happy little biz

Web Unleashed Recap

So for the first time in my programming career, I attended a conference last week.

I'm not new to the world of conferences, having attended a couple as a massage therapist. But I have to say, tech conferences are a whole lot different from massage ones - for obvious and perhaps less obvious reasons.

Probably the most striking (but completely expected) difference was the number of women in attendance. The percentage of women who are massage therapists is about 80% of the profession, while the number of women in tech jobs is about 20%. So in other words, the gender makeup is completely flipped from one career to the other.

Certainly something to get used to! But, while we joked there were no lineups for the women's bathroom, this gender divide wasn't strongly noticed during this conference.

In fact, Web Unleashed (WebU14) was a very positive, supportive conference, which many people commented on. Great speakers, great conversations, no snark (that I was aware of). I met some great people, attended lots of really informative talks, and even won a free book.

In terms of the actual content, I have to say I learned a lot over the two days I attended!

I was careful to attend a variety of talks, since the type of work I do requires a fair bit of breadth, but not necessarily depth. So I went to several talks on JavaScript and JS Frameworks, talks on CSS and Sass, talks on mobile web, talks on user experience design, talks on improving speed and responsiveness, and talks on business development.

It's hard to pick a favourite talk! The business ones will be the most immediately applicable, but the JavaScript framework ones were the most fascinating from a technical perspective. Although I have to say, I was really surprised at how interesting Mark DiMarco's talk on User Interface Algorithms was. It covered the math and science behind some common UI/UX issues, such as pulldown menus that close too quickly when the user tries to navigate them, or how the heck the devs behind this made it work. Thanks Mark!

Looking forward to next year's WebU14!