Who’s been to a Security Conference before? I’m finally able to include myself in that group and I’m really exited about that. A conference is all about meeting others in infosec, learning a lot from talks and workshops, trying your hand at capture the flags (CTFs) or lock picking, networking and most importantly having a great time.
Not only did I get to go to my first con, I got to volunteer at GrrCON! So instead of paying for a ticket, getting kicked out of the VIP area, and missing out on the after-after parties. I was able to do everything a regular attendee could do and more. At GrrCON I did a lot of running around trying to make sure I was able to do whatever was asked of me. I was helping with registration on the first day, so chances are that if you were there on Friday then I asked you for your shirt size. Aren’t you glad we had such a great talk to get to know each other? One of my friends on twitter saw me and posted a picture as he was waiting in line to get in.
Now a lot of people might wonder, what’s so great about volunteering? Well it’s not the work experience or the free beer (Yeah, you heard me), it’s the networking with everyone. I have never had a better chance to talk to so many “professionals” in a single weekend. I got to meet the vendors, the speakers, everyone I ran into while working, and of course I got to know the organizers pretty well. I would strongly suggest that you sign up to volunteer at your next local conference. You can always catch the talks you missed online, it’s a lot better to network and have fun.
My first con has come and gone. I honestly don’t think it could have been any better. A tattoo artist was supposed to be there but they unfortunately weren’t able to attend (luckily for me and my drunken mindset). The worst part about going to GrrCon though? It seem’s I’ve caught a bug… one con isn’t enough for me. I need to go to another one, heck maybe twenty or thirty more. There are a lot of cons that are close to me, and once I get a full time job, I plan on attending even more. For now I plan on checking out Bsides Detroit, Converge, and a couple other cons around Michigan.
If you don’t already want to go to GrrCON next year, let me tell you why you should. First off, you’ll probably get photo ops with Bessie (@TWrekt) she’s famous for her appearances at GrrCon, DerbyCon, and others. If a picture with a dinosaur isn’t enough for you then I strongly suggest you reorganize you priorities. Honestly though, if you want to learn more about Information Security then go to conventions. GrrCon had some amazing speakers, vendors, and organizers and all of that would go to waste if you didn’t want to put it to good use. Trust me, it will be fun, informative, and definitely not something you want to regret missing out on.
I hope to see you next year at GrrCon 2016 in Grand Rapids, MI!