Last week I attended my last Devoxx of 2015, DevoxxMa. Great conference, top-notch team, wonderful people, you have to go there. And actually you should go to any other Devoxx if you are a Java/JVM developer. And if so I am guessing you know that already, so there is no point in having me trying to convince you to go there.
What I am going to do instead is encourage you to submit something if you have not already.
When asking people to submit to conferences I get a very wide spectrum of answers.
“I don't have anything interesting to say” is something I have heard many times and I believe it is not true. Leave the impostor syndrome out of this. You are doing something in your day to day work that 99% of the attendees are probably not doing. So you have something to bring to the table. I remember feeling like this the first time I led a training session. I was 24 and most of the people in front of me had way more experience. But it went well, because I had something to bring to the table.
Another answer might be, “No one is interested in technology x or y”. It is true that in 2015 at many events, you have more chances of being selected when submitting paper about Ionic or Microservices than JSP or AppServers. There is a lot to say about all the tech that isn’t considered new and shiny, though. For example, if you are still using Struts in 2015 there surely is a reason. Tell us why :)
Sure it helps to talk about something trendy. I was lucky to be selected most of the time because I submitted an RxJava workshop with great help from the amazing Simon Basle.
“I don't feel comfortable speaking in public”. That is a tough one. No one should be forced to speak in public. If you don't want to that is perfectly understandable. But if you still want to speak in public and feel uncomfortable doing so, there are things that can help. The most important one is practice. Practice is key to feeling more comfortable. Do not hesitate to practice in front of your colleagues or in small conferences. One thing I do is click the record button when I practice alone. It helps me think I am not crazy and I am not just talking to my computer. I have never used the result so far, but it helps putting yourself in the right frame of mind.
“I am doing everything and I am never selected”. In the end it all boils down to the selection committee and what has been submitted. Please don’t get discouraged. I still get lots of proposals rejected and that’s fine. Better luck next year, there is not much we can do about it. Although you can become a volunteer for a conference, to learn how it’s organised, or participate to a selection committee to see what kind of submission are accepted.
If you attend all the Devoxx, you will join the wonderful Devoxx Masochist club (composed of Lucy Carey, Mark Hazell, Stephan Janssen, Josh Long and I ) and if speak at all the Devoxx you will also become a Devoxx Champion just like Josh Long and I :) Go ahead and join the club !
There are probably other questions and other answers but that's all I have so far. I am sure others have their own opinions and idea.