While NetApp Insight is great for tech veterans, it’s also perfect for a conference newbie. The tech community is very welcoming! At 4,000+ attendees, the turnout is pretty big, without being overwhelming. Even though there is a second Insight conference in EMEA about a month later, there is still a pretty hefty global turnout. Having just gone to Insight for the first time last year, I wanted to share a couple of pro tips to help Insight “Frosh” improve their experience and get the most out of the conference.

Download the Insight App 

I don’t know about you, but I get lost pretty easily at these big tradeshows. This app kept my session schedule close at hand with helpful maps to get me to the right place at the right time. Download the NetApp Insight app for both iOS and Android today!

Listen to the Tech ONTAP Podcast Episodes on Insight 

If you aren’t already listening to the Tech ONTAP Podcast on the regular, now is the time to start. Last year, the Tech ONTAP crew recorded a slew of Insight-inspired episodes for before, during, and after the conference. The preview podcast episode was great prep for me as an Insight first-timer last year.

Recognize the Badge Colors

When you check in to Insight, you’ll have a badge printed out for you. Each badge is color-coded to indicate the following:

It’s a great way to meet people and it helps you when you’re socializing to instantly know people’s backgrounds and roles.

Eat in the Dining Hall

For breakfast, you can grab some coffee and a breakfast sandwich to go. But also make sure you find some time to visit the dining hall for a buffet. It’s a great opportunity to network and make new friends.

Make Time for Sessions—and More!

The best sessions at Insight usually book up early. You can save your space by registering for sessions prior to Insight. You can find the Schedule Builder online now.

 

And while the sessions are top-notch at Insight, there’s lots more to see and do:

  • Explore the convention floor (and collect swag!).
  • Stop by the CodeOn Bar
  • Visit the hands-on lab.

Don’t fret if you miss a session, because you’ll be able to view the sessions online in about 6 weeks.

Get certified

At the conference, you’ll find a popup Pearson Vue testing center. Think about how much your boss would love it if you came back with a new certification! At Insight, all NetApp certification tests are offered free of charge. If you fail, you can try again (as long as it is in accordance with NetApp’s standard re-take policy). You can prepare for the test by completing NetApp University’s free training. Also, each certification has an outline of the documents referenced in the test creation. The reference documents are an awesome source of study material. As long as you have a valid NetApp support account, you should be able to access all of the study materials and training at no cost.

A practical tip: bring your own water (BYOW)

I’m a really big drinker…of water…so this is a big deal to me. Mandalay Bay has many places to buy bottled water. Unfortunately, the price of a bottle of water appears to be fixed at an artificially high rate. I don’t know about you, but I would prefer not to pay 10% of my per diem on one 1L bottle of water.

 

While sessions are going on, you can grab a cup of water at the back. You may also find some bottles of water on the conference floor, too. However, for your long-term hydration needs, you probably will want to venture up the strip to the nearby CVS inside New York, New York for some cheap water bottles. CVS is also a great place to pick up some not-so-expensive souvenirs (like T-shirts) for the kids!

 

These are just a few of my tips to make your first Insight experience a little better. But regardless of whether you take my advice, you are sure to have a great time!

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Becky Elliott

Becky Elliott is a Senior System Administrator/Storage Administrator for Resource Management Concepts, Inc., based in Southern Maryland. She manages NetApp storage onsite for a government customer. Her enthusiasm for all things tech and her desire to share knowledge has earned her the unofficial title "Trainer of Sys Admins" for her team. She holds many industry certifications including CISSP, NCIE-SAN, and Linux+.