Barcelona

Joe and JV enjoying the fresh air in Barcelona

Co-written by Joe Chambers and JV Estolas

As engineers, we’re encouraged to hone our skills and challenge ourselves in our work. To do this, CoverHound offers us an ample education budget to use towards courses and conferences that we believe will help us (and the company) further our professional development.

After doing some research, we learned about an engineering opportunity in Barcelona. We believed Full Stack Fest would help us strengthen our understanding in the field. The conference promised attendees fresh ideas, networking opportunities, and news and lessons on the latest engineering trends.

With a focus on web development, Full Stack Fest proved to be a fast-paced and enlightening conference. The technology conference brings developers and engineers together to discuss and share the latest trends and developments in tech. This year’s theme was “Problems of today, wonders of the future.”

The conference was split into two segments: back-end and front-end. The back-end talks were broad in scope. Presentations focused on decentralized networks, serverless architecture, and the human component of data security, just to name a few.

As engineers focused on full-stack development, we were most excited about the front-end lectures. Like the back-end talks, the front-end presentations touched on a variety of topics. A few of our personal favorites included PRPL development methodology, the trending React framework and web virtual & augmented reality.

It wasn’t easy narrowing down what a handful of our favorite experiences were. To give you just a taste, here are five that we believe offer a unique tech perspective.

Adrian Cole — An Introduction to Distributed Tracing and Zipkin

Mr. Cole gave a great introduction to distributed tracing. Using easy-to-follow examples, Adrian laid a clear foundation in how to utilize logging, metrics, and tracing. Adrian demonstrated how they can be used together to achieve an observable system. We’ve already begun applying the teachings from this talk in our work at CoverHound.

James Burns — Practical Distributed Systems

Through chaos engineering, Mr. Burns offered a more proactive way to breed reliability into complex systems without customer impact. Many times, failure of a complex system is learned and made robust at the expense of the customer. Chaos engineering allows engineers to break coding purposely in a controlled environment where engineers can practice recovery. Weak points found during the trial are then flushed out and reprioritized in the next. Using examples and storytelling, James entertained and educated his audience all at once.

Ben Foxall — Making  A Lot of Things

Mr. Foxall reminded the audience about learning and the nuances of the creative process. Ben centered his talk around engineers needing to "be proud of the things we make," no matter how seemingly small or half-baked. Ben ended his talk with a slide containing a single, minuscule pink box. He mentioned it took him eight hours to make using WebGL. The applause was one of the loudest we heard at the conference.

Kelsey Breseman — Smart Grid: How IoT Fights Climate Change

Who knew you could address climate change using internet-connected devices? Ms. Breseman offered insight on IoT enabled devices and how they could be used as “smart batteries.” These smart batteries would store surplus electricity from power plants in a nation that’s shifting towards clean and renewable energy sources. The U.S. relies on the constant spinning of wind turbines to help power our electrical systems. Should the synced wind turbines go down, Kelsey says our power grids will too. Smart batteries would help alleviate that problem.

Sarah Drasner — SVG Can Do That?!

Simply put, Sarah Drasner is a treasure trove of information. She has a profound knowledge of images, animation, and CSS. Her talk and demos about optimizing and exploiting the capabilities of SVGs and animating them were awe inspiring. We were familiar with Sarah’s work prior to listening to her speak at the conference. She has published numerous articles relating to CSS, its uses and how to use it. Her talk was beyond impressive.

Thanks to CoverHound’s generous support, we were able to attend Full Stack Fest 2017. Working for a company that promotes learning, self-improvement and workplace culture help us to do our best work. Thank you, CoverHound!

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