Three days full of inspiration, learning, and networking.

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Devoxx is a series of conferences by the developer community for the developer community held in several different cities. DevoxxUK is held in Business Design Center, London, originally designed for agricultural shows. It is three intense days of learning, sharing, and networking. It consisted of 170+ sessions divided over ten different tracks. You can watch recordings of the sessions afterward on the conference’s YouTube channel.

The three keynotes all contained the idea that we will learn better by having fun while learning. By playing around and experimenting, we will learn things faster because we will be more motivated to learn more if we are having fun while learning. We can learn new things faster by experimenting and playing like children do when they try to learn things.

The Devoxx conferences are all about the community. It was extra special to be in the audience when Venkat Subramaniam got a lifetime achievement award from Oracle for everything he has done for the community. A community is all about learning and growing together. Venkat summarized this nicely by saying that he was trying to help others the way he has been, to pull people up.

In a presentation later the same day, the speaker talked about communities and his experience with them. He said, “Give a little, receive many times more.” You will get so much more back by being an active member.

Why should I go to a conference?

As a developer, it’s easy to stay in our comfort zones and only focus on the tasks ahead. Conferences are a great way to learn about new technologies and best practices. We have a chance to learn from industry leaders and can return home feeling motivated and inspired.

It also gives us opportunities to network and meet new people. We can form relationships and engage with the developer community. It gives us a chance to learn and grow together.

We often interact with people online. A conference is an opportunity to meet them face to face. Video conferencing and text messaging work quite well, but there is something special about meeting a person IRL.

I have been a long-time member of the Digma community and had the chance to meet Roni and Nir. They introduced me to one of their contacts in the observability community, somebody I would never have met otherwise.

A conference is not just about the presentations. Many things are going on in the hallways and on the exhibition floor. DevoxxUK was not an exception. You could try and beat the high score on one of the custom-made arcade machines. You could talk with the vendors and maybe get some swag. The official after-conference party, DevRoxx, was also an opportunity to meet and talk to people.

Get the most out of a conference

Developer conferences are vital events in the tech industry where professionals from around the world gather to learn new skills, network with peers, and stay up-to-date with the latest trends in technology. Attending a developer conference can be a valuable investment in career growth and personal development. It’s vital to prepare adequately to make the most out of your experience at a conference.

  1. Research the Conference:
    Before attending a conference, it is essential to research the event thoroughly. Look at keynote speakers, workshops, and sessions in the conference agenda. It will help you prioritize the talks and activities that are most relevant to your interests and career goals. Check out the list of sponsors and exhibitors to identify potential companies or tools you want to learn more about.
  2. Set Clear Objectives:
    Define clear objectives for attending the conference. Whether you want to learn a new programming language, network with industry experts, or explore job opportunities, having goals in mind will help you stay focused during the event. List your goals and tailor your conference experience to achieve them.
  3. Plan Your Schedule:
    Developer conferences typically feature simultaneous sessions, workshops, and networking opportunities. Plan your schedule by selecting the sessions you want to attend and creating a personalized itinerary. Leave some time for breaks, networking, and exploring the exhibition area. Prioritize the sessions that align with your goals and interests, but also be open to exploring new topics.
  4. Bring the Necessary Gear:
    Make sure to pack the essential gear you will need at the conference. It may include your laptop, chargers, business cards, notepads, pens, and other tools or devices. Developer conferences often involve long hours of sitting or walking around the venue, so make sure that you wear comfortable clothing and shoes.
  5. Network and Connect:
    One of the most valuable aspects of attending a conference is the opportunity to talk with like-minded professionals, industry leaders, and potential collaborators. Take the time to introduce yourself to people, engage in conversations, and exchange contact information. Attend networking events, social gatherings, and after-parties to expand your professional network.
  6. Stay Engaged and Participate:
    Stay engaged in the sessions and workshops by actively participating, asking questions, and sharing your thoughts during the conference. Take notes, capture insights, and follow up on any resources or tools mentioned. Be open to new ideas, perspectives, and technologies presented at the conference.
  7. Reflect and Follow-Up:
    Take some time to reflect on your experience and the knowledge gained after the conference. Review your notes, revisit the sessions you attended, and identify actionable takeaways to implement in your work or personal projects. Follow up with the contacts you made during the conference, connect on social media, and continue the conversations to build lasting relationships.

In conclusion, attending a developer conference can be a transformative experience that can enhance your skills, expand your knowledge, and open up new opportunities in your career. Be proactive, engaged, and curious. You will surely benefit from the unique insights and connections gained at the event.

Speaker at a conference

I was honored to be selected as a speaker at DevoxxUK and want to share my experiences as a beginner speaker. Hopefully, I might inspire you to try and speak at a conference.

The conference usually organizes some form of social event for the speakers, and DevoxxUK is no exception. We had a dinner on the evening before the conference started where we had a chance to meet and talk to the other speakers.

Chances are you will run into someone you have met before because there are not that many speakers. The more established speakers help to introduce you to their friends. It quickly makes you part of the group.

Speakers are generally open and welcoming because they want to make new connections, learn, and share with others. It’s all about the community and paying it forward.

Almost all the speakers I have met and talked to are more than willing to help others because they have gotten help from someone. It is also the main reason many of us are speaking at conferences. We have learned something that we think will benefit others and want to share it.

Make sure you engage with speakers who have delivered a presentation that helped you in any way. That is the best result a speaker can hope for and motivates us to continue to create presentations. It’s a great ice-breaker, allowing you to ask questions about specific challenges you might have.

Having a badge with the text “speaker” doesn’t make someone a different person. It can also be awkward for a speaker to start a conversation with, “Hi, my name is Markus. What do you want to ask me?” It’s easier for you to walk up to a speaker and say, “Hi, my name is Joe. I saw your presentation, and I want to ask you a question”.


Here are links to recordings of some sessions that gave me new insights. As mentioned, the conference had ten tracks, and I selected sessions according to my challenges. It will be easier to choose which session to attend by reflecting on your current challenges and trying to map those to the available presentations.

Extreme product owner
Extreme programming is no longer so extreme. Peter looks into which principles and practices we consider extreme today.

Effecting Change
Why is it so hard to implement changes? Venkat gives invaluable information about the challenge of effecting change and what we can do to lead teams in this transition.

Devoxx UK 2024: A Transformative Experience - image 11

Venkat given a reward from Sharat Chander, Oracle

How we decide
Andrew describes architecture decisions and how we as a team can become better at making them.

Making architecture continuous
Architecture is a flow of decisions, not something we define up-front.
Eoin presents five practices that will help us continuously deliver an evolving architecture.

Six impossible things
We try to define many things in software that can’t be represented correctly, for instance, time. Kevlin gave several fun examples of situations where this faulty representation has caused bugs.

How not to strangle your coworkers
There are three kinds of conflicts at work. Some are good, some are bad. Arthur explained how we get more good and less bad ones.

Aspiring speakers
The organizers’ excellent initiative provides aspiring speakers with the opportunity to present at an international conference. All the speakers are members of the London Java User Group. They have received mentorship from other members of the same group. It is a prime example of how a community can offer valuable support.


It was three days full of inspiration, learning, and networking. Some of my main takeaways are:

We should try to have fun and not be afraid to experiment when we learn something new. It might feel wrong, but we will learn faster that way.

Psychological safety in the team is vital for it to be effective. People must feel that it’s ok to make mistakes and to admit that they don’t know something. We can implement all the agile frameworks we want, but they won’t make a difference unless we have psychological safety. The best part is that we can build this in our teams.

If you are not already in a community, join one. You can provide a fresh perspective by using your unique experiences. It can help you with your challenges. A community will allow you to learn and grow together with like-minded people. Who knows, maybe it will be you on stage receiving a lifetime award for the work you have done for your community. You can pass on what you have learned.

**This post was contributed to the Digma blog by Markus Westergren. Watch our talk about OpenTelemetry and Continuous Feedback at Dexoxx Belgium 23.

P.S. Here are a few images from the conference, do you spot yourself?

Install Digma: Here

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