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Wondering what DDD stands for? Well, DDD stands for Developers Developers Developers! (presumably taken from this famous Steve Ballmers on-stage chant) It is an inclusive, non-profit conference for the software community. This year, DDD Melbourne was held on 15th September 2018 at Town Hall in Melbourne CBD. It was a one-day conference which started at 9:00am and concluded at 5:15pm. Personally, I thought the conference was very well-organized and at $79, it was affordable and being held on a Saturday meant I didn’t have to talk a day off work either. Based on what you fancy, there were several talks to choose from. The agenda, which was finalised after attendees voted on the talks, can be found here.

  

Keynote

Speaker: Dayle Stevens, CIO of AGL [Website; @Dayle_Stevens]

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DDD kicked off with a keynote from Dayle Stevens. Her presentation was titled “A day in the life of a CIO”. Dayle shared her insights on what she does each day, her requirements in her teams and people around her. Basically, a regular day in the life of a CIO with a pinch of her perspective to everything. She is an award-winning technology expert who is well known for her contributions to the field of Technology. Her professional experience was very relatable and provided insights on the importance of conversations in organizations. There was also an emphasis on the correlation between technology and strategy where how the involvement in technology affects the overall organizational strategy. She also stressed on the legacy technology used in the companies and how the CIO’s of today have to embrace the emerging technologies like cloud computing in the market. Moreover, CIO’s are more action-driven and have to be in the dominant quadrant while analytically oriented people are not represented much at higher management levels. This provided a good, real-life insight into the top management and what leadership approach is necessary for being a great CIO!

UX for Developers

Speaker: Laura Summers [@summerscope]

Slide Deck: Link

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Source: @RavenAlly

After the Keynote and a short morning tea break, I chose to go for Laura Summers’ talk on UX for Developers. At Shine, my client is EnergyAustralia where every team has dedicated designer and I always wondered about how they come up with such incredible visuals. So I took my bag full of swag from the sponsors and made my way to the Yarra Room of the town hall.

In her talk, Laura walked through how UX is defined, the different UX domains, approaching the end users and most importantly, how to promote healthy collaboration between designers and developers and how they can learn from each other. Her definition of UX which is “the ability to practice introspection and empathy” made me a think about design in a completely different way.

This Startup Life: A Developer’s Mistakes and Tips

Speaker: Ben Cull [Website; @benwholikesbeer]

Before Shine, I worked for two tech startups. The journey of the founders and how they got there was very inspiring. After reading Ben Cull’s talk summary on the DDD website, I knew that I would love to hear his story and how he co-founded Pinch Payments.

After sharing his background about working as consultant and his numerous entrepreneurial side projects, Ben discussed what led him to take on the “untamed mountains and treacherous valleys of the startup world” for good and the lessons he learnt along the way in an engaging and humorous way. He emphasized the value of networks and people when undertaking the journey of an entrepreneur.

8 lessons in 8 years

Speaker: Prakriti Mateti [@PrakritiMateti]

As a junior developer, I am prone to impostor syndrome which is why I am glad I went to Prakriti’s talk because I learnt that even an engineering manager at Zendesk faces the same doubts of self-worth. Through 8 wonderful and very personal stories, Prakriti does a great job of sharing how she became a tech lead at one of the most well-known product companies in the world. She shares her opinions on what makes for great dev culture and when to recognize one that doesn’t work for you and your goals. Irrespective of where you are in your career, everybody could do with a talk like these. You are especially lucky if Prakriti is the one delivering it.

 

Intro to Machine Learning

Speaker: Damian Brady [@damovisa]

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Damian is a developer at Microsoft and his talk highlighted the importance of machine learning in context with Artificial Intelligence and deep learning. But to start with, he mentioned one of the most necessary aspect in Machine learning is to get the data in the right format as often the data in unstructured and requires data cleaning.

The key takeaway here was that machine learning is by itself not done from scratch if you have a general scenario, it can rather be learnt from various models and training tools. Machine learning doesn’t feel that daunting now, does it?

 

Modern JavaScript For Web Dinosaurs

Speaker: Ryan Preece [@preecington]

Slide Deck: Link

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I entered the room thinking I am NOT a web dinosaur. I mean I only I started my experience with web development 2 years ago! Yet, as Ryan started talking about jQuery and how we’ve gone past it to work on modern web frameworks. 2 years ago, I used to work exclusively with jQuery!

In his talk, Ryan discusses the history of the language of the web – from the golden days of vanilla Javascript to modern frameworks and everything in between. In less than an hour, I had learnt more about web development than I had in a semester at University. If you dare to save the princess using JavaScript, do check out Ryan’s slide deck linked above – you will be much better prepared!

 

How Microsoft does Devops

Speaker: Anthony Borton [@anthonyborton]

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In early September, I moved to work on EnergyAustralia’s cloud platform. It was daunting yet I couldn’t be more excited. Being new to the platform team, I was very keen to learn about this space of operations and how it influences the dev culture within an organization. Anthony’s talk completely quenched this curiosity as he talked about how his team comprising of 800 people working on VSTS evolved. He talks about how they do agile at scale, transforming into a cloud architecture and other concepts formerly perceived to be utopian.

Conclusion

An eventful day was concluded with an amazing after party! It was a great after-event networking opportunity to meet various developers who had interesting personal and professional experiences in an informal setting. DDD Melbourne is must go event for next year on my checklist. In the meantime, I have got to read up on UX, entrepreneurship, agile methodologies, machine learning, how not to be a web dinosaur although in the time it took me to write this post, I probably already am one!

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