In 2010 I was very fortunate to receive a ticket to TechEd Europe in Berlin.
I had never been to such an event before, I assumed it would be a bigger version of a TechDays event where IT Pros and Developers would get together and hear about the latest technology. How wrong was I?
The first day there was shocking. I walked into this massive building full of experts from around the world. I couldn’t believe the size and the amount going on. It was more like going to a rock concert than going somewhere boring to learn a bunch of things.
I was amazed by these huge entrances with friendly staff on hand to help you with all your issues, with these huge displays explaining what sessions were on that day.
It was easy to get lost in the centre, on the first day I was chased out of the exhibitors hall by a burly German security guard because I had wandered in before it had opened.
Each room was huge, some full of lunch tables, some full of workstations allowing you to browse the internet or take part in one of the provided labs.
On the first day I remember searching Berlin for drinks and snacks just in case the centre did not supply such items. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I spotted the fridges full of soft drinks freely available to all attendees, and if you’re anything like me that’s heaven.
Breakout tables were plentiful, with tables set up in various locations stocked full of pastries, hot drinks and snacks. Each day I would find people walking around with pints of German beer. It was like heaven to me, Microsoft, learning, tech, and Fraulein’s walking around giving you free beer.
But the freebies aren’t the reason why you should come to TechEd.
Just imagine reading a blog post or a watching a broadcast about a technology subject and getting to speak to the author or speaker face to face afterwards. I had a few opportunities like that; I met a lot of MVP's (Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals), MCT's (Microsoft Certified Trainer), and speakers whose blog posts I had read for some time. I can honestly say I have never learnt and taken in so much in one week. TechEd is a huge learning and networking opportunity. I met many people and to this day still talk to them on a regular basis.
TechEd is a huge opportunity to meet your peers, TechEd has a large Technical learning centre full of experts ready to help with any questions about Microsoft technologies. I met many MVP's and product experts, even the super stars such as Steven L Rose, Jeffery Snover, and Simon May were more than happy to stop and chat with me.
On the other side of the building is the vendor village where hundreds of vendors are there to show off their latest technologies.
If you want to learn more in a week then you ever thought possible, meet your peers, and spend some time in one of the most amazing cities in Europe you really should consider going to TechEd Europe. If you’re anything like me you will think it’s one of the best weeks you have ever had.