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QCon New York 2016 : Sessions to consider, Day One

Got your QCon session schedule ready yet? If not, it’s worth making a plan to make sure you’re getting the most out of this conference that you possibly can.

Of course I recommend going to both of the Keynote talks: Incident Response: Trade-Offs Under Pressure and Engineering the Red Planet. But there are a lot of tracks and sessions to choose from in the meantime.

Here’s a sample schedule that takes you from the day’s first keynote to the last one. Be sure to view the full schedule and explore all your options, but these are the sessions that really stick out to me as either potentially very educational or simply just interesting.

The Netflix API Platform for Server-Side Scripting

10:35am, Salon D

Even the magicians at Netflix struggle with API management.

Katharina Probst is presenting this one — she’s the engineering manager at Netflix who leads their API team. She’ll be talking about how their taking their Groovy scripts and helping them pack up to live on their own in isolated containers while still communicating with their API via a data platform provider called Falcor.

While most of us don’t have to worry about streaming millions of people their favorite movies and shows, hopefully this will provide developers and architects some ideas about how they can solve some of the many challenges associated with building a truly cohesive API architecture.

Safe Systems Programming in C# and .NET

11:50am, Dumbo/Navy Yard

Joe Duffy, a director of engineering at Microsoft and former architect for the Midori OS, is leading this talk, and will dive into how he built an entire OS in a C# dialect. He also promises to go over things like garbage collection, low-level code quality and dealing with errors and concurrency robustly.

“I want to talk about the problems and how to solve them in C#,” Duffy said in an interview with QCon representatives. “A lot of it does come down to practices.  And the framework, it turns out, is as important as the language.

This one’s recommended for only those already working with C# or some other .NET language. Java coders: These are not the tips you’re looking for. Move along.

Data Science Meets Star Wars: The F#orce Awakens

1:40pm, Dumbo/Navy Yard

Like Star Wars? Like code? I think you’ll like this.

Evelina Gabasova, a machine learning researcher working in bioinformatics at Cambridge, is giving this talk. She will attempt to prove how easy it is to process large amounts of data using F# and R by using these languages to glean insights about the Star Wars franchise from public datasets.

“I want to make people aware that F# is a nice language for working with data,” Gabasova said in an interview with QCon representatives. “If you are doing any data science or machine learning, 95% of your time is spent getting data into a usable shape and I think F# is a great language for that.”

This talk seems like it’s definitely for those both working with and interested in working with F#. No word yet on whether Gabasova will be appearing in person or via hologram.

Your Org Should Think about Diversity, Yesterday

2:55pm, Salon C

This session will be presented by Swati Vauthrin, director of engineering at BuzzFeed, and she will discuss how focusing on creating a diverse software engineering team not only makes sense from a social perspective, but also from a business one.

“Not everybody fits the same mold, and I think that for us that’s been really powerful,” Vauthrin said in an official QCON interview. “It allowed us to think differently, to think about how we are engineering products differently.”

I picked out this session, because it’s easy to get wrapped up in the technology and forget that, at the end of the day, people are what matter. It may also be a healthy change in gears from the day’s more tech-heavy conversations.

Patterns and Practices for Cloud-Based Microservices

4:10pm, Dumbo/Navy Yard

You can’t have a truly complete day at a software development conference without at least a little dose of microservices.

Rachel Reese is a senior software engineer at Jet, a spunky startup set on competing with Amazon. She’s going to show us what the team at Jet has done with microservices in the .NET space (F# and Azure). But don’t let the .NET focus keep you from attending this session — it’s really for anyone interested at all in microservices.

“The most important takeaway is, if you already have microservices, consider going home and fix or change what you do into something better.” Reese said in a QCon interview. “For the folks who aren’t there yet, it’s encouraging you to be more aware of what you are getting into.”

Handling Streaming Data in Spotify Using the Cloud

5:25pm, Salon E

If you don’t use Spotify, I’m willing to bet you know someone who does. But did you know they nearly reached their limit when it came to data streaming? To handle their growing data rate of 60 billion events per day, their engineers had to figure out how they were going to successfully scale the event delivery system with Spotify’s growth before disaster struck.

Neville Li is a software engineer at Spotify who works mainly on data infrastructure for machine learning and advanced analytics.  He’s going to explain how they leveraged the new event delivery system on Google Cloud Pubsub and Google Cloud Dataflow to meet their scaling needs. Li will explain the lessons they learned from dealing with this data streaming issue, including why the cloud matters. He’ll also talk about Scio, a high level Scala API for the Dataflow SDK that made it easier to use.

This talk is a little technology heavy, but any engineers struggling with data streaming issues and trying to simplify things and reduce operational burdens should get something out of it.

Now it’s time for a day two schedule.

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Nice write up. I'm glad the interviews were helpful. Excited for a great conference.
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