My first tech conference – WebDevCon

presentation space before the talk began
One of the talk rooms just before the keynote from Paul Duncan at WebDevCon.

Earlier this week, April 21st, I went to my first tech conference, WebDevCon. I heard about it from my Free Code Camp group and being free plus in my hometown I decided to go. To be honest, at first I wasn’t going to go, but Cassidy told me I should and I agreed with her. So I went and it was super fun! Having never gone to a tech conference I didn’t really know what to expect except for what I have read and seen online.
It was held at one of the Amazon buildings in South Lake Union here in Seattle, which was nice since this allowed me to walk to it. This conference is something that Amazon has been hosting internally since 2009 and this year was the first time they have opened it up to the public. It is a mostly front end focused conference and admittedly as I learn more I enjoy back end development more, but I still found the topics to be interesting and overall it was a great time.
I saw a few of the folks in my Free Code Camp group and also saw another friend of mine that works as a Java developer. The talks ranged from the performance of loading web fonts, to using observables to handle async issues, and keeping things as simple as possible in your workflow. That talk was the keynote given by Paul Duncan. He had some great points on keeping work simple and free of waste. He brought up a lot of kaizen practices and even called out the Toyota Production System as the prime example of creating waste free work. Cassidy loved hearing about this since that is her line of work at Virginia Mason now and they have a deep relationship with Toyota to create waste free work in the medical field.
My favorite talk was one given by Rachel White. Her talk was about her process making a robotic cat feeder titled Internet of Cats. The name had me, but I also saw it was built using NodeJS and Johnny-Five, so I had to check it out. Her talk was also about how scary it is to try something new and to put it out for all the world to see. She decided to make her project open source and she brought up some of the anxiety that can come from putting your thoughts and ideas out into the world for others to see and possibly judge very harshly. She gave some examples of things other developers she knows have gone through that has made them wary of working on open source software, but she also showed the awesomeness of others who have helped her on her project. It was a great talk on not only NodeBots, but also on the open source community itself and how it owes it to itself and its members to be a kind, respectful place. I really liked it.
Overall, the conference was a lot of fun. I got some stickers, a water bottle, and my brain filled with ideas on how the internet works.
This definitely makes me want to keep going to more conferences and web development type group talk/presentation things.

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