ChefConf: What Keeps Me Coming Back

Brittany Woods is an Automation Engineer at CARFAX, and one of our favorite ChefFriends.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. No, not that time of the year, it’s the time when we all start making our preparations to attend ChefConf. We have tickets to buy, hotels to book, flights to arrange, and bosses to convince; but what is it about ChefConf that should get you excited, and more pointedly, what keeps me coming back?

ChefConf 2020 will be my fifth year in attendance. I remember being a fledgling Chef Admin, barely a year of Chef experience under my belt, and being welcomed with warm hearts and open arms into the Chef Community at ChefConf 2016, right in the heart of Austin, Texas. I knew right away this community was one that would embrace everyone and I had found someplace that I belong. The Chef Community is a community unlike any other that I have experienced. It is filled with some of the smartest people you will ever meet, some of the biggest DevOps advocates in the industry right now, and some of the most humble people I have ever met. Whether you have been in tech for 30 years, or three years, the people that attend ChefConf are supportive beyond measure and always more than happy to take up the hallway track with you to discuss some good tech. Further, the friendships I have forged through the Chef community are ones that will last a lifetime.

Another thing that keeps me coming back is the knowledge. The amount of knowledge Chef can cram into just a few days is something to behold. As an early Chef practitioner, the workshops proved to be invaluable. It was through workshops I attended at ChefConf that I began to understand all of the moving parts of Chef. These workshops really gave me the confidence I needed to be able to architect out and go live with a Chef environment that works. The breakout sessions Chef provides during ChefConf also give unique community insight into how Chef is being used throughout multiple industries. Because Chef puts a significant focus on ensuring their conference isn’t just a sales pitch, these breakouts are huge in amount and throughout the days of the conference, you will struggle to find a time where there isn’t a conflict in which session you want to attend. Just attending some of these sessions gave me the tools I needed to solve some of the hard problems I faced in my Chef journey.

ChefConf 2020 will also mark my third year speaking during the conference. My first ever talk happened at ChefConf – before that I was terrified of public speaking. I was so terrified of speaking in front of an audience, regardless of size, that I found ways around speaking in front of people in my college public speaking class. The size requirement of the audience in that class: five people. At ChefConf, I was able to take lessons learned from the trenches and help others going through similar challenges. As a first time speaker, Chef again welcomed me with enthusiasm, open arms, and the best speaker coach in the world to ensure I was bringing my best most confident self to the table. Now, I love talking in front of people! If you have stories from the field about Chef but have never publicly shared them, this is the best place with the most welcoming and supportive audience you could choose to do so.

So what keeps me coming back? The people. The community that Chef has fostered. The passion that we all share. That’s what ChefConf is really about. I look forward to learning and growing as a member of the Chef community this year and for years to come.

Brittany will be speaking again this year! Check out a preview of her presentation from a recent webinar.

Register for ChefConf 2020 before April 15th to take advantage of Early Bird pricing and save $300 on your ticket!

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Brittany Woods