A lot of developers have the misconception that speaking at conferences is only for experts who have been in the industry for years or that only big extroverted personalities speak at conferences. We’re here to tell you this is not true.
1. Everyone has a story to tell
Whether you realize it, somewhere inside of you, you have an interesting story to tell — even if you’re relatively new as a software developer. One thing all these events have in common is they’re better off when they have a diverse set of speakers with diverse viewpoints. For example, it’s common for experienced developers to lose their “beginner’s mind” when working with a technology for so long. A talk by a beginner about their struggle to learn a particular technology is often eye-opening and just the kick in the pants experienced developers need to make it better.
2. Benefits of being a speaker
Being a speaker offers a lot of benefits. The main one is that it’s a forcing function to spend time deeply learning a topic. If you plan to give a talk on a subject, it’s a good idea to research it beyond what you already know. And teaching a topic to others is a great way to solidify your own understanding.
Not only that, it’s a great way to receive feedback on your ideas. Often, after giving a talk, someone will have a unique insight to share that improves upon your ideas. You wouldn’t have received that feedback without putting your ideas out there.
Another benefit is the exposure and networking opportunities that being a speaker entails. Because your badge will have the word SPEAKER on it, people are more likely to want to meet you and talk to you. When you’ve spoken at a few conferences, it gets your name out there. When you apply for a new job, people may give you more opportunities because they’ve heard you speak.
And a few perks come with being a speaker. Often, conferences have special speaker-only events where speakers can get to know each other. This event often leads to a great networking opportunities and friendships because it’s easier to remember people in a smaller setting. Also, as you speak at more and more conferences, you may see some speakers at multiple conferences and even become friends. It helps when you go to a conference to already know some of the other people there because you’ve spoken together before.
Source: Guthals Sarah, Haack Phil (2019), GitHub for Dummies, Wiley.