we have, and I will try to find answers for them”.
00:04:11 Liz Rice Think about picking the events that really relate to what your company does or what you do in that company.
00:04:21 Dieter Reuter Don’t give up. Never give up, just try, try, try and then magical things can happen, no! Will happen.