Normally, I love attending conferences, user groups and other tech events, and am completely comfortable at them. I catch up with friends, meet new people and have interesting conversations. I always leave full of new knowledge and ideas. But I'm usually a sponsor or organizer. I sit behind a company display, or work the registration area, or bring pizza to the "real developers".
I am happy to report that my fears were completely silly.
As for me being a recruiter, no one seemed to care about that either. If anything, I was encouraged to keep doing what I'm doing. I got some great advice for connecting with developers that I find on LinkedIn and job boards. I also had some entertaining discussions about dumb things recruiters do when contacting candidates and dumb things candidates do when looking for jobs. It was nice to be around people who had a sense of humor about themselves.
Once I realized that no one was going to tear me down for my skill level or my profession, I relaxed and enjoyed CodeMash. I focused on learning as much as I could. I selected sessions that were geared to my skill level and the technologies I'm learning. I spent time chatting with people at meals, in the hallways, while gaming and in the hot tub. I learned as much during those times as I did in sessions. I also made sure to visit sponsor booths to thank them for their support. After all, I've been in their shoes and will be in them again.
I'd like to thank the CodeMash community for encouraging a newbie developer and making her feel so welcome. I came back from Sandusky completely exhausted. I blame all the ideas bouncing around my head at the end of each day. I know the late-night gaming sessions didn't help either. I also came back completely recharged. As a recruiter, I'm ready to keep connecting with tech professionals and getting to know them and their goals before trying to hire them. As a developer, I'm ready to start working on that app, make time for some local hack nights and see where it all takes me.