Let me start off by saying I have been to WordCamp just twice now. Both times it was WordCamp Raleigh at the NC State campus. It was a great experience on both occasions and I highly recommend attending one for numerous reasons.
First and foremost, what is WordCamp? If you don’t already know the answer to that question, head on over to WordCamp Central. For a brief explanation of it… WordCamp is a community-organized WordPress focused conference. Why should you attend? Let’s elaborate on that.
WordCamp is a great conference to go to learn about WordPress. Maybe you think of yourself as a WordPress Guru, or maybe you are a complete novice. Regardless, there is something at WordCamp for you. As someone who may know a lot about WordPress already, it is good to attend WordCamp just to learn about the process of other developers. Maybe they have done something you haven’t yet, or maybe they found a way to speed up their process that could also speed up your own. For the WordPress beginner, they tend to have several sessions for beginners where you can learn some good tidbits about WordPress. Additionally, they have more intermediate sessions and some marketing/SEO/random WordPress sessions mixed in there as well.
Another great reason to attend WordCamp is for networking. There are many other designers, developers, marketers, and bloggers attending WordCamp and maybe even speaking at a session. This is a perfect place to network with people and get your name out there. Maybe you will run into someone who knows about an opening at the company they work for, or maybe you’ll gain a few contacts for a future WordPress partnership. You might even run into potential clients at WordCamp. Either way you spin it, WordCamp is a great place for networking.
Lastly, it is a great conference to be a speaker. I haven’t spoken at one yet (though I plan to at WordCamp Raleigh later this year), but speaking has its benefits. The first benefit of speaking at WordCamp is you get a free ticket to WordCamp. No need to elaborate any further on that. Another great benefit of speaking at a WordCamp is getting your name out there and building your brand. If you are running your own freelance business like me, then this is something that can definitely help you in a lot of ways. It is a good thing to show potential clients, and current clients can reference it when recommending you to others. Speaking is also another great way to network with WordCamp attendees and other speakers.
So if you are debating whether to attend or if you haven’t even heard of WordCamp yet, see where the nearest WordCamp is located and get to it. Who knows, maybe you’ll find yourself speaking at the next one.