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PyCon US 2012: Getting the most out of PyCon (and a new Job Fair!)

PyCon 2012 will be the biggest PyCon yet. Amazing talks, tutorials, posters - robots - we are going to have it all for you. The volunteer team is working on welcoming committees, social events and many other things.

Each year there are quite a few new people, and with record attendance, we expect this year to be no different. So we thought that it this point it might be good to lay out the virtual welcome mat for everyone coming to PyCon and point out a few of the ways to make your PyCon unforgettable.

If we could point to just one thing that makes PyCon different, it is that at PyCon you come to contribute. If you want to have an extraordinary time and make PyCon your favorite conference all year, pick three of the items below, get involved, and contribute! Want to volunteer? Please sign up to pycon-organizers.

Stuff a Bag: For those who haven’t been to PyCon before, one of the most fun events takes place Wednesday evening.  Stand shoulder to shoulder with fifty or one hundred of your fellow Pythonistas to help stuff the attendee bags. Want to know who has the best swag? Want to see what people will be giving away in the Expo Hall? Want to just have fun? Come stuff bags.

Chair a Session: PyCon talks are arranged in groups of two or three, called sessions. (Look at the schedule to see what I mean). Session chairs help run the session, introduce speakers, call time, and help run the room for a short period of time. If you want to be in the front row at one particular talk, sign up to be session chair! There will be a sign-up board at PyCon.

Run a Race: Many Pythonistas are active runners. More are probably waiting for a kick in the pants to get up, get out the door, and start running. Well, here's your chance! Whether its part of your regular training, a New Years resolution, or whatever -- we hope you'll join us for the inaugural PyCon 5k.

Get a Job: A short while ago you may have seen a similar announcement for an online job board for our sponsors with open positions, located at https://us.pycon.org/2012/sponsors/jobs/. Sponsors have enjoyed this benefit and we think the community has as well. However, we’re taking this job fair one step further: into real life. On Sunday March 11 from 10:00 to 12:00, the expo hall will be running a job fair for all sponsors seeking to hire Python developers.

This job fair will run concurrent to the always excellent Poster Session, and will occur during the morning snack break. Grab a drink and a cookie and mingle with this year’s list of incredible sponsors, from small startups to big corporations, from the east coast to the west coast, local workers to telecommuters -- there’s a lot of organizations to choose from. With 122 sponsors on board, we think you’d have trouble not finding a company that interests you.

Give a talk: One of PyCon’s traditions - one that we aren’t ashamed to admit that we picked up from the Perl community - is having Lightning Talks. Lightning Talks are five-minute, rapid-fire talks about something that interests you. Maybe you've never given a talk before, and you'd like to start small. For a Lightning Talk, you don't need to make slides, and if you do decide to make slides, you only need to make three. Sign up quickly, though - spots go fast.

Check out the Hallway Track: Many of the PyCon old-timers are most fond of the “hallway track” - the spontaneous meetings and discussions that occur when you bring together interesting, intelligent people (like all PyCon attendees!). There have been projects and businesses launched, friendships made, and problems solved in the hallways at PyCon.

Organize an Open Space: PyCon sets aside rooms for “Open Space” discussions and meetings. Anyone can lead an open space - just sign up for the room and the time slot and it is yours. Do you play an instrument? Each night at PyCon usually has a music jam open space. Want to work on a quick idea with someone? Follow up on a talk? Plan to take over the world? Open space.

Attend a BoF: Some of our open spaces have grown up into semi-regular Birds of a Feather (BoF) sessions. The best-known is probably the Testing in Python (TiP) BoF, but we usually also have Board Game BoFs, Science BoFs, Whiskey BoFs, Newbie BoFs, “Teach me” BoFs, and many more.

Sprint: If you are still making your traveling plans, one of the best ways to take advantage of PyCon is attending the sprints. Development sprints are a key part of PyCon, a chance for the contributors to open-source projects to get together face-to-face for up to four days of intensive learning, development and camaraderie. Newbies sit with gurus, go out for lunch and dinner together, and have a great time while advancing their project. Have you ever wanted to hack on Python-core? Twisted? Django? SciPy? The leaders of each project will be there during the sprints, and you will be able to contribute in a meaningful way.

Sponsor PyCon: Ok, we had to say it. There are over 120 companies sponsoring PyCon, the most yet. We have filled up the Expo Hall, but you can still show your support (and participate in the Job Fair) with your sponsorship. If you are still considering sponsoring PyCon - now is the time to reach out to us - jnoller@python.org!

Come contribute to PyCon. It will be your favorite conference all year.

Pugs

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