Diversity & Inclusion
Events / Guest posts / Philly Tech Week

Oh, the things you’ll do at Philly Tech Week

DigitalOcean Developer Relations Manager Eddie Zaneski shares a few tips for getting the most out of Philly Tech Week 2018 presented by Comcast.

Reading Terminal Market, home to the #PTW18 Signature Event. (Courtesy photo)
This is a guest post by DigitalOcean Developer Relations Manager Eddie Zaneski.

Why are you here? Of course, there are so many cool things to see and do during Philly Tech Week that you’d want to be here. But if you don’t set your own agenda, it’s a lot to take in, in one day or even a week. As a regular attendee of PTW, on behalf of DigitalOcean, I continue to plan accordingly.

So, that leads to my first piece of advice:

Figure out your goals for attending, don’t just show up.

Want to get in on a hackathon? Attend a particular workshop? Build your network? Meet a featured speaker? Give yourself the time to do so and get ready to Uber — a little travel may be involved.

The Philly Tech Week website does a great job at highlighting the events within the event. So, check out the schedule ahead of time and map out the key things you want to attend. Be sure to look at all the PTW tracks because you never know what might catch your interest.

A few words of caution. Whatever you sign up for, make sure to read more than just the title. You’ll want to know that it’s the right thing for you before you sit through an hour’s worth of material. And avoid jam packing your schedule. Something will come up you’ll want to wander into. And hallway discussions will definitely happen. They’re half the fun.

Anything hands-on is cool. Like workshops.

This is a good time to take advantage and sharpen your skills, no matter your level. Just make sure to register ahead of time because they’re popular.

Looking ahead, there are several sessions that catch my eye. The civic workshops are great to take part in, like the Fostering Collaboration session using ODDT partner data. Or participate in the Adobe Creative Jam at Temple University for a design showcase and designer showdown.

And absolutely check out anything hosted by Hive76. Bring your laptop and get an Intro to Linux as part lecture, part workshop. Note that we (DigitalOcean) also have thousands of great resources, including in-depth tutorials about Getting Started with Linux. But, my top session recommendation has to be DIY Music Night — make a prototype and make some noise.

Don’t forget to go to DigitalOcean and spin up a server for free to practice what you learned. (My plug is that you’ll get a $100 credit as a PTW attendee.)

Meet people and make new friends.

So, if you’re here to build your network, get ready to swap business cards. (Yes, people still do that.) It might also be a good time to update your LinkedIn profile or create a Twitter list of people to follow. And if you’re from Philly, go make a new friend, especially among those who might look lost and need a guide.

Just like doing legwork on the track sessions, you can schedule time with people at and around the event beforehand. Do your research to find out what other developer meetups are happening. Go to the Introduced by Technical.ly conference (here’s a discount code for 20 percent off). And definitely find time to talk to a few of the guest speakers and participants at one of the week’s many diversity and inclusion-focused events.

Don’t miss Cathy Beech this year, Chief Information Security Officer of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and a presenter at HUE – A Tech Summit for Women of Color. Maya Baratz is also very engaging as a longtime startup advisor and managing director of the Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, Powered by Techstars. (Full disclosure: DigitalOcean is an alumnus of Techstars.)

Last thing, be sure take in the city.

There’s amazing food. Likely a ballgame. And some revolutionary history. And did I mention the food? I mean, the closing party is at Reading Terminal Market this year. On your way out, relax at Dilworth or the new LOVE Park. Or simply hang out in Fishtown for a little of everything.

Remember, you can’t say “been there, done that” until you actually have. Enjoy Philly Tech Week.

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