Thursday, July 20, 2023

4 Reasons I’m Excited to Attend DockerCon 2023

DockerCon is back! DockerCon is back! DockerCon is back! I can’t tell you how excited this makes me. Now, you may recognize that I work at Docker, but I haven’t always. Although I’ve worked at Docker for about 18 months, I’ve been in the Docker space for a long time. In fact, my first presentation about Docker was all the way back in December 2015.

Since then, I’ve helped organize, run, and speak at many meetups, and I was recognized as a Docker Captain in March 2017. I even received the inaugural Community Leader of the Year award for the North America region in 2018. As I look back throughout my career, many of my fondest memories can be attributed to my time at DockerCon. This will be my sixth in-person DockerCon, and here are four reasons I’m happy to be back in person this year.

Graphic with white DockerCon text on graduated blue background

Let’s go!

Photo of Michael Irwin, showing dark-haired man pointing at a DockerCon EU 2018 sign (in Barcelona) that was located outside the main keynote room.
Michael Irwin at DockerCon EU 2018 in Barcelona.

#1 — Developer-focused content

We’ve all been to many “developer-focused” conferences, only to find out most of the sessions are sponsored sessions, the keynotes are relatively boring, and there really isn’t much focus on developers. I remember going to DockerCons and learning everything about Docker’s latest features, scaling our efforts to my team and across the organization, deepening my understanding of various cloud-native design patterns and architectures, and helping my team be as productive as possible. Especially earlier in my career, this experience helped me become the developer I am today.

As I’m helping plan DockerCon this year, I’ll admit we want all of the same things from the past, just updated. We want to help each and every developer better their craft and better deliver results for their customers… whoever they might be.

Selfie of Michael Irwin, showing smiling man in front of waving audience members, taken before his “Containers for Beginners” talk at DockerCon 2019 in San Francisco.
A selfie before my “Containers for Beginners” talk at DockerCon 2019 in San Francisco.

#2 — The hallway track

Honestly, this is probably one of my favorite parts of DockerCon.The Hallway Track is a special track of DockerCon in which attendees can network and learn from each other. If you want to learn about something, simply make a request! If you want to teach others, submit a session! Then, small groups get together and just chat. These hallway moments have truly been some of the best moments of DockerCon, both learning and teaching. There’s simply no better way to learn than from others who have walked the same journey.

Photo of large green "Hallway track" banner hanging in front of a wall of windows.
The hallway track offers many chances to learn and connect.

#3 — Reconnecting with and making new friends

During my time as a Docker Captain from 2017-2022 (I had to semi-retire when I joined Docker), DockerCon was such a fun time to get together and spend time with my fellow Captains. In many ways, this felt like a family reunion. We learned together, taught each other, and provided insight and direction to the Docker product and executive teams. 

Although connecting with old friends was great, I always made new friends every year. Many of those came from the Hallway Track, but random conversations at meals, the conference party, and other one-offs have provided me with friendships and contacts I still use to this day. Whenever I’m stuck with any problem, there’s a good chance I can reach out to someone that I met at DockerCon.

Selfie showing Michael Irwin (wearing nautical hat) with other Docker Captains at DockerCon EU 2017 in Copenhagen.
Docker Captains gathered at DockerCon EU 2017 in Copenhagen.
Group photo showing people wearing bike helmets, sunglasses, and riding gear, taken during a pre-conference bike ride at DockerCon 2019 in San Francisco.
Group selfie taken during a pre-conference bike ride at DockerCon 2019 in San Francisco.

#4 — Fun all around!

I may or may not be known for roaming around the DockerCon EU 2017 vendor hall in an inflatable dinosaur suit or using that same suit to start my “Containers for Beginners” talk at DockerCon 2019. Why? To be completely honest, because it’s fun! And while a conference isn’t only about having fun, it’s certainly a lot easier to be a part of a community when you’re doing so. DockerCon is not afraid to have a little bit of fun.

Photo of person in brown dinosaur suit behind seated people at DockerCon booth.
Me wearing a dino suit at the Docker booth at DockerCon EU 2017 in Copenhagen.

While these are some of the reasons I’m excited to have DockerCon back in person this year, and I’m sure there are tons more! We’d love to hear what makes you excited. Tweet @DockerCon why you’re excited, and we just might highlight you.

Learn more at the DockerCon 2023 website and register by August 31 to take advantage of early bird pricing. 

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