Chicago skyline at sunset from Lake Michigan

My time at GOTO Chicago

This year I was able to attend and speak at GOTO Chicago. It was a great experience, right in my own city!

There were amazing talks from people such as Joe Armstrong and Michael Feathers. There was something to offer everyone, in addition to the amazing views at Navy Pier.

At the beginning of the conference, Joe Armstrong gave a keynote on how what we tend to do in our day to day jobs is not “Computer Science”. He also gives some great tips on what we should know outside of computer science.

Joe Armstrong presenting his keynote

I enjoyed Evelina Gabasova’s talk where she used data science to look at StackOverflow data. With it she was able to see what things people spend more time asking questions about on the weekends verses during the week. Turns out people are developing video games in their free time!

Michael Feathers gave a talk on a new way to look at error handling. The traditional try/catch way of handling errors tends to break single responsibility. We can think of errors differently by expanding our domain to include them. This stuck out to me, as I recently spoke on treating errors as just another piece of data using functional programming on Android.

“Errors are just conditions we refuse to take seriously”

Another talk I liked was Jessica Kerr’s talk on automation, and having multiple languages in your tech stack. There are lots of things you need to consider when thinking about adding another language, or automation to your stack, so make sure you are prepared first. This talk was extra engaging as Jessica used a different medium for each section of her talk as imagery for her polyglot topic.

Slide from Jessica Kerr’s talk

The conference ended with a keynote from Kevlin Henney about how many of our “new” ideas are old ideas rephrased. For example TDD was used when developing AWK!

I was excited to be a speaker along with these great presenters. I gave a talk on the basics of Kotlin, and how you can use it on multiple platforms. Be watching for the video, technical difficulties and all! You can find the slides here, as they were not working for the full presentation.

New Kids on the Backend Block track

Over lunch the second day there were organized tables for open discussion. As I was speaking in the new backend languages track, I joined one of those tables. We had some great discussion on on different languages, in specific some of the comparisons of Kotlin. It was great to meet new people and hear their thoughts!

The sponsors must also be applauded. I had a great time walking around meeting people and learning about the different technologies. One that stuck out to many of us was Twillio. They brought along a barista where you could send an SMS to put in an order! A shout out also goes to the team of Spantree, as some of them helped me out as I had technical difficulties with my talk.

Latte ordered by SMS

My conference experience ended with a wonderful speaker dinner. We went on a dinner cruise over Lake Michigan, viewing the sunset over the Chicago skyline. There, we had great conversations, and ended the conference with good memories.

GOTO Chicago highlights notes

Overall, I had a great time, and I hope you consider attending in the future.