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Before I tell you about the conference, I’ll clarify the pride I feel for Media Suite, stepping up as a Diversity and Financial Aid Sponsor. We helped people attend a conference that they otherwise would not be able to attend. This sponsorship is core to our values, not something which needs a special case.

Right, about the conference.

The best part of nz.js(con); was seeing my colleagues who work remotely and forming the “nerd huddle”. Together we ate Korean BBQ, drank Wellington’s finest craft beer and ate the largest pizza I’ve ever met. I got to dive deep on some technical discussions which are at a different level to a chat or video call.

Media Suite's delegation in their matching branded t-shirts. So, so cool.
Media Suite’s delegation in their matching branded t-shirts. So, so cool.

Over two days, 32 talks were presented. There was something for everyone within the two tracks at the conference. One, focused more on the technical, another was more accessible.  In my opinion the non-technical talks were much more interesting.

Diversity, burn-out and mental health were recurring themes. It came through in multiple talks. One taught us how blameless culture can help your team learn and grow. Another, how you can build someone into a confident professional developer in six months.

Learning new ways to express these ideas was something incredibly valuable to get from this conference.

Image uploaded from iOS (1)
Queenstown Dev Jonathan with the biggest pizza I have ever met.

Two talks which really stood out to me were on personal projects that had grown and matured over the years.  One, about a digital audio workshop (think Fruityloops or Pro Tools). Another, an interactive exercise on algorithms, told through a story about a post-apocalyptic world ruled by rats (in a maze).

Seeing the passion of these people was inspiring and it brings me a lot of joy to see technology used in creative ways.  It blurs the line between technology and art. Choosing to recreate an existing tool is objectively crazy, but people still do it – it’s equal parts exciting and insane.

How can I sum up this experience? I learned a lot about myself.  I’m not that interested in the technical content at this conference. Everything presented was something which I would have learned about in my own development time. I learned that I should be playing more of a contributor role in the JavaScript community. Now I’m helping run the Christchurch JavaScript group, I hope that by building up the community I can play a part in growing our industry.
Beyond the conference and the learnings, sharing meals with a group of “suitees” (Media Suite people) was the best part of nz.js(con); and some of these colleagues I was meeting for the first time! Richie, you’re taller in person.

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