Last month I attended the first annual ngATL conference held in Atlanta, Georgia from Jan 30th – Feb 2nd. The event was all about Angular, its community and moving towards a more inclusive tech industry. In his opening remarks, organizer Zachary Chapple spoke of his intention to make a positive impact on the development community by helping women in technology. He wanted to create a tech conference much different than the ones he was used to attending. A conference with more opportunities to hear women speakers. NgAtl had over 60% women speakers, while the current average is typically around 20-30%. The result was a conference that was diverse, inclusive, and offered a wide variety of topics and perspectives.
Themes like emotional intelligence, empathy, and how we define “value” were highlighted along with talks about what’s new with Angular, progressive web apps, reactive programming and more. All of the speakers were interesting and I appreciated the Angular community’s welcoming attitude and enthusiasm towards sharing knowledge.
Theoretical physicist Dr. Michio Kaku gave a talk in which he discussed his latest book and made incredible predictions about the future of tech and humanity. He spoke about the next 20-30 years and the arrival of a post-silicon era, a time when we will be moving towards technologies like molecular and quantum computers. His predictions for the next 500 years sounded more like science fiction and I enjoyed when he talked about telepathy, telekinesis, and the digitization of the mind. Dr. Kaku has a great imagination, this combined with his scientific genius makes him truly an interesting speaker.
April Wensel’s presentation “You Are Not A Robot”, was all about emotional intelligence in the workplace. She is the founder of “Compassionate Coding“, a company that teaches engineers how to develop emotional intelligence so they can work more effectively as a team. She brought up an interesting point about how emotional intelligence often gets labeled as “soft-skills”. She explained this kind of wording can create a negative connotation that’s associated with weakness. April suggested instead of using the term “soft-skills”, we should consider emotional intelligence as something closer to “catalytic skills”, foundational skills that help you catalyze your existing skills.
Brad Green’s two-part talk was both informative and insightful. He works at Google as an engineering director and manages the Angular team. The first part of his talk was all about what’s new with Angular. The second part focused on effective teams and diversity and inclusion. He told a great story about when he used to work for Steve Jobs and how that experience influenced the way he works and interacts with the tech and Angular community today. You can watch the talk on YouTube here. Or if you want to check out all of the speakers’ talks from the NgAtl conference you can find them here.
I’m so grateful I was able to attend this conference, especially considering that it was the first of its kind. Lots of people speak about the importance of diversity and inclusion in tech, but it’s even better to see it in practice. I left the event feeling optimistic and was truly inspired by some of the speakers. All of the deep knowledge about Angular was really impressive. I learned SO much from the talk Aimee Knight did on the “CSS Object Model”. Simona Cotin’s talk about “State management with ngRx” was also really cool as I’ve worked with React and Redux in the past and was familiar with some of the concepts. It was great meeting so many new people and seeing some familiar faces. Thanks again to the organizers for putting on a truly unique conference. I’m already looking forward to next one and can’t wait to see how the conference will grow in the future.