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Heather Thacker
Heather Thacker

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A case for conferences

As a software engineer, here are three areas of focus: continuous learning, community, and challenging comforts. This year, I attended three tech conferences within driving distance. RenderATL, All Things Open, and Connect.Tech were playgrounds for fostering a sense of belonging within my career.

As remote working continues to thrive, we need to keep getting together to talk about tech. We need conferences to provide safe, diverse, supportive, educational spaces to relax and relate with each other.

Continuous learning
Success is as sharp as one's skills, and as the landscape continuously changes, so does one's toolbox. The beauty of conferences is a buffet of topics and tracks to glean knowledge and inspiration from. I gathered information about advanced typescript, edge computing, performant css, and decentralized information. Because of the conferences, I've gained understanding of frameworks through live coded presentations, and could chat with the speakers afterward.

Success is supported by numbers, and we need each other to have fun and get through the difficult times together. Conferences are best served through cultivating a sense of belonging, that tech is welcoming to everyone, especially you. The atmosphere is set on a common ground of interests, and that gathering is magical. Over the year, I've joined a few discord servers, where I've made friends that attended the same conferences. Outside of the technical topics is the humanness that is nurtured through shared meals and music.

Challenging comforts
Success is sitting with discomfort, and finding reasons to stay. There are always moments of wondering what to say or where to go next. There are moments where I don't understand where a conversation is going or what the topic is exploring. This is where learning happens, how I sparked interest in other frameworks, architectures, and paradigms. This is where I learned that my career in tech is sustainable in the right environments.

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