I attended my first conference ever this weekend. For my first conference, I chose one nearby with a reputation for being welcoming, PyCon in Montreal.
I was expecting lots of technical detail, and possibly hard to follow content, but it turned out different. Most of the talks were just enough to wet your appetite, pointers to tools or processes to look up. So I now have lots of notes I need to go back through and about 5 different plotting tools I need to evaluate and figure out which one works for me. And I have a few ideas on how I should rewrite some code I wrote years ago.
The other thing I hear you are supposed to do at conferences is meet people. I did some of that. I wouldn’t say I was terribly successful, but I have at least two people I a supposed to follow up with to get them more information.
The keynotes also surprised me. Again I was expecting something technical, but they were actually more social/political; looking at ways that people can use programing to change the world.
So, in the end, it was not what I was expecting, but it was worth coming.