Craig Porteous

Craig Porteous, Director, DATA:Scotland on why Glasgow is the perfect location for this three year old event which now attracts expert speakers from around the world

The tech community in Glasgow has exploded over the past 5 years, with user groups taking place almost every night throughout the city, across every technology and industry you can imagine. These are a great way to network with peers, learn new things and even share knowledge with others. I find that full day events and conferences really inspire people, help broaden my network of peers and get people excited about technology. It's great to see so many local businesses engaging with the tech community and supporting these events.

My name is Craig Porteous and I am the Director for DATA:Scotland, Scotland's first and only free data training conference. We are in our third year now with almost ten times the registrations we saw when I first put a small afternoon of learning together back in November 2017, under the banner of SQLGLA and on an £800 budget. You can still see the original announcement page I posted on my blog.

Craig Porteous T

Even with this massive growth in attendance and expanding the speaker sessions to 30 for 2019, we still have the same focus of bringing people together with great content. Speakers come from across the world to present sessions on new technologies, soft skills and new ways of doing things. With the help of a team of organisers to spread the workload, we've gone further this year and created a newcomer programme (the same way I got into public speaking at DataGrillen in 2018). Four of our 30 sessions are speakers who have never spoken at a conference before. We are supporting their journey with mentors, talks on public speaking tips and dry runs with local user groups in the run up to DATA:Scotland 2019.

We've come back to Glasgow year after year, not just because the team and I are locals and run several community user groups in the city, but because of the focus businesses in Glasgow give to technology and the communities built around those technologies. In 2018, attendees travelled from all over Scotland and the north of England. The choice of so many fantastic venues and transport options in Glasgow made it easy for us to find somewhere to fit our limited budget and still host a free conference with a high-quality experience for the speakers and attendees alike. We even introduced an after-party in The Platform under Central station and a tour of the WEST brewery the next day to give the speakers a taste of Glasgow and Scotland.

As we approach DATA:Scotland 2019 on the 13th September, we have blown past our 2018 registration numbers within 2 weeks of announcing. We have a state-of-the-art venue in the Strathclyde University Technology & Innovation Centre (TIC), 32 speakers lined up with our 4 newcomers, support from many local, national and international sponsors who share our #AlwaysLearning vision.

I'm often asked "why" we commit so much of our own time to organising DATA:Scotland, or the community user groups we run. At times it can feel like a job, but for me, it's about sharing knowledge and expertise. Without the data community, I'd be half the data engineer I am today and that is thanks to others who organise events, who speak at conferences for no financial recompense and continue to give up their time and knowledge to help others. Seeing someone get inspired by a speaker's session (and when I speak at conferences), helping people connect with others and further their knowledge, careers and circle of friends is a strong motivator. The fact I too get to see these amazing sessions and talk to inspiring speakers is the icing on the cake and reinforces an ever-present truth that in many roles, but especially technical roles, you are always learning as technology advances. Book your free place at Data;Scotland2019 today. #DataScotland.

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