My First KubeCon Experience
Hey folks, after constant mind battles & procrastination, I'm finally jotting down my first blog. And the first blog is around my first ever KubeCon experience :D. This experience was full of many firsts though but yes worth it!
How did I come across KubeCon?
Well, I'm a complete newbie in the cloud-native world. I came across this video in my recommendations. Even after not being aware of any of the technicalities & broader terms, I was intrigued to really know what KubeCon was all about. Fast forward to May 2022, I registered as a Virtual Attendee for the Conference.
I was really excited about this!
So what's KubeCon?
In brief, it's the flagship conference of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation that brings together top engineers from prominent open source and cloud native communities like Red Hat, Cisco, Salesforce, Google Cloud etc ( PS: the list is huge ) in a unique setting to enhance cloud native computing education and advancement. They get together to talk about new ideas, learn more about them, build connections, and have fun. In just 5 days, there are a plethora of excellent speeches, events, gatherings, parties, and competitions, which can easily make a beginner fall in love with this amazing community. This year KubeCon was held both virtually and in person in Valencia, Spain.
In some technical descriptions, KubeCon is the de-facto official developer and user conference for Kubernetes. If you're unfamiliar with Kubernetes (also known as k8s), it's an open-source system that automates the deployment, scaling, and administration of containerized applications. Consider Kubernetes to be the plumbing for cloud-based enterprise software.
So, shall we start?
Who can attend?
It's open to everyone! Yes, you read it right. Anyone who wants to participate in this event is welcomed regardless of anything. This space is super-friendly, so welcoming and there are really smart folks to connect with. Don't let any second thoughts come in as a barrier to applying for this conference :D
Where to start?
Honestly speaking, I was overwhelmed with all that was there. It looked like this.
I didn't know how people were managing and how to attend the sessions and stuff. And unfortunately, my semester exams overlapped with the majority of the KubeCon days. However, through my community friends, I came to know about how to move forward, and Sched was my saviour.
I filtered out my experience type talks i.e Beginner, Community & Student related Tracks and added them to my schedule so that I don't miss out on any. So this was the first baby step I took to get ready for this conference.
Personal Suggestion: Make your schedules in advance so that you can avail maximum benefit from what's being offered. There are various tracks listed, the talks are colour-coded for reference.
My Overall Experience
The first event that I attended was the DoK Day, and to my surprise, it was so much fun to watch. Do you expect a technical event to be topped up with rap & music shows? Well, I would have been sceptical too, but DoK was filled up with such fun moments.
Don't worry, you can check out their youtube channel and enjoy the session :D Some glimpses, from the event
Do, you see the level of excitement in the chat sections, yes it's actually fun to watch with people from all over the world :)
Next, a session which I came across & I really wanted to attend but alas, I missed it :(. 'Virtual AMA Happy Hour' with Priyanka Sharma. It was all about having fun & making connections. They break people into smaller groups so that 1:1 connections can be there.
Personally, I focussed on the Student Track, as it had really great student-centric talks.
I attended this talk where Jacob tells his entire journey from being a student to a full-time SRE within a year. It was inspiring & gave me a boost too.
Last but not least was a lightning talk on 'Beginner to Maintainer Journey of a Student by Debabrata Panigrahi. Him being a student, was one of the reasons for me to attend his talk. The key takeaway for a Beginner from this talk:
Be part of Mentorship groups
Perseverance is the key
- Before assigning an issue try to understand the subject of the issue and look for the cues to help solve the issue.
- Whenever stuck, do ask for help
- Communication is the key
- Don't burnout
- Be regular
Courage to ask the right questions in the community & get your doubts solved. He emphasized the fact that community & people are both important for any open-source project to sustain. Be inspired, and always have the eagerness to learn and climb the success ladder.
If you all want to watch the KubeCon talks, it's available on Youtube.
What did I like the most?
Interactive Slack Channels
I personally loved it. Honestly, when I first joined it I was hesitant in sending messages but then I realised I have come for networking right? And I introduced myself on the respective channels and to my surprise, there were newbies & many were attending for the first time too. The slack channels were super-friendly and welcoming space. People from different tech domains and experiences were casually talking and geeking out together. If anyone had any questions, all were very prompt to respond to your queries (Ps: there are no dumb questions :)). All of them were helpful and supportive. I connected with a couple of folks on my Twitter handle and learnt about their experiences as well.
There were over 20+ tracks ranging from beginner level to advanced. There were tracks like Student, CI/CD, Community, Diversity + Inclusion, Experiences, Serverless, Security, Maintainer & what not. You choose a topic, and I doubt it's not covered. That's how diversified this event was. It tried its best to make it an inclusive event for everyone :D
Yes, I liked this conference for the fact that everything had practical use. You could relate and even understand the use cases. How these tech/non-tech companies are actually using these technologies to solve worldwide problems, that's interesting to understand. Obviously, who likes to learn everything theoretical?
Instant Technical Support
There was a moment when I was unable to watch the live streams. I instantly wrote to the tech support, and they were super quick to respond. Within a couple of minutes, they gave me a solution & resolved the issue. I was hugely impressed by the event was managed. Everything was perfect.
Would I recommend someone to attend?
Oh yes! there are no second thoughts about it. Is KubeCon worth it? - YES
1. Networking Opportunities
Getting opportunities is inextricably linked to networking. Visit the sponsor booths to learn more about what they do. You can then inquire about their projects, the challenges they solve, their future plans, and so on, putting you on their radar. They will contact you with opportunities if you have the skill set that they are seeking for.
2. Amazing Giveaways
Yes, in the section Special Offers all the sponsors had listed their giveaways/raffles for both virtual & in-person attendees. This particular section made me elated for obvious reasons.
3. Learning Potential at its Peak
Regardless of whether you are new to this community or not, there's SO much to learn. You get a new perspective and most importantly a new broad viewpoint too. People from all over the world come and join and also it is not one topic specific event. It's versatile. Also, there are sponsor booths where you can go/ attend and discuss their technologies. Have questions? ask them right away and they are always ready to answer. You'll never feel overwhelmed.
There is also a scholarship available for anyone who wants to attend KubeCon in person but cannot afford to do so. It covers the cost of your ticket, travel, and lodging. Also, there are virtual pass attendee scholarships too. The application period for scholarships for KubeCon North America in October will be open soon. Keep an eye on it and apply.
To sum up, it was an amazing experience for me, and I'm glad that I attended it. But, in all honesty, even though this event was of Hybrid Model, but the actual fun to attend this event is in-person. And I'm hoping to attend this event in person this time :D, hope to see you all there. I made new connections, learnt from people's experiences, and best practices and explored different tech stacks. I'm definitely carrying with me so many memories and knowledge. I would recommend people, to check out the events recordings on the CNCF to have a glimpse of KubeCon. Come out of your comfort zones & explore. This is the best you can do to give a new direction to your tech journey.
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