There are so many technical conferences that happen this time of year, but due to COVID-19, they’ve all been turned into virtual conferences. It’s a bummer because technical conferences can be fun to attend because they give you a chance to meet others in your career field and to make new connections. Since you won’t have the same experience as attending in person, is it worth attending the virtual conference at all? Short answer: yes.
4 Reasons to Attend a Virtual Conference
It’s true. The virtual conference will not be the same as in-person. However, the virtual option has its upsides, and you can still glean a lot of value.
1. They are Free!
Most of the virtual conferences are free. In the case of VMworld 2020, which is the biggest virtualization conference in the world, the registration is free. They are offering a “premier pass” which is $299 and includes extras like dedicated one-on-one breakout sessions with experts, a VCP exam voucher 50% discount, and $100 off 2021’s conference. If you are planning on taking a certification in the near future, this is a great deal. Other conferences are offering similar registrations, but for the most part, they are all free to the general public.
2. Keynotes are Still Keynotes
Keynote addresses will still take place, but the difference is that you won’t have to be jammed up next to someone on your left and right. You also won’t have to wait in line or rush to get a good spot. Keynote addresses generally are the most exciting sessions of the week. New technologies are introduced, roadmap updates are provided, and there are lots of things to learn. While the general keynote session usually involves the CEO or COO, the second day keynote is much more exciting to me. The day two keynotes usually go into more detail on the technology that was announced, and it is usually run by the CTO or a member of the technical development staff. Whether it’s virtual or in person, the keynotes are still a big part of the experience.
3. Less Stress
If you have attended a tech conference in the past, then you know how stressful it can be to make arrangements for travel and lodging, getting time off of work, getting there, and getting around the conference venue. The expenses pile up, and if you aren’t on an expense account, it can really break the bank. With a virtual conference, the stress is removed. You simply log in and enjoy the content. No need for comfortable shoes for all the walking, and no need for the extra chargers for all your devices. Just sit back and enjoy.
4. Do More than You Could in Person
Since it is a virtual conference, you can end up doing more than you normally would at an in-person conference. Not only can you still be work while listening to a session in the background, but you can also see more sessions with them being recorded. All of the content is generally available online after the event, but with the virtual aspect, sessions may also be on demand. You will be able to interact with presenters of live sessions through chat questions, and if your question isn’t answered immediately, expect that it will be at some point, since it is recorded.
Make the Best of the Virtual Situation
The situation with COVID-19 is tough on everyone in different ways, and seeing the positive aspects of the virtual world is one way to make the best of the current situation . Thankfully, many conferences are not cancelled, but rather converted into a virtual event. The best thing about all of these conferences becoming a virtual event is that you will be able to fit more events in your schedule. With many conferences having free components, unlike before, you can attend multiple events. We’re all in the same boat, so make the best of it and take advantage of the virtual conferences where possible.