[Today our guest post is by Adam Maxwell (@catalyst256). He registered for his first security conference, BSides London, and then decided to take it one step further and signed up to be a volunteer. This is a great example of how to make the most of a conference experience.
This post originally published on Adam's personal blog, The IT Geek Chronicles.]
On April the 25th 2012 a group of crack InfoSec professionals, enthusiasts, hobbyist and newbies (that's me by the way), descended on the Barbican Centre in London for the security event of the year (in my opinion).
That's right; B-Sides London 2012 had arrived.
Most of you probably already know what the B-Sides events are all about, so I won't bore you with going over that, If you don't then you go find the main website here; http://www.securitybsides.com or the B-Sides London website is here; http://www.securitybsides.org.uk/.
This was going to be my first B-Sides event and as I was reading the website to find out as much as possible before the event, there were two comments on the front page that really stood out for me.
The first was this "built by the community for the community", I'm still trying to find my way in InfoSec, but what makes it easier (and more fun) is the people that have the passion, drive, commitment and wiliness to share their knowledge with people like me. Without community events like B-Sides (and there is others) trying to navigate your way around the world of InfoSec would be a lot harder.
The second comment was "So make BSidesLondon whatever you want it to be", for me this was really important I didn't want to attend an event and be anonymous. I have a tendency in new environments to be a little bit shy and I wanted to make the most of the day, meet new people and try to become part of the community rather than a lurker in the corner.
So with less than a week to the event, I volunteered to help out on the day, yes that's right I was now on the crew roster for B-Sides London 2012. Due to work commitments I wasn't able to get to the Barbican early to help out with setting up, but I would just like to say at this point a HUGE thank you to Iggy (@geekchickuk) and the rest of the B-Sides London crew for getting everything ready for the day and in fact for all their work during the day.
Working as crew on the day for me was awesome; I met a lot of new people and had a lot of fun. What did I do on the day?, well if you bought raffle tickets between 10:00 - 12:00 from the table in the corner next to the guys from SANS that was me (sorry about making you write out your own tickets), and in the afternoon (from about 14:30) I was on the swag desk. I may or may not have also been involved in the nerf rocket war between the B-Sides crew and the guys from MWR InfoSecurity.
In the end I only attended one talk which was by Robin Wood on "Breaking in to Security" (check out the B-Sides London website because a lot of the talks were videoed and will be available to watch), but for the me day was still a success. Would I help out again next year? Hell yeah, if fact I've already told Iggy I will, but next year I'm going to do a talk on Track 3 (that's the turn up and talk about something track), I have no idea what about yet, but I've got a year to work that out.
See you all next year...