Conferences are more than just talks

They've had a huge impact on my career

Joel Clermont
Joel Clermont

Early in my career, when I was thinking about attending my first few conferences, my focus was on the schedule. What talks could I attend that would teach me something relevant to my daily work?

This approach makes a certain amount of sense. Conferences are not free, and if you add on travel, hotel, and meals, not to mention time away from work, it's a significant investment. So justifying the cost, especially if your boss is paying for it, is a valid concern.

But the next time you're considering attending a conference, I challenge you to think a bit more broadly. For example, let's say your attending a larger conference which has talks outside the PHP ecosystem. Attend one or two of those, just to broaden your experience. See what other communities are doing.

Or even in a conference that's entirely PHP-focused, can you pick one talk that isn't directly relevant to your current work? For example, I haven't yet done any sort of AI integration, but when I attended php tek this year, I sat in on TJ Miller's talk on AI. It gave me a great intro to the topic, and even highlighted some areas I wanted to go deeper on later.

Finally, not to be overlooked is networking as a significant benefit of attending conferences. You get to meet people you've only known online, and you never know where those relationships will go. If you work for a company, you might find your next hire. If you are independent, you might find your next client.

The next conference on my calendar is Laracon US in August. If you're going to attend, hit reply and let me know. I'd love to meet up.

Here to help,


P.S. Learning and networking aren't only for conferences. We keep the discussion going year round in the Mastering Laravel community.

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