My experience at GOTO Berlin and Two Tech Conference Takeaways

Event Reflections

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Original article published here.

There are so many interesting and motivational tech conferences around the world. However, those with quality talks and a lot of people eager to join are limited. I think one of them is the GOTO conference. The GOTO conference is held in 4 cities throughout the year; Chicago, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Berlin.

Luckily I live in Berlin and I got a chance to attend GOTO Berlin this year. I’m going to illustrate my experience there and share 2 takeaways with you.

GOTO Berlin 2017

GOTO Berlin consists of two parts, a workshop, and a conference. The conference was held on the 16th and 17th of November 2017. More than 900 people gathered in the center of Berlin to participate.

The topics ranged widely; Programming Languages, Cloud Service, Agile methodology, Artificial Intelligence and more.

Are you interested in listening to the talk? It’s possible to listen to the talk on GOTO Play mobile app. What a surprise, the talks on GOTO Berlin were already uploaded the day after the conference.

Not only the talk, there were some social events. One of them was networking for Woman in Tech. I was surprised at the portion of female participants in the conference after having read this article (What It’s Like to Be a Woman at a Tech Conference).

I felt 10–20% of participants at GOTO Berlin were women. So in the networking event, I mingled with other participants. I was surprised at how diverse the participants backgrounds were, and it was a great chance to get to know other women.

2 Takeaways

1. Preparation is important

During the 2 day conference, 60 talks were given by the speakers. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to listen to all talks live at the conference, as we only have one body.

So it is crucial to be prepared for the conference beforehand in order to make full use of it. Even though all of the talks have room so that you can learn something new, it is better to listen to the talk so that you can learn more and get everything that you want to learn out of it.

The information of a speaker and a talk is available online so you can have a look before the conference starts. Then you can pick the talks that you want to listen to live, before the conference starts.

2. Raise your hand! 

In order to join the conference, you need a ticket. Honestly speaking, the ticket price is not that cheap. When it comes to the GOTO conference, considering the quality of the conference, I think the ticket price is reasonable.

If you are employed, it is highly likely that your employer will support the cost of a ticket. Many companies offer support for learning material and work-related conferences.

However, your employer might not support the cost. Also, it is possible that you are a freelancer or an unemployed or student. Still, it is not impossible to attend these conferences even if you cannot afford to pay the ticket.

If you are student, you can register as volunteer crew. Instead of helping the conference on the side of organization, you will be able to participate in the conference.

Furthermore, companies and organization offer a grant and ticket giveaway. I met a woman from the United States during GOTO Berlin. She got a grant from Google to join GOTO Berlin. The grant covers traveling costs (though there is a limit, still it should be a big help) and provide a free ticket. Not all conferences might have this option, but if you have a specific conference that you want to attend, you can check if they offer this.

I also got the free ticket. Women Who Code, the organization to empower women in tech, offered a ticket giveaway. Not only did they have an opportunity for the GOTO conference, but they also offer tickets to other conferences and events through their CODE Review Newsletter. I think these ticket giveaways open a door for more people to get into the conferences or events they want to participate in.

Final word

It’s true that you can watch the talk which was given at the conference online. However, participating in the conference gives you a chance to talk to speaker directly and get mingled with new people who have similar interests and skills.

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