I attended the DevPulseCon conference, held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif., on April 20 and 21. For readers already familiar with this event, you might be shaking your head, wondering if you read that right. Or maybe you’re thinking I got my events confused. Why would someone like me be going to the DevPulseCon conference? Admit it: you’re a little curious now, aren’t you? Read on, and I’ll explain.
The conference, which VMware sponsored, was one full day of technical talks and panel discussions followed by a second day of workshops. The technical talks included speakers from eBay and Mesosphere. Two of the tech talks covered open source software, including one that talked about how to assemble do-it-yourself IoT devices at home. The panel discussions were actually worth attending (not always the case at tech conferences).
The first workshop was about machine learning, and I successfully followed along on my own laptop and gained some experience actually playing with machine learning algorithms that I’d only heard about before, using the open source “pandas” library for Python. The second workshop was about the Clarity open source web framework, which I learned VMware had founded and continues to develop. I did not manage to follow along with this second workshop, but this was mainly due to my own “conference fatigue”, since paying complete attention for two days in a row is really difficult.
It was a quality tech conference. What makes it stand out further is that DevPulseCon is by and for women, primarily engineers and developers, so all of its speakers and (almost) all attendees are women. I am not a woman, but I was among a few men privileged to attend by special invitation from Rupa Dachere, the creator and director of DevPulseCon and founder and executive director of CodeChix, an all-volunteer 501(c)3 charity that educates advocates for women engineers in industry.
This is a grassroots event. There’s no tone-deaf messaging that must have originated from a corporate team trying to figure out how to market to women. I honestly expected to feel awkward at least a few times during the two days, as a man among hundreds of women, but in fact I felt comfortable and even welcomed. I made myself useful in a few small ways at event setup and teardown and by lending a few pieces of A/V equipment.
Based on attendance and quality, I expect DevPulseCon to keep going for years. For more about DevPulseCon, please see devpulsecon.squarespace.com, or listen to the podcast that Rupa and I recorded before the event, at ovsorbit.org/#e29. For more about CodeChix, see codechix.org.