Encouraging Open Source

When I first started in tech, one of my main goals was to eventually speak at a conference.

I applied to a lot of conferences with random ideas about stuff I was interested in, like exploring if programming uses the same part of your brain as learning a foreign language does. These ideas largely didn’t line up with the themes of the conferences for which I was applying, but I did speak at a few meetups. I realized I lacked the confidence to dive into a more technical talk until recently, and that these random proposals were a way of avoiding doing technical talks. I’ve been moving more in that direction of late, but I’m doing another “soft” talk next week that I’m really looking forward to.

We have a pretty big conference here called All Things Open, which is focused on Open Source Software, or as they say — “a conference exploring Open Source, Open Tech, and the Open Web happening in downtown Raleigh NC.” This year saw my first attempts at contributing to Open Source, with a few successful PRs. I figured I might have something to say, so I applied and was accepted. Pretty exciting!

“empty chairs in theater” by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash i.e. hopefully the opposite of what i’ll see

The core of my talk is about positioning yourself to receive and give the most benefit to and from OSS projects. If you’re interested, you can find the slides here.

All that to say, I spent most of Labs on Friday running through my presentation and making last-minute edits to my slides. I’m really looking forward to the conference and, above all, hope that the people who hear my talk find it helpful and inspiring. I’m looking forward to absorbing some good material myself.

I didn’t intend this, but this post also dovetails nicely with my post from last week about teaching. My talk at ATO and my afternoon last week at Momentum both have the same principle at their core: making this field less intimidating, especially for those who are new to it. It’s something that matters a lot to me, especially because I’ve always appreciated when others have done the same.

I can see this becoming a driving force in my career, and I’m looking forward to continuing to encourage others through teaching, speaking and creating content.