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Devoxx UK Call for Papers, New Speaker Mentoring & Buddies Scheme

Devoxx UK returns to London May 11th & 12th, 2017. We want you, the developer community, to help make it amazing again. The Call for Papers is open and we want to share valuable knowledge and precious experiences, making everyone better informed.

Submit today!

Do you have any insights and ideas for sessions? You can check our youtube channel and see the talks given last year for inspiration.

Talks can be in the form of a Conference Session (a 50-minute in-depth talk), a 2-hour Hands-on Lab, evening BOFs or 15-minute Quickie sessions.If you are new to public speaking and don’t want to dive straight into a main conference talk, lunchtime Quickies are a great option. Alternatively, consider pairing up with a colleague and giving a joint presentation.

But I Haven't Done a Conference Talk Before

If you have a great idea for a conference talk, but haven't given one before, sign up for the New Speaker Mentoring program. We will pair you up with an experienced speaker, who will advise you on your proposal before you submit it. 

If your proposal is accepted, they will dedicate time to you every month, and in the crucial run up to the conference. Their role will be to advise you, give you valuable feedback and hear previews of your talk before you present it. They will also be on hand just before your talk, and during it so you will have a friendly face in the audience.

You can add your name to the New Speaker Mentoring program by registering here.

I’m Ready to Submit Right Now

Check out the tracks you can submit talks in here.

Then spread some Christmas cheer to our Program Committee by submitting a talkSend some of your insights, hopes and dreams our way.
 
Buddy up
 
As well as submitting a proposal for a talk, you can join the Buddies Program. Brain child of Java Champion Linda van der Pal, this aims to pair up new conference attendees with more experienced attendees. Whether you are a Devoxx expert or novice, why not share your time and help to truly enrich the conference experience.
 
Thanks and we hope to see many of you at the event next year.
 
 
The Devoxx UK Team

The buddy program at Devoxx UK

This year at Devoxx UK, I organized the buddy program. This program was intended to introduce people who didn’t know anybody at the conference to some other people, to make the times between the sessions (lunch, evenings, etc.) a bit more enjoyable. My hopes are that this program will make conferences more diverse, by appealing to people who might not come exactly _because_ they don’t know anybody there.

Initially it looked as if we would have nine people, but there was a surge at the last minute, adding another seven participants. So there were sixteen participants in total, of which four were speakers. About half of them had never been to Devoxx UK before. All of the feedback I got was positive, people really liked sharing their experiences with each other.

 

Of course, as this was the first time I tried this, there were a lot of lessons to be learned.

1. Announce the program in the keynote

As I was listening to the introductory keynote, I realized I hadn't asked the organization to mention the program. This could have helped the program to reach more people. Next year we'll have to make more of a fuss about the program in general, as many people never heard of it, despite it being mentioned in the newsletter and the link on the site. So if you were in the program, please blog or tweet about your experiences!

2. Have the registration desk/meetup point set up in advance

I wasn't around for setup, so I could only arrange for a table after the attendees were inside already. And with everybody coming in at once, the organization had no time to spare to help arrange such things. (Mind you they were very helpful, just also extremely busy.)

3. Prepare signage in advance

Once again, the organization was very busy. And I could have easily prepared all this at home. And with more signs, hanging all over the place before people even enter, I think I might have pulled off what I really had in mind: an actual registration desk. The round table was a nice meeting point, but so few people had heard of the program, that it didn't feel worth my time to hang around there at all times to hook people up.

4. Have an official meet and greet

It would have been nice if we could have all participants meet up with each other before the conference. I even heard the idea of doing speed dating to get people to know each other. So maybe next year we can do some pre-conference activity.

5. Monitor registration on-site

I got four more registrations during the first day, but as I'm usually offline during conferences, I didn't see them until the next morning. So either I should stay online to monitor them, or I should make sure the online registration is closed as if the night before the conference.

6. Have info boards

I had intended there to be boards where people could share information about dinner, meeting up, taxi rides to the airport and the like. I tried to put up static notes on the wall behind the meeting point, but they were not visible enough and therefore not used.

 

Some other ideas that were mentioned during my session were to make the buddies more visible (stickers on the badge?), or even to add them to Huntly. The list of questions should be shorter, I cash probably make do with just name, contact details, conference experience and interest in tracks. In the end I didn't use the other data, as there were so few participants. It was also suggested that there might be a checks on the general Devoxx registration form to indicate being a first-timer, which would result in extra information about the buddy program being shown.

And finally, during the workshops the last day, we realized that having such workshops at the beginning (and in particular those like the one about retrospectives) as they help to introduce you to your fellow participants.

All in all, I thought the program was a success, despite being so much smaller than I'd hoped for. And I would love to do this again. So if you are a conference organizer and would like this at your own event, feel free to contact me! Even when I can't make it to your conference, we can certainly talk about getting this on the rails! I'd love to see this becoming a default aspect of all conferences. (And there's no way I can actually visit all conferences myself, sadly.)