Holy shit, I went to DEFCON.
I think that probably went through my head a dozen times. Maybe more.
I've been watching videos on infosec from the major conventions for about a decade or so. There's a few 'big' ones – Black Hat and DEFCON being the main players.
As I sit in the airport, I wanted to take a few minutes to type out some reflections on my experience at the con.
I got to Las Vegas and immediately understood the 3-2-1 rule. It is HOT in this state, so hydration was put on the priority list. I made my way to the Flamingo – I chose to stay at a hotel where the conference was being held and was thankful that I did. The amount of walking involved in DEFCON was a killer on my feet – I can't imagine having to hoof-it back to my hotel at the end of the night like some of the guys I met.
On the first night, I went down to the Garden Bar and met with a good variety of dudes from the LHC – the Lonely Hackers Club. Now, whoever is responsible for creating the LHC has done a really fine job of cultivating a group that is open, welcoming and ready to socialize. It's been made for people who attend DEFCON alone – so that you've got an ad-hoc group to hang out with. We communicated through Telegram, which was perfect – you could just send a flat message asking who's around and almost surely meet up. I met some real neat people with interesting, provacative conversations held on matters of tech, life and con-stuff.
Most notably, I met @novsec who gave me some really dope stickers and an LHC patch!
Before I went I had all my time scheduled – budgeted between the villages, the talks and the parties. As Thursday progressed and I realized how much time would be eaten up just getting around and getting in the requisite lines would take up (holy SHIT that #swaglinecon, right?), I released a lot of what I had planned and just decided to go with the flow of things. Thursday night, I attended a BJJ seminar at Syndicate MMA and got to roll with Forrest Griffin – that was really, really cool. Immediately after that, I met up with a few guys from the /r/defcon subreddit to DM a game of D&D. Jits, RPG and hacking, all in a day. Nice.
Friday, the madness begins. I managed to hit all the villages I wanted to and have a good stroll through the vendor area. I attended a talk at the Rogue's Village on some core elements of social engineering, which was cool. If I had to redo my Friday, I would have gone to see the SECTF – that looked really cool. I did, however, join the BTV CTF and muddled around a little with their tools.
It's okay to be a noob. There are guys who are knee-deep in one little fractal element of infosec. There are guys (like me!) who work in IT-centered positions and touch everything. There's everything in-between, too. Just go.