DevConf.cz is an annual conference that happens every year around February (usually when it snows) in Brno, Czech Republic. The conference was conducted at Faculty of Information Technology, Brno(been the same venue for a couple of years) from Jan 25-27, 2018. The three day conference had multiple talks well distributed over 12 different tracks covering topics related to Agile, Cloud, CI/CD, Containers, DevOps, Fedora, Testing, Storage, Virtualisation and many more. You can find the entire schedule here.
For the journey part, I took a flight from Delhi, India to Vienna, Austria and then travelled to Brno by bus. Last time, I landed in Prague and then to Brno but after having taken both the routes, Vienna is closer to Brno than Prague. So, usually people suggest that one should land in the same country i.e. Czech Republic to which they are travelling to. As for me, I was questioned during the immigration that why am I travelling to Vienna when my Visa is from the Czech Embassy, but yeah I answered all the questions and showed all the relevant documents and it was all okay for me to proceed further. I landed in Vienna and took the Student Agency bus right from the Airport(the bus stop is right outside). If you are travelling alone, make sure that you land during the day and have all the bookings already. I reached Brno around 3:30 pm.
Nothing unusual, but yes the day started with a welcome speech followed by keynote by Chris Wright in the main hall where he spoke about some of the Research Projects at Red Hat, you can watch the keynote here. Those who could not make it to the main hall had to go to the other rooms and watch the live streaming. The next one on the schedule was ‘Red Hat’s Open Source AI Vision‘, new systems learn on their own what are the solutions to the problem and that Artificial Intelligence represents the most fundamental disruption of technology, industry and society since the industrial revolution.
The next two talks that I attended for the day were ‘Global revolution in machine learning‘ and ‘Take care of Hundred containers and not go crazy‘, key points from those were AI: mimic human behaviour and Develop!=Maintain (the end goal is to make all the containers work nicely). I am currently involved with a docs project and ‘Humanizing Your Documentation ‘ looked interesting to me but it was more focussed on writing clear documentation. I attended another one by Rebecca which was titled ‘The power of one: For the good of the community‘ and the key takeaway from that one was: ‘You can make a difference, so stop complaining and start contributing’. Attended one more talk for the day and then it was time for the 10th Anniversary Celebration surprise. All of us gathered in the courtyard and there were beautiful fireworks for a duration of 10-15 minutes and they were indeed a treat to watch. Also, there was some champagne for everyone to celebrate together 😉 Cheers to Day 1!
Day 2, I had my talk scheduled at 12:00 pm in the QE track. I attended the opening keynote for the day on ‘OpenShift & OpenStack Integration‘ where Hugh Brock and friends talked about Openshift running on Openstack and that the whole thing is greater than the sum of the parts. The next on the schedule was a not-to-miss 😉 ‘Latest Container Technologies‘ by Dan Walsh. His talks are always fun and a treat to listen, you can watch find the recording here and count the coins that he ‘d put in the Swear jar(but the recording shows only the slides 😦 ). Next, I walked to the Testing track and attended ‘Web UI Automation with Selenium for Beginners‘ by Og Maciel as that was the talk before mine.
It was time for my talk, mine was a discussion titled ‘Are there enough learning opportunities for a QE?‘. I was glad to see that I had a full house for my talk which scared me a little but pushed me harder to present better. So, my presentation had a few slides where I talked about some of the myths that we hear all the time about being a QE including Development vs. Testing, Manual vs. Automation, 100% automation etc. Later, I moved on to discussing some of the learning opportunities (which are endless) that we have as Quality Engineers. Some of the points that I covered were from my personal learnings about opportunities to explore different testing tools, programming languages, new technologies like docker, etc. Unfortunately my talk was not recorded as there was no camera in that room, I wish there was one 😦 . Following my short presentation there were some really interesting discussions relating to being in a QE job role. One of the feedback that I received was ‘it was a great presentation and surely people had something to think about after your talk’, that kind of made my day. There isn’t much text in the slides but you can still them find them here. The next one in the room was ‘One Testing Framework to Rule Them All’ where the speaker introduced Avocado testing Framework.
There were lightening talks towards the end of the day and I took that opportunity to put my talk for upvotes on the whiteboard and it did make it to the final ones. So, my lightening talk was about ‘Breaking myths about testing‘, I covered the first part of my original talk but to a much wider audience in the main hall. My lightening talk did trigger a few conversations around giving more importance to testing and I am glad that I could make that impact. Even though test automation exists but still there are miles to achieve for making everyone believe that development and testing go hand in hand for a quality product.
Tada! and it’s time to head for the Social evening at none other than Fleda, it was a good party with a lot of food + beer and no music so that everyone can just socialise. And honestly, it was great to catch up with so many people from the Pune office whom I did not get a chance to have a conversation back there. Day 2 was a good one!
It’s hard to be on time the morning after the party and I was a little laid back to reach the venue right away at 9. I used the last day to do most of the networking and attend a few talks. I attended the talk titled: ‘App Lifecycle of a Modern Integration Layer‘ which was by a teammate and that was a good one where Spenser and Alan talked about unification of customer support workflows though tooling. Another one in the same room that sounded of interest to me was ‘Engaging quality engineering on agile approaches‘ which was more about integrated Agile and QE approaches. It was time to gather in the main hall and attend the closing note and be a part of the Pop Quiz. It was fun to play the game though and you really cannot imagine the endless claps audience did for Chris Ward thanking him for putting this show together. Also, it was really nice to put faces to a lot of names with whom I interacted before over the internet but never met in person and one of them was Justin W. Flory.
It was time to day goodbye to everyone and go back home, while we were doing that.. a friend of mine asked me if I along with a few other friends wanted to join them to a local bar where they usually enjoy beer, food, music with their own guitars and flutes. It was so much fun to sing along with them and the last night in Brno comes to an end too 😦 The entire conference was a lot of fun altogether and yeah, successful as well as I delivered a talk after a long break.