For the last few years, the beginning of August has meant one thing for me: That Conference! The joke eventually starts getting old, but the conference is always worth the time. 2018 was my fourth year attending and second year speaking.
My favorite talks this year were the first two keynotes. When I saw the title of Jessica Kerr’s talk, “the Origin of Opera and the Future of Programming”, I assumed she meant the web browser. No – she actually meant Opera singing! This isn’t a topic that I have any interest in whatsoever…but Jessica’s enthusiasm actually made it interesting (and yes, she did relate it to programming). Then Cory House gave the keynote I was particularly looking forward to, on building a career; he talked about the tradeoffs he had to make to do what he does. Videos of both talks are available on the That Conference Facebook page.
When I’m writing or speaking, I like to choose a topic that’s more conceptual than language X or program Y. Last year my talks were on accessibility (at That Conference) and sorting algorithms (at MKE.NET); this year my talk at That Conference was about graph theory and I’ll be speaking on accessibility again at Cream City Code. Over the last few years I’ve noticed that there are a lot of software developers who don’t have computer science degrees and are interested in seeing what they’ve missed, which is why I’m giving talks on various topics that would normally be covered in the course of a CS degree (and am writing a book in the area as well). I was happy to see quite a few people turn out to hear what was essentially a math talk and stay engaged to the end. Graph theory isn’t something that most of us will use every day, but it definitely has a lot of practical applications in programming.
If you came to my talk, I appreciate it! See you next year for more waterpark and bacon :-)