Team kindr3d @ Beyond Tellerrand 16

Posted on by kindr3d

Categories: blog , student posts and conferences

Team kindr3d @ Beyond Tellerrand 16

Team kindr3d were lucky enough to get free tickets for this year Berlin BTconf. We want to say thanks to every member of the RGSoC team who fought for us and got us the golden tickets to this unique event which gave us a lot to think about. We also met Nynne, last year’s alumni and also our supervisor for a week this summer. And we had great conversations and exchanged our experience about our own RGSoC and being a female junior developer.

Don't Panic helpful advice - Source: kindr3d

What is it?

It is a general front-end/web/design conference. This particular instance had an absolute minimum of slides with code. Do with that information what you will. Some may not be happy about the overall softness of talk and topics, but there were definitely ideas worth sharing and pondering on. Ever since ViewSource 2016, where people were friendly, talks were perspective-changing, food and drinks were plentiful and delicious, and the last week of Berlin summer warmed the hearts and MacBooks of attendees (in coalition with a free bar of course), it was clear that what makes a conference good is something elusive: atmosphere, vibe, whatever you want to call it. These events do not exist in the vacuum, they are perceived in their immediate historical context with sprinkles of one’s personal life events. And BTconf this year happened to be a very special snapshot of a very particular way of life.

What was happening?

The moment Sacha Judd made a hall full of tech folk contemplate on One Direction fandom it was on like donkey kong. It is rather unfair to identify this talk as the best, since there were many great ones, but this one hit us and our partner in crime Nynne directly in the feels. For most of the people in that room being shippers, writing a fanfiction or cheesy fansite were not direct life experiences, though they have been for us. But everyone does relate to the small tragedy of people doing things well and being excited about doing them while not appreciating their own skill, effort and enthusiasm. Somehow this feels a lot like being a junior. This talk was wonderful and you should watch it. We will always remember not to be ashamed of our passion and things we’ve made with love.

team kindr3d gif team reunion - Source: kindr3d

There were funny and hands-on talks, where we were scribbling notes constantly. Big themes across them were accessibility, taking care of people outside the bubble of the european/north american high-speed paradise, and relying on simple and robust technologies (so no React love). There was funny, creative (if slightly salty) advice on writing less code by Heydon Pickering (we are tempted to buy his book). Useful and very needed at the moment: a list of refactoring practices. Also notable talks on typography in interfaces and image optimisation

The elephant in the room was the USA election. It’s best identified by a great switch from hopeful and angry talk by Mike Monteiro about taking the responsibility for what you do on the day of the election to a humane and accepting approach to data by Erika Hall the day after. It was an unspoken framework for the event, because so many speakers were americans. Another reminder of how the tech world is obsessed with America.

How did we like it?

All in all this was a very interesting event, which recursively highlighted many problems most speakers were referring to. There is still a feeling that we just like to pat ourselves on the backs. It is pleasant to feel that we are better than the rest of the world because we are woke developers and designers, because we are aware. Sobering talks helped, but these things are still prevalent in tech and especially at tech conferences. And despite the talks about diversity, it was still a majorly white and male conference, though we met some inspiring women as well. As Micaela noted, RustFest was organised by a slightly different group of people and offered an interesting, activism-fuelled DIY alternative to that. I guess it is a good idea to take some of the advice by speakers to heart and be responsible and proactive about our lives just as much as we are about our code.

Overall, several days after the conference we are still pondering over many ideas people on and off stage shared with us, which is the reason why conferences exist! Also we found many new ways to become better developers and improve our code in thoughtful and meaningful ways. And talking to Nynne gave us another angle through which we can view our own careers and life in the future.

team kindr3d and Nynne Nynne and team kindr3d vs unfortunate lighting - Source: kindr3d