Decoding AWS re:Invent | A guide for first-timers

A guide to navigating your first AWS re:Invent. Learn how to decipher session codes, find the right session levels for you, and craft an inspiring agenda. With tips on maximizing your learning and growth, this is a must-read for any first-timer!

Brooke Jamieson
Amazon Employee
Published Oct 16, 2023
Last Modified Jun 6, 2024

Decoding AWS re:Invent | A guide for first-timers

With AWS re:Invent just around the corner and seat reservations opening up, it’s an exciting time for all of us! But for those attending for the first time, the sheer number of sessions can feel a bit daunting. Fear not: I’m here to help you navigate this! If you’d prefer this blog post in video format, you can find my video post about this on LinkedIn or Twitter/X.

What is AWS re:Invent?

At its core, re:Invent is more than just an event. It’s a 5-day gathering in the vibrant city of Las Vegas, where cloud novices, practitioners and experts come together. It’s an opportunity to deep dive into the latest cloud innovations, interact with AWS experts, and most importantly - foster connections that might just last a lifetime.

Understanding session codes

While browsing through the sessions, you’ll come across what seems like a jumble of letters and numbers, but they’re not random! Let’s use my session ‘BOA208 | Use generative AI to name your pet after your favorite song’ as an example:
  • BOA represents the session’s track. In this case, it points to the Build on AWS track, which is content from Developer Relations (my team!).
  • The first number of the 3 in the code is the most important, and it tells you the session level:
    • 100s: Ideal for beginners wanting a solid overview.
    • 200s: For those ready to delve a bit deeper.
    • 300s: Advanced, with a comprehensive dive into selected topics.
    • 400s: Expert level, for those who really want to dive deep into the intricacies of a subject.
Finding a pattern in the sessions you’re drawn to? Use the track code to discover other sessions that might resonate with you.

Why limit yourself to one level?

The beauty of re:Invent is the diversity it offers. Don’t confine yourself. Attending an introductory session can be invaluable, even for seasoned developers. It can sharpen your ability to simplify and communicate complex ideas - a skill which comes in handy for lots of roles!
On the other hand, stepping out of your comfort zone and attending a session that might seem a stretch can give you a lot of inspiration and shape your future learning paths. Remember - re:Invent is your playground! There’s no entry tests or judgement, only opportunities to grow and learn.

What if I can't get into a session at re:Invent? Tips and tricks

I know it can be disappointing when you don't manage to get a seat at one of your must-see sessions. But don't worry - there are still plenty of options! Firstly, all breakout sessions are recorded and uploaded to YouTube after re:Invent ends, so you can catch up on anything you missed from home.
There are also repeat sessions for some of the most popular talks. Look out for a "-R" at the end of the session code - this indicates it's a repeat. These take place all week long across the different re:Invent venues. Keep an eye out too for overflow rooms and "spur of the moment" talks organized by the event staff if a room fills up. These overflow sessions will be in the content hubs in each venue.
And finally, look on the PeerTalk platform to see if any speakers you wanted to see are taking 1-on-1 session bookings. PeerTalk is a great way to network and chat directly with re:Invent experts. So don't stress too much if you miss out on reserving a seat. With repeats, overflows, PeerTalk and recorded sessions, you'll still have plenty of opportunities to learn from the experts at re:Invent!

Wrapping up

As you gear up for this exciting event, take a moment to craft an agenda that not only educates but also inspires. I’m looking forward to both familiar faces and fresh ones in Las Vegas. Until we meet, happy planning!

Any opinions in this post are those of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of AWS.