a personal blog for Jamey Alea

Conf Report: MongoDB World 2017

July 1, 2017 Jamey Alea 1 Comment

Attending MongoDB World in Chicago last week was a series of firsts for me. It was the first time I was specifically sought out and invited to attend a conference as a speaker. It was the first debut of two new talks that I had been working on for several months. In fact, it was my first time giving a technical talk! And it was my first time in Chicago as an adult. Naturally, I was excited to make the trip but also had some nerves about all these new experiences.

I was actually a little bit hesitant to go to MDBW at first. After all, although I’ve used Mongo in the past at my old job, I’m not a current user and I was worried about attending as a speaker when I don’t feel like an expert. Ultimately, I ended up deciding to go for a couple of big reasons. First of all, MDBW has a feature called the Women and Trans Coders Lounge, which is a safe space for women and trans people in the industry to hang out, eat together and network. I loved the idea of the WTC lounge so much that I decided it was important to me to attend and speak there! I was also really excited about the opportunity to try out my new talks – one focusing on ethics and one technical talk. This event marked the first time I attended a conference as a presenter and didn’t talk about the transgender community at all, which I felt really good about. Even though I like doing trans advocacy, I do a lot of other things as well and I’m a talented programmer and I was really happy for the chance to show that off too!

Even though I was nervous, I’m happy to report that both my talks went really well! My first talk, Lessons in Ethical Developments I Learned From Star Wars, was about engineering ethics and the potential unintended consequences of the work we do as developers, told through the lens of the engineers who built the Death Star. I’ve been looking forward to giving this talk for a long time now and I was really happy with the way people engaged with it. Ethics are a tough thing to talk about and I think relating it to Star Wars makes it a lot easier to swallow.

The next day, my technical talk was called Developing Apps for Developing Countries, and it was about the unique challenges that are involved with writing software for use in the third world. I got to talk about the balance between technical constraints and how we solved them in code, as well as non-technical constraints and how we had to employ more creative thinking to solve them!

I was also really pleased to sit down with Jay, a developer advocate at Mongo, to chat a little bit about my talks, my time at the conference and my thoughts on diversity and inclusion in our industry. You can watch that interview here!

Besides everything I was working on, I also had a really good time! The Women and Trans Coders Lounge was an awesome place to hang out and to meet some really amazing ladies in tech. (I wish there had been a bit more of a trans presence, though!) Mongo really knows how to throw a good party and I met a ton of really awesome, talented and fun people! And we found a rooftop bar!

Plus, I was able to take a little time to explore Chicago and I had a great time in a great city! I got to try real deep dish pizza, I rode a boat down the river for an architectural tour and I visited the Museum of Contemporary Art!

Thanks so much to MongoDB for inviting me and thanks to everyone who was there for making it a great time!

#chicago#conf report#conferences#events#illinois#mongodb world

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  1. Dina
    July 1, 2017 - 11:24 pm

    So glad to have you. Caught your second talk. It was greAt!

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