A Developer's Guide: Giving Your First Conference Talk

As developers, we often find ourselves in a constant state of learning and growth. One of the ways to contribute to this cycle of knowledge is by sharing our insights at conferences. Here's a recounting of my experience, which might serve as a guide for those considering this path.

Identifying the Topic

The first step in preparing for a conference talk is to identify a topic. It's essential to find a balance between a subject that you're passionate about and one that would engage potential audiences. This process involves brainstorming, jotting down ideas, and refining these bullet points over time. A personal anecdote here is that I found my topic while working on a challenging project. The solution I developed became the core of my talk.

Finding the Right Conference

Once you have a clear vision of your talk, the next step is to find suitable conferences. A helpful resource is https://dev.events/EU, a site that lists various conferences. To make the process manageable, consider filtering the list to include only those conferences that are within a reasonable travel distance.

The Submission Process

After identifying potential conferences, research their Call for Proposals (CfPs) timelines. Set reminders for each of these dates, ensuring you're ready to submit your proposal as soon as the CfPs open. The submission usually requires details about the talk's topic, intended audience, a summary of the talk, and a bio about yourself. A practical tip here is to prepare these details in advance, so you're ready to submit as soon as the CfP opens.

The Outcome

Responses to proposals can vary. You might receive some declines, but don't be disheartened. Remember, every 'no' is a step closer to a 'yes'. In my case, out of five submissions, two were accepted.

The Experience

Stepping onto the stage for the first time can be a mix of nerves and anticipation. However, the opportunity to share your ideas and engage with the audience can be incredibly rewarding. Conferences also serve as great networking platforms, allowing you to connect with other professionals and gain insights from their talks. A useful hack for dealing with stage fright is to practice your talk multiple times in front of a mirror or a supportive audience.

Reflections and Advice

Looking back, giving a talk at a conference is a significant step in a developer's professional development. It's a journey that requires careful planning, preparation, and a willingness to step out of your comfort zone. If you're considering giving a talk at a conference, I encourage you to take the leap. It might seem intimidating at first, but the experience can provide valuable growth opportunities. Remember, every speaker you admire started from somewhere, and with each talk, you'll gain more confidence and expertise. In conclusion, sharing your knowledge at a conference is not only beneficial for your personal growth but also contributes to the broader developer community. So, go ahead and take that step. Your unique insights could be the inspiration or solution that someone else is seeking.

Call to Action

Now that you have a roadmap, it's time to take the first step. Start brainstorming your talk topic today, and who knows, you might be the next speaker at a leading conference.