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What is a BarCamp and why you should attend

Pune will have a “BarCamp” free conference this Saturday, 14th November, in SCIT Hinjewadi (bus pickup/dropoff provided from Model Colony). We believe that all technology professionals, and all computer science students should take this opportunity to get exposure to some of the most interesting people and technologies in Industry. To register (free) for barcamp, and for details of venue, timing etc, click here.

What is Barcamp?

Click on the logo to see all PuneTech articles about Barcamps in Pune

A Barcamp is a “democratic” conference. It is not a normal / traditional conference. A normal / traditional conference is usually put together by a committee of professors, or industry veterans, and the speakers are selected by the committee and invited to speak. Many of the speakers are “forced” upon the conference by the sponsors, and they end up droning about how cool their product is. The other talks tend to be boring “lectures” or “speeches” that you fall asleep in. Who can attend is also constrained by money (conferences fees are high), or by other means (only members may attend).

Anybody who’s been to a traditional conference will tell you that the tea-breaks and the corridor-conversations are the most interesting and important part of a conference. Think of a barcamp as an entire conference that consists only of tea-breaks and corridor-conversations. Well, it’s a little more structured than that – but not much … A barcamp is not a conference – it is an unconference. Anybody can attend a barcamp. Anybody can speak on any topic that they are passionate about. A whiteboard is put up in the morning with the available rooms and timeslots. People can write down their name and the title of their talk in any available slot. Based on this, the others can decide which talks they want to attend. That’s it. Repeat all day. Democracy.

You’ll wonder, if anybody can speak, how do we ensure quality of speakers and presentations? By the “law of two feet“. The audience in a Barcamp are encouraged to use their two feet and walk away from a talk if it turns out to be boring. People are encouraged to find and create subgroups interested in specific topics, find a room or a corridor, and start discussing – and they often do.

This ensures that everybody finds something interesting, and often something unexpected at a Barcamp. Maybe you might find the 15-year-old kid who knows more about Search-Engine-Optimization than all the “industry veterans” you’ve met. Maybe you’ll go there to learn new technology and instead find some really interesting NGO or other social work organization and join that. Maybe you’ll just land up there, not knowing what to expect, and end up finding not just your first job, but a great career. Maybe you have an idea for a company, but don’t know how to implement it, and you’ll find someone at Barcamp who’s willing to handle the technology for you.

I’m not just making all of that up. Each one of the sentences in the previous paragraph that started with “Maybe” is actually a real-life story that I’ve seen happen during some of the Barcamps in the last couple of years in Pune. And there are a lot more such stories.

Over the next few days, we’ll be writing short articles on why you should attend Barcamp. If you’re a student looking for projects, internships, or recos. Or you are an entrepreneur with an idea, but don’t know enough about technology to implement it. Or you’re an employee of a big company and are looking to hire some really smart people … or you’re looking to be hired by some really smart people. Or you’re a startup looking for collaboration, business development, or simply mentors/advisors.

Visit http://punetech.com/ over the next few days (or better still, subscribe to receive updates (free) either by email or via RSS) and we’ll tell you more about why you should attend Barcamp, and how to prepare for it.

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