YOW!Perth, an annual conference held in September, brings together technology professionals for two days of knowledge-sharing and networking. It’s a great opportunity to hear from industry experts and leaders and to dive into the latest technology trends. I attended both days and have included some highlights below.
YOW!Perth is a tech conference that “brings together internationally recognised experts and developers to encourage excellence and innovation in the APAC centered technology community.”
- YOW! Conferences
Fun fact: ‘YOW’ is not an acronym. Originally the conference was called ‘JAOO’ which stood for Java and Object Oriented languages, but after hearing various attempts at saying that with an Australian accent, they decided to change it to 'YOW'.
Conferences in general are a great way to find out what the latest trends are in the industry. I found that this year the trends across the talks were focused on ‘soft skills’ and concepts rather than any particular technology, which was refreshing. The topics that stood out for me were:
- the importance of simplicity in architectural design to avoid common pitfalls (like over-engineering/over-complicating solutions),
- managing cognitive load and context switching,
- and awareness of and managing bias.
Of course, there was one AI talk, which was a pretty fun bedtime story generator. It was a great example used to discuss common ‘things to keep in mind’ regarding AI.
If I could only choose one of the presentations to recommend, it would be “Cultivating Instinct” by Katrina Owen. Katrina’s talk was about the difference between experts and novices (with a focus on development, but the concepts can relate regardless of field), and how perceptual learning and other training methods of growing intuition can be used to bridge that gap.
Another talk that I enjoyed was “Is Software Engineering Real Engineering?” by Hillel Wayne. Hillel’s talk was an examination of what engineering is, by comparing software engineering with a variety of other engineering disciplines. By doing so he can contrast, compare, and ultimately explore what engineering truly is and what lessons can be learned in the process.
(When the videos are released online, I’ll update here with the links.)
As always there was the ‘hallway track’. Sometimes known as the most important track, it was the area with refreshments and booths from the sponsors that allowed attendees to find out more about both the sponsors and others around them. Meeting up with old friends and making new connections, I do have to give a shout-out to the organisers for creating such a friendly and welcoming environment for everyone. In particular, I like their use of the ‘Pac-Man’ rule: “When standing as a group of people, always leave room for 1 person to join your group.” This rule made it much easier to join in with existing conversations, so I hope future conferences will continue to use it.
“The future is already here - it's just not evenly distributed”
— William Gibson
YOW!Perth 2023 was a testament to the ever-evolving world of technology. The concepts covered felt apt, and as always I have far too many ideas for projects inspired by the presentations. Conferences are a great way to hear new perspectives and YOW!Perth delivered on that front. Here’s hoping I can attend again next year!