Karsh Hagan joined Develop Denver for their seventh annual DVLP DNVR conference in RiNo to see what kinds of new hotness Denver's tech community is hyping, shading and ghosting.
The conference sprawled across multiple venues in the River North neighborhood. At the transit-center-themed international food hall, Zeppelin Station, developers of all backgrounds cross-pollinated ideas and relationships in a space purpose-built to facilitate creative exchange. At the artisan lifestyle hotel, The Source, a new expert captivated audiences and created conversations with each passing hour.
Something for Everyone
The conference presentations were divided into four tracks.
Careers - I want to create the magic!
Developers - I am creating the magic.
Operations - I help others to create their magic.
Product - What should we create with our combined magic?
Between the opening and closing ceremonies, the DVLP DNVR organizers spread a message of solidarity among Denver developers of all skill levels. Participants ranged from bootcampers and recent college graduates, to seasoned veterans, startups and MBAs.
For those just joining the technology community, DLVP DNVR offered a lot of practical advice with topics like helping your manager to help you, juggling time and priorities, interviewing skills, networking skills, and how to offer constructive design feedback.
Taking the World by Storm
Docker containerization took home the prize for the most talked about technology. It solves the challenge of safely moving software from one computer to another. Docker is like the perfect moving company that puts all of your belongings into a neat collection of boxes that you can easily unpack when you arrive at your new home.
The most upvoted panel at the conference was about Machine Learning. For most people, Machine Learning seems like a complex and mysterious science, walled off by advanced mathematical symbols and heavy jargon. In contrast, the Machine Learning presentation by Dan Moore, Director of Engineering at Culture Foundry, didn't contain any mathematics at all. The presentation exposed a skill that no one knew they had, in a way that made everyone feel like they could do it too.
Specifically, Amazon Machine Learning (AML) is one of the nine billion services Amazon offers through their AWS cloud, and like many of their services, its purpose is not immediately obvious.
Dan showed how to load two data sets into the AML service and with the click of a button, generate thousands of predictions. In this case, Dan used census data to predict if an individual made more or less than $50,000 per year, but you could forecast just about anything. The effort required to generate predictions was so low, that one's mind ran wild with all the things Amazon could predict for us- from customer behavior to fraud detection.
Completing the Circle
For Managers and Executives, the Product track contained many opportunities for growth in process and community. Multiple sessions covered strategies for employee development with topics like cutting through the hype, managing resource constraints, turning cynicism on its head, improving your hiring process, finding your purpose and effecting positive social change.
And for the hands-on learner, DLVP DNVR ran a parallel track of workshops and hackathons where participants could work together, getting their hands dirty with all the newest tech.
The conference concluded with a blow-out party on the sixth floor of the Catalyst building, sporting a long view of both downtown and the front-range. It was an apt tableau for the hearts and minds of Denver's technology aspirants to meld their newly acquired techniques.
Technology never stands still and DVLP DNVR is helping us all keep pace. Never stop learning.