One thing I have found of significant value over the years is participating in the community.  While educating yourself is one thing, participation is highly encouraged.  If you attend multiple conferences like I do, you will find out just how true the phrase “it’s a small world” really is.

You will eventually realize that meeting the person that designed NMap, or contributed to projects such as the metasploit framework or shodan is far more of an enriching and humbling experience than watching one of their old talks on YouTube.  You may even find yourself on a path to becoming one of those people.

Ok, now that I’ve convinced you the value of conferences, you are probably asking yourself, “where are these conferences, and how do I find them”.  Aside from word of mouth and getting in touch with your community, I did the googling for you 🙂 and provided a link with upcoming conferences worldwide.

Aside from conferences, below are a few more resources you can use to find other conference and events in your location.  A lot of people ask me how I find all of these conferences.  To be honest, it started by going to DEFCON a couple of times.  Next thing I knew I heard about conferences all over.  Some of these conferences and events (like BSides, and 2600 meetings) can be located anywhere, even in places you’d least expect and some (like OWASP, and ISSA for example) are organizations with chapters worldwide.  It is also beneficial to take a short trip to the next town or county to attend some of these events which may prove more of a challenge on the west coast than the midwest or east coast.  Aside from Southern California and Las Vegas, I have also attended events in the midwest and the southeast.

If you have financial constraints preventing you from getting out there or are not sure where to find these events, there are a ton of podcasts, slack channels, and other resources I have found and mention in part 2.