Experiencing TechEds

Although we are still waiting for this year’s TechEd to start, I’ll start with blogging down my memories and experiences of TechEds in the past. The main reason I am doing this is that for the 5 TechEds I have been to, I’ve experienced them in different phases of my development “career”. And I’ve gotten satisfaction from my TechEd visits in different ways during each of them.

The first time I visited TechEd was in 1999, when the TechEd was held in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, just like this year. I had only recently started my first job as a programmer/webmaster, while still studying. My Microsoft knowledge of programming only consisted of MFC, some Visual Basic 5.0 and a little ASP 2.0. Yes, I was a beginner, rookie, noob, call it what you will. At the TechEd I was overwhelmed in a positive way by the enormous amount of information that was available. I couldn’t visit enough sessions and always had a very tough time selecting a session in a timeslot. Just like Johnny 5 in Short Circuit: “input, input, need more input”. Entered sponge-mode, absorbed the info and digested it for weeks and months to come.

Come 2000 I had learned quite a lot on ASP 3.0, Visual Basic components and the basics of distributed applications. I came to TechEd with a mission: gather more information on distributed computing. If I recollected correctly that year theme was “The Digital Nervous System” and Windows DNA had huge focus. Selecting the right sessions was still difficult, but a little less as I had a certain area of content in mind. So I wandered once again through the halls of the RAI and consumed huge amounts of information.

In 2001 I was deep into COM+, ASP and “serious” software development. I went to Barcelona to learn more on the upcoming .NET and to meet other people. My interests were shifting to a very particular topic of sessions and to networking instead of meeting other people. It was a very nice conference this year, especially with all the nice weather and me meeting Don Box up close. He did his famous Bathtub session. I’m pretty sure you heard of it. But did you know that I was the guy that helped him out during the entire session? Here’s the proof.

Missing the TechEd 2002 I went to Spain again in 2003. I had been teaching .NET for the past 2 years and was looking for very in-depth info, an overview of new server products and things to come. It’s all there, like every year. I did a bit of helping out at the Ask-The-Expert booth and had loads of fun meeting other Microsoft Certified Trainers and MVPs. I hung out a lot at the ATE booths. Great place to meet the people of the products and teams at Microsoft. E.g. I spoke at length with Ron Jacobs from the COM+ team and Patterns & Practices.

And finally 2004, in Amsterdam again, everything went by me in a blur. My daughter Lieke had just been born, and due to the excitement and sleep depravation I missed most of what happened. I was there for only 1,5 days.

The point I am trying to bring across is this: wherever you are in your knowledge and career, the TechEd has something for you. So there it is: a shameless plug for the TechEd. More on why you should visit TechEd later.

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