The event was part showcase, part science show, part geek club, part maker club, offering a range of lightening talks on cutting-edge technologies as well as a variety of interactive exhibition stands where people could discover the latest creative innovations in technology.
DevDay was the brainchild of Entelect software and the first event took place in 2014. Since then it has grown well-beyond the company and into something for the broader community. This DevDay took the concept one step further and provided the South African community with a platform to showcase their innovations.
“The initial purpose of DevDay was to give our employees an opportunity to explore aspects of the industry that they might not get exposed to in their day job, and to showcase their technology-based interests. However, the success of the event internally showed us its immense worth to the community as a whole and so we decided to open it to the public.” Explains Sheldon Lyne, General Manger, Operations, Entelect.
The keynote speaker for the event was Uncle Bob who, in the last 40 years, has worked in various capacities on literally hundreds of software projects. In 2001, he initiated the meeting of the group that created Agile Software Development from Extreme Programming techniques and served as the first chairman of the Agile Alliance. He is also a leading member of the Worldwide Software Craftsmanship Movement, Clean Code; is a regular speaker at international conferences and trade shows; and is the founder, CEO, and president of Uncle Bob Consulting, LLC and Object Mentor Incorporated.
His presentation at DevDay was centred around the theme of encouraging Professionalism in the software industry, specifically talking on the topic of Estimations. According to Uncle Bob, the vast majority of software developers have yet to learn the practices and disciplines that constitute professional behavior. In his talk he focused on the practice of estimation and how these can be better managed by software developers.
Other speakers at DevDay 2016 included:
• Gail Shaw looking at what Big Data is, and isn’t, and how the meaning of the term has changed over time.
• House4Hack presented on its ‘Five phun projects at House4Hack using the Raspberry Pi: PiScope, 3d printing with LCARS, WifiBroadCast, FPV Cars and PiFM.
• Kristina Georgieva talking on what convolutional neural networks are, how are they used and what those in the industry could use to play around with them.
• Evan Knowles presentation was titled, ‘More than one way to skin a QR’ and everything you ever wanted to know about QR.
• Philip Robinson, who went into detail about the technology used and development process of an interactive LED art installation built, from scratch, for Afrikaburn 2015. His talk included a breakdown of the design and manufacture of the custom electronics built for the installation, the construction of the artwork itself and the realities of bringing a fancy toy into the middle of the desert.
• Duncan Gillies and Nicolle Garber discussed data science techniques and approaches while using a BI and visualization tool to simplify the methodology for non-technical users. In an interesting twist he used IMBD’s movie data set to try cluster and predict a variety of metrics.
• Dino Fizzotti whose talk was titled “’Blink the LED’ right?” covered how he learnt to write software, from making hardware and developed his use his 16shades project.
• Pieter Koornhof, who, in his lightning talk, looked at why developers should consider working code in production, maintainable code, and having fun, the three most important things in their normal day-to-day.
As well as a variety of talks, there were a number of interactive exhibition stands. Both House4hack and Sterkinekor contribute to the interactive exhibition with their stands which were greatly appreciated by everyone there. Alongside this, there were LED lights, a 3D printer, a code-off, a game jam, board games and a whole bunch of other cool tech-centric and interactive stands.
“At Entelect, we believe that communities can be a powerful place to keep learning and stay ahead of the curve. The stronger and more diverse a community network, the greater chance we engineers and developers have to remain relevant in such a fast-paced sector.” Says Lyne.
“As developers and leaders in the industry, we need to take ownership to drive these initiatives because we have so much knowledge to share and so many upcoming developers. There is a shortfall in good developers in South Africa but no shortage of jobs for great developers. Events like these are designed to help bridge this gap and grow the industry to its full potential.” Concludes Lyne.