DevConf, the only major independent developer conference in SA, is gearing up for another successful run this year, with a bigger venue, broader focus and 700-strong crowd.
Launched last year, DevConf was a standing-room only success, with over 470 professional software developers and programmers in attendance. In 2017, the organisers have expanded the scope and added more speakers across five key tracks impacting local developers.
Among this year’s conference highlights are a Silicon Valley developer, a mob programming expert and a service bus specialist, say DevConf organisers Robert MacLean and Candice Mesk.
MacLean says: “Our keynote speaker, Terri Burns, is an associate Product Manager at Twitter and is very well known in the US. Her talk, ‘Bad People, Bad Computers’ is very relevant to developers, as it will look at algorithmic bias, which can indirectly allow machines to learn prejudiced behaviour. ” Burns, a developer and technologist based in San Francisco, is also an editorial contributor at Forbes, where she has co-hosted the podcast Well, Technically and is the former-President and current Chair of Tech@NYU, the largest student technology organization in New York City.
Helping local developers up their game in the workplace, ‘professional geek’ William Brander will explain everything developers need to know to build the service bus of their dreams – from scratch. MacLean says: “As companies scale and build bigger and more complex systems, this is becoming increasingly important.”
Durban-based hardware hacker and Windows developer Matt Cavanagh will elaborate on ‘Reverse-engineering API’s, web scraping, and the details of how he gained access to 7-million accounts’. Cavanagh will detail the process he went through to discover and exploit a vulnerability in one of the largest companies in SA, and how to avoid this in your company.
“In additional to in-depth tech talks, we will focus on softer, but equally important, skills,” says MacLean. “In this area, a highlight is Mark Pearl, possibly one of the top five experts in the world in the field of Mob Programming. Where we used to talk about Scrum, Mob Programming has become the rising trend.” Pearl, now based in New Zealand, will talk on ‘Getting the best of everyone into all the code using Mob Programming’.
Ending the day on a lighter note, DevConf speakers will also cover out-of-the-ordinary topics such as craft beer and VR in quadrocopters.
Alberton-based entrepreneur Brett Magill will talk on the potential to use big data analytics to improve the craft beer brewing business, while developer Theo Bohnen will outline his journey in trying to fly drones through using mobile VR, trying out Oculus Rift and seeing what sticks. DevConf 2017 will end with a cocktail reception, where attendees will have an opportunity to network with the expert speakers, fellow developers and the event sponsors and exhibitors.
DevConf grew out of the Developer User Group forum and monthly meetings coordinated by MacLean, Mesk, Terence Kruger, Mark Pearl and others – all veteran developers themselves.
Mesk, who says the success of the 2016 inaugural DevConf inspired to become more involved in organising this year’s event, believes DevConf fills a gap in the market for an event that covers a range of technologies and brings the developer community together from all across the country. “Building on last year’s range of topics, we have several international speakers, diverse speakers, and we’re very excited to see Bitcoin, Blockchain and mobile development coming up in our topics. This is leading edge stuff,” she says.
DevConf 2017 will be staged at Vodacom World in Midrand on 9 March 2017, with the support of BBD, Derivco, DVT, Microsoft, ABSA, AllanGray, Google, OfferZen, Chillisoft, Micro Focus, SUSE, entelect, EOH and Driven Software.