One of our code coaches, Che, recently had the opportunity to attend DevConf JHB. Here’s how he experienced the day and his thoughts on why aspiring young devs should jump at the chance to attend tech events like these. 

A Day Packed with Insights, Inspiration, and Career Journeys

DevConf JHB 2024 delivered a whirlwind of excitement, knowledge, and inspiration, leaving me spoilt for choice with over 35 speakers across 5 venues and 3 master classes. From insightful keynote speeches to personal career journeys, the event encapsulated the essence of growth and transformation within the tech industry. Let’s delve into some of the highlights from this action-packed day.

Keynote Insights: Embracing the PDI Model

The day commenced with an enlightening keynote speech by John Kamara, founder and CEO of Adanian Labs. Kamara introduced the PDI model – People, Data, Infrastructure – emphasising the pivotal role of human capital in driving digital transformation. He eloquently articulated how companies transition from analog to digital, leveraging data to achieve exponential growth. Kamara’s poignant message resonated with the audience, underlining the strategic imperative of data transformation and the need to prioritize people in the digital age.

From Call Centre to Codebase: Richard Sithole’s Inspiring Journey

Among the plethora of speeches, Richard Sithole’s narrative stood out to me as a beacon of inspiration. As the Frontend Lead Developer at Optimal Systems, Sithole shared his remarkable journey from humble beginnings in rural Limpopo to his current role in the tech industry. His story epitomizes resilience, determination, and the power of continuous learning.

Sithole’s journey was marked by challenges and setbacks, yet his unwavering commitment to personal growth propelled him forward. Despite facing adversity after his father’s passing, Sithole embarked on a journey of self-improvement, juggling work and education. His pursuit of knowledge led him to obtain degrees in informatics and accounting, showcasing the importance of lifelong learning in shaping one’s career path.

Throughout his journey, Sithole emphasised the value of mentorship and support structures. His encounter with a mentor proved instrumental in guiding his career trajectory, underscoring the significance of seeking guidance from experienced professionals. Sithole’s tenacity and passion for learning eventually led him to transition into the tech industry, where he embarked on a transformative journey from call centre agent to front-end lead developer.

Sithole’s story serves as a testament to the adage, “Begin with the end in mind.” His perseverance, coupled with a relentless pursuit of excellence, enabled him to overcome obstacles and carve out a successful career in technology. As he continues to evolve in his role, Sithole embodies the spirit of continuous growth and adaptation, epitomising the ethos of DevConf JHB 2024.

Unlocking Opportunities for Aspiring Devs: The Value of Developer Events

For CodeSpace students and junior developers, attending events like DevConf JHB 2024 presents a myriad of opportunities for growth and development. Beyond the insightful speeches and technical workshops, these events serve as invaluable platforms for networking and connecting with the wider South African tech industry. Engaging with industry professionals, exchanging ideas, and forging meaningful connections can open doors to mentorship, internships, and job opportunities. Moreover, interacting with peers and seasoned professionals fosters a sense of community and support, empowering aspiring developers to navigate their career paths with confidence and resilience.

While events like DevConf JHB may come with a price tag, it’s essential to note that there are other similar gatherings that are free to attend. These include meet-ups, hackathons, and community-driven events that offer a wealth of knowledge and networking opportunities without financial barriers. By exploring these alternative avenues, you can access valuable resources and insights, regardless of your budget constraints. Whether attending a paid conference or a free meet-up, the key lies in seizing every opportunity to learn, connect, and grow within the dynamic landscape of the South African tech industry.

Sponsor Expos: A Glimpse into Industry Innovations

In addition to the enriching speeches, I had the opportunity to explore sponsor expos featuring leading companies such as OfferZen, PayStack, Valr, and BBD. These expos provided insights into the latest innovations and offerings within the tech landscape, highlighting the diverse opportunities available to developers.

The immersive experience offered by the sponsor expos allowed us to engage directly with industry experts, gain valuable insights, and explore potential career pathways. From networking opportunities to product demonstrations, the sponsor expos added an interactive dimension to the event, fostering collaboration and knowledge exchange.

Empowering Minds, Igniting Futures

DevConf JHB 2024 was more than just a conference; it was a celebration of innovation, diversity, and the limitless potential of the human spirit. From thought-provoking keynotes to personal anecdotes of triumph and resilience, the event encapsulated the essence of transformation within the tech industry.

As I reflect on the insights gleaned and connections forged, I carry away a renewed sense of purpose and inspiration. Armed with knowledge, determination, and a vision for the future, I’m poised to embark on my own journey of growth and discovery, shaping the future of technology and beyond.