Track: Softskills: Essential Skills for Developers


Day of week:

We all want to be more effective - as individuals and as teams. Improving a technical skill such as learning a new programming technique or language can help, but those gains pale in comparison to the gains made when teams work more effectively together. Or even when an individual learns a more fundamental skill such as problem solving. What many might label "soft skills." Ironically, these so called "soft skills" are often the hardest to master. In this track, we'll introduce attendees to these set of skills that help lead individuals and teams to greatness.

Track Host:
Phil Haack
Director of Client Apps @GitHub and shipped ASP.NET MVC/NuGet
Phil Haack (yes, it's pronounced "hack") works at GitHub as the Director of Client Apps - a group that consists of the Desktop, Atom, Electron, and Editor Tools teams. Prior to GitHub, he was a Senior Program Manager at Microsoft responsible for shipping ASP.NET MVC and NuGet. These projects were released under open source licenses and helped served as examples to other teams for how to ship open source software. He regularly writes for his blog and tweets random observations on Twitter as @haacked. He also speaks at conferences here and there, and has quit writing technical books forever several times now.

Trackhost Interview

What types of projects and questions are you focused on?

What skills and practices lead to the most effective teams and individuals. I read a great quote on Twitter. Eventually, every API is deprecated, but humans are not. So let’s focus on the human element of software and learn how we can improve all aspects of building software, teams, and companies.

Who is your target persona?

Anyone who thinks of herself or himself as a technical leader, whether they’re a manager, an architect, a senior developer, or just interested in making their teams better.

What are you goals for the track?

To provide really great food for thought and information on how to improve ourselves, our teams, and our industry in concrete ways.

What do you want someone to leave from your track with?

At least one concrete idea on a way to significantly improve how they work or how their team works. Ideally, more than one. Also, people should walk away with inspiration and knowledge of where to go to follow-up and dig deeper on these ideas. They should have the seed for some great discussions at work. A lot of this knowledge is out there, but due to institutional inertia, a lot of companies neglect the huge benefits they could reap by implementing many of these practices. I hope someone walks away from this track and helps their company realize these benefits and in doing so perhaps inspire others to do the same in order to keep up.

10:35am - 11:25am

by Anjuan Simmons
Technical Program Manager @ Questback

Diversity and inclusion have become hot topics in technology, but you may not know how you can make a difference. This talk will help you understand that, no matter your background, you have privilege and can lend it to marginalized groups in tech.

11:50am - 12:40pm

Open Space
1:40pm - 2:30pm

by Alex Qin
Software Engineer, Educator and Founder of Code Cooperative

How do perceptions and stereotypes affect those in the programming community? This talk tells the true story of my physical transformation, and the surprising and drastic ways in which it affected how I was perceived and treated as a programmer. This new perspective allowed me to take a hard look at our community, and how it can at times be less welcoming and inclusive than we all intend it to be. This talk also covers the effects of unconscious bias, micro-...

2:55pm - 3:45pm

by Danielle Leong
Engineer on GitHub's Community and Safety Team

Online safety has become a huge problem in the world of oversharing. Real name policies, automatic geolocation tracking, and photo tagging increase user adoption rates, but these features can be quickly abused by bad actors. This talk will discuss how to apply a "consent filter" to product decisions to make a safer user experience and to help protect your most vulnerable users from harm.

4:10pm - 5:00pm

by Patrick Kua
Principal Consultant and Tech Lead @ThoughtWorks

As software architects, we often focus on the technical side to building software including key platform or design decisions, or finding reasons to use the latest and great technologies. We forget that software is built by people, and without considering how people work together, architectural visions are wasted. In this talk, we will explore why and how architects should care about well-functioning teams and look at the tools and techniques architects can use to build high-performance teams...

5:25pm - 6:15pm

by Meri Williams
CTO who understands the science around helping people do their best

Bringing agile approaches into how we manage people and lead teams can have wonderful, far-reaching impact. How do we get the most out of these new ways of working and also ensure that we create an inclusive environment where all types of people can be successful? In this session we’ll take a closer look at the science behind great people management, to figure out how to bring these together and craft space for everyone to be awesome.