CompCon 2016

Over the weekend I was fortunate enough to be accepted to speak at CompCon 2016. My talk was about the ways in which people can effectively prioritize what to learn in the IT industry, I'm in the process of writing some blog material that covers the talk topic but in more depth. Hopefully the talk video is uploaded, if it is I'll link to it here. You can find the slides on the GitHub slides repository. I also uploaded to GitHub the code that was used to make the knowledge hierarchy diagrams found in the talk.

I liked this conference because of the varied demographics of the attendees. It's been super interesting to meet with both students and industry professionals as it has given me a better understanding of the state of the industry in Australia. There were a number of very interesting talks and workshops at the conference.

CompCon 2016 logo

Some highlights

Here's a few conference highlights in no particular order.

Conference dinner

Had a great night and met a whole bunch of really awesome people. Hoping to stay in touch with many people from the event.

Ash Guy's talk about design tips for developers.

Very good summary of useful techniques for improving the design of your products. In particular I really liked the concept of getting a style guide together sooner rather than later so that design and branding can be more consistent.

I also liked the various practical advice regarding color blindness accessibility and the use of gradients.

LRparsing workshop

Great introduction to the library. Having the library author there to ask questions was amazing because I could ask some specific questions and get immediate high quality feedback. I'm now very strongly considering migrating an existing project over to LRparsing because it's significantly more performant and has great documentation.

Always nice when a workshop shows you a fantastic library that can make life easier for your team.

Jacinta's talk about IT industry

Good advice for new graduates entering the IT industry. I think many of the students in the audience stood to gain from this wisdom found in this talk.

RobN's p@sswords talk

Humorously I thought this talk was called "a history of [password protected]" as the text was rendered this way in my browser. Often I'd wonder if that was an email address, but seeing as Rob runs an email company I figured it was likely he was actually talking about email spam prevention techniques. We found this quite quite funny afterwards, a overzealous regex mistook "p@ssword" in the title for an email address and substituted email harvesting prevention javascript.

The talk gave a history of passwords and was a great introduction to why password security matters. The discussions over lunch from this talk have inspired me to write a blog post about the game theory for security. Essentially there's a lot more to this than it initially appears, there were some very interesting discussions of the way in which security considerations impact on the prestige and reputation of companies along with other considerations. There are other less obvious considerations too, I'll go into more detail in my blog post on this.

Rust Workshop

Good introduction to the Rust language, this was the first time I wrote some Rust code. I must admit I like what I see with Rust, it's a systems programming language that does address some serious shortcomings found in other languages. It appears to have enough expressiveness to be very useful while not being as bloated as say C++.

Clinton Roy's talk on open source careers

Definitely an interesting reminder of the open source based career options that are open to people. I'm pleasantly surprised by how much uptake of open source ideas in Australia while I was away. This also was reflected in the "The Digital Service Standard: building useful services, in government and elsewhere" talk, good to see that the Australian government is working on some open source code to both reduce internal costs and also open up the code to the taxpayers who funded it.