Sitting through the Rookie Track at BSidesLondon is something we really enjoy. This year the quality of the presentations was amazing. Of course, the rookie’s mentors take a part of the blame for that. Good training gives you always a head start. Nevertheless someone has to stand in front of the crowd and fill the 15 minutes slot with content. All rookies did a good job. It was hard to pick a clear winner. The jury took more than three iterations to find a conclusion. Locard made it, and we welcome him to DeepSec 2016 in November. Honourable mentions go to @Shlibness, @Oxana_Sereda and @callygarr.
For you we have some thoughts on the presentations we saw and on the methods being used.
Think of your presentation as code. Make it lean and mean. It’s easy to implement your favourite function in 200K lines of code. Make it smaller. The same is true for your presentation. Writing a book about your favourite topic is easy. Squeezing everything the audience needs to know and you have to say into a presentation slot of 15 minutes (or 30, 45, 60, 90, …) is hard. It requires a thorough understanding of the facts and the theory. In addition you need ideas how to present your thoughts with minimal distraction. Good illustrations will help you. Using text will also do, but you need to reduce it as well. No fillers, no noise, just use the minimal code necessary.
Stage fright will be your enemy (even if you are not an Android phone). If you have a problem with crowds, think about not drinking loads of your favourite caffeinated drug. Try to relax before your presentation begins (starting with breakfast gives you a good start, relaxing seconds before your talk doesn’t make much sense). Have a chat with the audience. You need to introduce yourself any way, so why not ask people from the audience some questions? Once you are past the first seconds or minutes of your talk, you most probably have forgotten your nervousness. Besides, being nervous is a sign that you care, so there’s nothing to worry about.
For everyone thinking of entering the Rookie Track at BSidesLondon 2017: Please do! We will be pleased to see you presenting your ideas!