It’s that time of year again.

You’re jealous from hearing all about that fabulous conference your co-worker or Facebook buddy just got back from.

You could NEVER make it a conference. Your company just doesn’t do that.

If you want to go to a top-tier Oracle user group or industry conference next year, it’s time to start asking about it, today.

Don’t Call It a Conference – It’s Training

You say conference, your boss will just hear ‘party.’

It’s training. And it will be pretty cheap training. From the people that normally TRAIN the TRAINERS. I know a week of training can run as high as $6-10,000 a person. A conference ticket is generally around $2,000.

OK, sometimes it FEEL like a party. But you can't work hard for a week without playing hard a bit too.
OK, sometimes it FEEL like a party. But you can’t work hard for a week without playing hard a bit too.

It’s July – a pretty standard time for employees to get their annual reviews. Did you get that 10% raise? No? Turn that frown upside down and ask for them to invest a few thousand dollars into your career and technical skills. Ask what training budget they have for ’17 and ask for them to put your name up top of the list.

And here’s the kicker – or your chance to really seal the deal – you’re asking for training for your entire organization. They send you. You come back with materials, and you’re available to regurgitate that content, or at least the highlights, back to your team.

After every conference I attend, I write-up a summary of what I observed for my team. If I were back in the ‘real world’, I’d follow that up with a lunch and learn to share my favorite tips and tricks I picked up.

One last way to sell your way to a conference: bring your hardest technical challenges with you. This is your chance to ask the XYZ expert how THEY would fix your sprocket challenge. I’ve seen it happen multiple times, an attendee will declare in a loud voice for all to hear – this session/talk/lab/5 minute chat made this entire trip worth the cost. I guess you could consider it even ‘free’ consulting.

Still Laughing?

Submit an abstract. If it gets accepted, your conference is half-paid for. You just need to get the travel portion and time away from work negotiated.

Don’t think a first-timer could ever get a paper accepted?

This session was from a first-time speaker. It was standing-room only, and she killed it.
This session was from a first-time speaker. It was standing-room only, and she killed it.

You’d be mistaken.

Have no idea HOW to get an abstract accepted, or how to write a good one? Brent Ozar and I have both written talks on this subject before. But I’m willing to go a step further – I’ll help you write your abstract.

Conferences To Consider

These are actual endorsements – from me (not from Oracle – I’m not authorized to speak on their behalf.)

KScope17 – it will be the last week of June in 2017, in San Antonio Texas. That makes it just a few hours travel from just about anywhere in the contiguous United States. Half of the attendees are ‘first-timers’ so you’ll be in good company. They have multiple tracks across several different Oracle tech areas, so you’re guaranteed content that fits your bill. If you want to submit an abstract, look for the call for papers later this Fall.

Oracle Open World – this is my company’s little show. It’s a week in San Francisco. We’re running a early bird discount right now. I recommend this conference because it’s the best opportunity you have to get face-time with the developers and product managers. It’s your chance to ask those tough questions, and we can’t run away (unless it’s on our 5K Bridge Run.) There are also lots of hands-on-lab instruction available.

East Coast Oracle Users Conference – a few days in November in my adopted hometown, Raleigh North Carolina. It’s got a first class speaker lineup, and attracts attendees from Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia, and both Carolinas. It’s just a few hundred people, so you never feel overwhelmed. Bonus, they’re still accepting speaker abstracts until the 10th of this week – so you can still hope for a free conference pass!

Rocky Mountain Oracle Users Group (RMOUG) – a few days in Denver, usually around Valentine’s Day. I get to spend my birthday on the slopes…I mean, training our customers. Try not to work your personal travel plans into your training requests…unless you know your boss has a budget for herself, and she also likes to ski. It would be mean for her to approve herself and not let you go as well 😉 This conference kicks off the conference year so to speak – so it’s time for fresh content to hit the Oracle space. It’s also been around for many, many years – it’s extremely well run, and you won’t find nicer people.

Not in the US?

You have tons of training and conferencing opportunities. Look for the OTN Tours to hit your region. Look for local Oracle User Groups – they put on great events throughout the year. Or, if you’ve always wanted to visit the US, use a conference here as an excuse to burn up several weeks of your 2 month vacation time, and have your company help pay for it 🙂

thatjeffsmith
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I'm a Master Product Manager at Oracle for Oracle SQL Developer. My mission is to help you and your company be more efficient with our database tools.

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