The value of Tech Field Day

Tech Field Day changed my life. This is a big statement to make and now, given recent life events, something that holds true. This event which is organised by Stephen Foskett and his Tech Field Day group has gone from an idea into an industry mainstay. This post is an open thank you to the Tech Field Day, Stephen, and by in large, the TFD Family.

By now most people in our field have heard of Tech Field Day. For those who haven’t, go and check it out! Tech Field Day is bringing together innovative, switched on, and independent thought leaders to discuss opinions and participate with vendors in presentations. These public orientated people have a presence in the community which serves as a conduit.

Tech Field Day comes in many flavors. Tech, Storage, Wireless, virtualization, and Network to name a few. These flavors represent key pillars of the modern IT industry. Vendors are asked to present and these various days and just the right amount of cross-pollination occurs.

I was lucky enough to be invited to Network Field Day 4 last October. This was my first trip outside of Australia – I had to obtain my passport – and up there with some of the coolest things I’ve done. Upon arriving to San Jose I was greeted with tech marketing, billboards, and crazy enough, the headquarters of tech giants. Nothing like Australia.

There are two parts that make up the Tech Field Day experience. Oh, and before you think this is some magical jaunt. Think again. The vendor presentations. From 8am until 6pm we were shuffled around in limousine rock star style to each vendor to listen, engage, and discuss vendor strategies, offerings, and general happenings. The mood, tone, and participation from vendors was fantastic. The second part is the all night and early morning discussions surrounding the aforementioned presentations, crazy work war stories, and general tech. Some nights I only slept for under an hour because the conversations were too good! The people who are invited generally gel extremely well together. I think I am safe to say I have forged some seriously strong relationships, both professional and personally, with people I attended with.

When I attended my role at my current workplace was Network Engineer. I performed works on our network, aided in design, and worked as a part of a team to deliver our business function. After a new CIO and a subsequent reorganization, our business model created some new roles. The Enterprise Architect role was created. The jobs role and position description appealed to me and albeit I didn’t cover all requirements, there was a strong sense a potential applicant would grow into the position. With this on the cards I prepared my resume and put my hat into the ring.

I was successful in obtaining and interview and I prepared a sample vision and long-term road map. This incorporated current projects aligning to where I saw the business and the emergency sector going. I thought this might be a point of difference and something that the interview panel would see as initiative. I was wrong. Albeit the presentation was well received, it was something else that made me stood out.

“What is Tech Field Day delegate?” asked a panel member. This comment allowed me to explain what TFD was. It enabled me to talk about my blog and how I enjoy writing. I explained the process of how I researched a topic, created, wrote it, blogged about it and then discussed with other engineers. This aided in my selection to TFD among other factors. Wanting to know more I pressed on and explain the global platform TFD resides on and the extended community it reaches. A lot of them couldn’t believe they had someone in their midst that got to go to Cisco HQ, Juniper HQ, and other places.

The whole experience was a definitive point in my career and life. Both professionally and personally. I stated that and it is something I sincerely believe in. This opportunity was the point of difference in the eyes of this selection panel. As you may be aware I was successful in my application and now hold the role of Enterprise Architect, Infrastructure and Networks, for ESTA. This, I believe is a major feat for someone who is my age. I am passionate about the work I do, the industry I am in, and very humbled to be given the nod in this case.

So, the point of my warm and fuzzy thank you? Stephen Foskett has indirectly altered the course of my career for the better. Tech Field Day was the catalyst, the point of difference, one of the reasons I was successful in my promotion. For that, Stephen, if you are reading this, I cannot thank you enough.

Network Field Day 6 occurs on September 11-13 this year. Tom, Greg, and others are on board. It is preceded by a SDDC symposium on the 10th. I am hopeful to get back one day and partake again in the Tech Field Day experience. I cannot stress the importance to readers to apply as a delegate, select your background, get involved on twitter, blog and share. Our community is amazing. The people in it amazing. We have the power to do good. Lets use it.

Thank you Stephen.


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