StackWorld 2016 Reflection

“Hmm. The email said that I should wear black blazer and black pants when I volunteer. It’s like I am going to an interview anyway.” I joked with my sister – but then, I was going to volunteer at the StackWorld Hiring Mixer, so it is pretty much like going to an interview. In fact, I ended up attending the Mixer as an hiree (is that a word?) myself during my break, totally under-prepared as I had thought I would be volunteering the whole time. There was only 4 companies, so it was easy and quick for me to just stop by during break and get an idea of what each companies are looking for.

That’s another unexpected thing – the size. I had been to DevWeek’s (same organization) Hiring Mixer earlier this year, which was very large yet extremely over-crowded. This time, the event was hosted at a small local pub, Cafe Royale. Four was pretty much the maximum number of booth tables that the place can hold.

Although with a place like this, the attendee have one major benefit – drinks. As the event went on, it morphed more into a networking event. I was assigned upstairs at the overlook, and I got to watched one of my friend attending the event worked his networking magic at the bar, chatting with different people at the table throughout the event. I wonder if that is the expected result – I did wondered with my sister why they pick a pub where hiree runs the risk of getting drunk, but if networking is the goal…

Second day is the fun day for me – talks, talks, talks! During the mixer, someone told me the talks from the first day were more of ops than dev in its contents, which I found to be quit true for second day, too. While I am interested in DevOps, I started as someone who was studying the development side, so that’s where my skill sets and knowledge primarily lies. Some of the talks were difficult for me to catch on as a result. But the talks did give me a good idea of what DevOps are about from the industry’s standpoint and which direction to look for in my studies. Some of the more memorable ones includes keynote from Josh Bernstein of EMC, Open Source Has Changed How You Run Infrastruture. His was quite funny and used some very good diagram and comparisons to talk about DevOps and the importance of Opensource.

Bernstein-Hierarchy of NeedsBernstein-Another DevOps Visualized

Dan Jones from VictorOps did DevOps 101, which also did a good description about what is involved in DevOps. At one point, he put up a quote by Ernest Mueller, author of Agile Admin, which I thought was pretty good:

DevOps is the practice of operations and development engineers participating together in the entire service lifecycle, from design through the development process to production support. DevOps means breaking down the traditional silos that have existed between Ops and Devs.

My favorite is Performant Security from Sabin Thomas of Codiscope . His talk about various tools that they used to develop Jack (cloud-based developer tool that checks github repo for security issues), and the process moving from Alpha stage to Beta stage and finally to Live is very insightful. It gave me a good idea of what to pay attention for when I am studying those tools – some of which includes Mongo and Docker, both of  which I am learning right now. I had to leave a bit early, while he is still talking about Google Cloud Platform, but I still found that I took a good amount of information from the talk.

I also did the booth challenge, where attendee gets a gift if they scan the QR code on 11 exhibition booth and 1 session. I decided to take it up a notch and talk to all 11 booth, asking all of them about what they do, and in some cases, if they are hiring recent grads. It was a very nervous, but also insightful experience. Some fun things I found:

  • Out of the 11 companies I talked to, at least 3 traveled from outside CA State! They are: Raygun from Seattle (crash-reporting software), VictorOps (real-time alert and monitor) from Boulder, and Codiscope (software security services) from Boston. While they have an office in San Carlos, QTS (data center service) is primarily based in Chicago.
  • I went to the Codiscope booth before their open talk, so I didn’t realize that their Jack service is completely Live now instead of Beta – I had talked to them during Devweek back when they are in Beta stage.
  • Citrix (application and data delivery on network and cloud) is very enthusiastic about getting people into their iPad raffle drawing and swags (an iPhone cloud-shaped stand and webcamera cover). In addition, they also set up 3 monitors to display their NetScaler service live. Very neat!

Citrix NetScaler

  • Iron.io (cloud-based job processing system) printed out newpaper-like case studies of their customers, which includes Bleacher Report, Hotel Tonight, and Untappd. They also did a drawing for a drone. Didn’t win that either, but it looks pretty cool – it has a mount for GoPro!
  • AppDynamics (real-time application performance monitoring) had people there at the hiring mixer, who was also there in the exhibition hall. Someone is busy!
  • Cobalt.io (crowd-source security professionals) wasn’t in the exhibition hall or had a QR code to scan, but their card display caught my attention as I walked by, and I ended up listening to the booth people discussing their services to another attendee:

CobaltIo