There were actually several jobs I wanted to do. It started with being a radio host. I actually build a small and illegal radio station and me and my friend were kind of famous in our home town. After a while I got attracted by the technology so I wanted to be an electrical engineer to develop and innovate how information can be transmitted. I recognized that the hardware part wasn’t too much my thing but I totally got attracted by writing software and the ability to change the behavior of a system by just writing a single line of code. That was mid-90s. All of this lead me to my first real job as a programmer, later team lead and today I combine my old radio host experience with my programming and team experience to talk at conferences.
I think conferences are a great way to recognize new trends. You can’t learn a new technology from a 60 minute talk, but you get an idea whether it’s relevant for your work. It’s good to get out of your daily routine and see what other companies and programmers are doing to create better software. The most interesting part of a conference are the hallway conversations. You can discuss problems you have, you get answers directly and you build relationships that can be important for you and your career.
I personally like small regional conferences. I know from several organizers that it is hard to convince technology experts to come to town and give a talk. With the strong Devoxx brand it is easier for Voxxed Days organizers to invite those speakers to their local community. I personally like to go to this smaller events because I’m feeling closer to the audience.
I can’t call out one thing here: I think always it’s kind of crazy how software has changed the industry. I remember my first project was a GPS guiding system for large vessels. I couldn’t really believe that ship captains relied on my lines of code to steer their huge vessels through canals. Nowadays when I talk to Atlassian customers I always think it’s awesome what those people are doing with the help of our tools: Testing software for Mars robots, building next generation electrical cars or help deaf children to hear. It’s so great to be part of this technical revolution.