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Capacity crowd at SA’s first DevConf

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Exceeding all expectations, over 500 developers turned out for South Africa’s first developer-only DevConf, with enthusiastic developers who couldn’t secure seats already pre-booking for next year.

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DevConf was initially expected to attract around 350 professional developers and programmers when it was staged at the new Riversands Incubation Hub in Fourways this week. However, within weeks of ticket sales opening, the event was oversubscribed, with scores of developers on a wait list, and yet more asking to buy tickets for the 2017 event.

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“We were pleasantly surprised at the response,” said co-organiser Robert MacLean. “It supported our feeling that while there are many small, niche events held for developers around the country, there was a need to bring back to SA a major, vendor-neutral developer conference.”

The conference grew out of the Developer User Group forum and monthly meetings coordinated by MacLean, Terence Kruger, Mark Pearl and others – all veteran developers themselves. In collaboration with the user group and event sponsors, the organisers identified the top issues and skills development needs among local developers, and addressed them in the one-day, multi-track event. DevConf included tracks focused on DevOps & Automation and Teams & People, as well as tracks on Crafting Code, Persistence & Data, Tools & Frameworks and a sponsor track.

Regular industry updates and knowledge sharing are vital for the developer community, says MacLean, making platforms like DevConf an important highlight. “It is vital for developers to expand beyond their niches. In addition, technology becomes out of date so quickly that developers have to stay on top of new technologies, new ways to plan and assure project success.”

Opening the event, keynote speaker Danie Roux – consultant and renowned expert in the developer community; explored the construction of meaning, noting that “There is a distinction between being correct and being useful.” In some respects, he said, every model from agile to waterfall was wrong, “But some of every model is useful. We need to make abstractions to make something slightly more useful,” he said.

Top speakers participating in the event also included Canada’s Willy-Peter Schaub – known for his expertise in Scrum, Kanban, and Agile Portfolio Management with Visual Studio Team Services; Austria’s Andreas Grabner speaking on Metrics Driven-DevOps: Delivering High Quality Software like Facebook & Co, and England’s Tugberk Ugurlu, a database expert speaking on Architecting Polyglot-Persistent Solutions.

Sponsors including platinum sponsors BBD software development and EOH, Intel and Entelect, gold sponsors Microsoft and Google, silver sponsors Allan Gray and Derivco, and bronze sponsors Chillisoft and Mint participated in the exhibition area, offering access to new solutions and career development opportunities.

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