Next year I want to start going to more conferences. Specifically, conferences in my industry. I’m a software engineer, so that means IT conferences.
The thing is I don’t want to wait. I don’t like New Year’s Resolutions not because I don’t like to make goals, but rather I want to make goals on an ongoing basis.
So when I began searching for potential conferences to go to, I didn’t just look for conferences next year - I looked for conferences that might be held during the remaining bit of this year as well.
And, well, I found one. A free one (for “IT professionals”) and somewhat local - only an hour away in Cincinnati.
Data Connectors logo
Now, it’s a free event - or, free to me - meaning that I am the product. There were vendors at this conference - cybersecurity vendors, sure, but vendors nevertheless.
Meaning they want to sell their products and services. Thankfully, I am not in a position whatsoever to buy their products and services.
My Thoughts on the 2019 Cincinnati Cybersecurity Conference
The hour-long drive down to Cincinnati gave me time to catch up on some of the Podcasts I’ve been listening to.
There were eight different sessions (more like presentations) at the conference. Although they were all done by vendors, none of them felt as if I were being sold anything. That’s not to say the presenters never mentioned their products; it’s just those products were presented neutrally.
After the eight sessions, there was a CISO panel. Five C-Level executives (they weren’t all CISOs or CIOs, but close enough) answered questions from the audience; most of the questions were fielded beforehand, however. The CISO panel was led by John Pisano of Booz Allen Hamilton.
Data Connectors tweeted some pictures from the event - you can see my blue shirt and bald head in at least one of the images:
Great turnout here at the Data Connectors Cincinnati Cybersecurity Conference! pic.twitter.com/cMWBmORyNO— DataConnectors (@DataConnectors) December 12, 2019
Lunch was free. And it was also the only picture I took.
Lunch consisted of a roast beef and cheese sandwich, salad, potato salad, and chips.
Swag, or See-What-Ah-Got
A conference isn’t a conference without some swag.
My wife likes canvas totes, so I made sure to get a bunch of those. I also picked up a couple of sunglasses for her.
There were plenty of pens, a few laptop webcam covers, and of course promotional pamphlets.
A bunch of swag.
I got a few cool things, too:
A couple of pen tool gadgets:
…Oh, and a Yubikey!
Continuing Education Units
CompTIA allows CEUs to be earned by attending conferences - provided, of course, that the conference is relevant (“At least 50 percent of the conference session content must relate to one or more of the exam objectives for the certification you’re renewing”).
I’ve gotten my CASP, so this conference provided me with 9 hours worth of CEUs.
Plus I got this fancy certificate (completely digital, unless I print it out):
The 2019 Cincinnati Cybersecurity Conference Certificate of Attendance
The vendors were more than happy to talk to me, even when they could tell I wasn’t in a position to buy their services.
I didn’t talk much with anyone else. I did end up connecting with two people via LinkedIn.
Maybe I will do better next time?