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QCon New York 2018: What the Speakers Are Watching

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Article originally posted on InfoQ. Visit InfoQ

The 7th Annual QCon New York is just a week away. A major theme for this year’s conference is around successful lessons operating, managing, and debugging Microservice environments from companies like Google, Shopify, Square, IBM, Github, and Lyft.

The conference’s Schedule Builder allows registered attendees to plan their schedules across the conference’s three days. Looking at it you can see attendees’ most anticipated talks for this year’s conference. These talks include:

While nearly 90% of the attendees at QCon are individual contributors and architects, within that group are attendee personas ranging from site reliability engineers to java developers to software engineers working on data engineering pipelines. Those same personas are represented by conference speakers as well. We asked several of the conference speakers what they’re most looking forward to at QCon New York. Here’s some of what they said:

Personas

Lead Engineer (Go)

Kathryn Jonas is the lead engineer at The Economist. Her role there is leading the team responsible for digital delivery of the content platform. The team recently decomposed a monolithic CMS into a distributed, microservices architecture leveraging Go-lang.

“There’s a ton of great looking sessions, so hard to choose, but these would be some of my top choices”

Jonas is speaking on Friday at 10:35 am in the 21st Century Languages track. Her talk is called Digital Publishing for Scale: The Economist and Go, and she plans to dive into some of the pros and cons of using Go to decompose their monolith. In addition, she plans to discuss features of Go (such as concurrency) that enabled The Economist to move fast. “I want to share this experience, and talk about some interesting use cases, where using Go helped us. I would also like to highlight the use cases where it was not a good fit.”

Data Engineer

Mikhail Kourjanski (Lead Data Architect, Risk and Compliance Management Platform @PayPal) is responsible for PayPal’s real-time decisioning platform, including fraud prevention. Fraud Prevention alone saves PayPal $500M in annually.

As you might expect, the majority of Kourjanski’s time will be spent in the Practical Machine Learning track on Wednesday, in which he is speaking. In addition to the ML track, Kourjanski also plans to spend time in several of the microservice and serverless talks on Thursday and Friday.

Some of the top talks on his schedule include:

Kourjanski’s talk is on Wednesday June 27th at 11:50 am and is called ML Data Pipelines for Real-Time Fraud Prevention @PayPal. This talk builds on two previous talks Kourjanski gave at QCon San Francisco and at the inaugural QCon.ai that was held this past April. Some of the key lessons of this talk include understanding how real-time inference is supported with real-time streaming and an explanation of how PayPal organizes their data tier.

Senior Software Engineer / Chaos Engineer

Haley Tucker is a member of the Chaos Engineering team at Netflix. Her role is to verify resiliency of Netflix services. Before joining the Chaos Engineering team, Tucker was a service owner on the Playback Features team (the team responsible for what happens when users click play). She is a Java developer with experience in large-scale distributed systems.

The first talk on her list is Lyft’s Envoy: Embracing a Service Mesh by Matt Klein (SWE @Lyft & Creator of Envoy). “We have discussed leveraging a service mesh to move cross-cutting concerns out of client libraries yet still be able to do things like request-level Chaos experimentation, observability, request routing, etc. I’m interested to hear how Lyft’s experience was along with benefits/tradeoffs they’ve experienced.”

Other talks Tucker is considering for her personal schedule, include:

Tucker’s talk is on Friday June 29th and is called UNBREAKABLE: Learning to Bend But Not Break at Netflix. In this talk, attendees will learn how chaos experiments are a natural complement to unit, integration, and regression testing. Tucker says “Running chaos experiments can uncover problems which tests will miss due to differences in data in the production environment and customer behavior.”

Technical CTO / Senior Director

Jonas Bonér is the founder and CTO of Lightbend. He’s a long-term contributor to the Open Source community and is most recognizable for creating the Akka Project and the AspectWerkz AOP Compiler.

Like Tucker, Bonér’s first recommended talk is Lyft’s Envoy: Embracing a Service Mesh. “Envoy is at the heart of a lot of modern distributed architectures today, and I’m looking forward to learning more about the reasons for creating it, and how Lyft is using it, directly from Matt (the creator of Envoy) himself.”

Other talks Bonér is looking forward to include:

Bonér’s talk is on Thursday June 28th and is called Designing Events-First Microservices. In this talk, he explores the nature of events and what it means to be event driven. The talk contains practical tools and techniques in an events first approach to building microservices. The goal is to build distributed systems that increase certainty, resilience, scalability, traceability, and loose coupling. In short, this talk is about building systems with reduced risk.

Security/Director

Prior to joining Google in Infrastructure and Security, Witoff served as the Director of Infrastructure and Security at Coinbase where he developed modern, secure dockerized deployment pipelines that protected billions of dollars. Today at Google, Witoff is part of the team responsible for some of the security infrastructure.

On one of his top choices is “Breaking Codes, Designing Jets and Building Teams” by Randy Shoup. Witoff explained, “Randy is a legendary speaker, expert leader, and I always look forward to learning Randy’s latest insights on building great eng teams.”

Here are some of the rest of Witoff’s top QConNYC talks:

Witoff is a member of the QCon New York Program Committee that organizes QCon New York. Made up of technical engineering leaders, system programmers, and architects, the organizing committee met for upwards of 26 weeks to curate and plan this upcoming conference. Witoff will be leading a blockchain panel called Blockchain Ask The Experts Panel which features many of the blockchain speakers in a no holds barred discussion on blockchain and its application in software today.

Conclusion

There you have it: four different software leaders speaking at QCon and a few of their most anticipated talks of the conference. It’s worth noting that three of the four speakers chose How Machines Help Humans Root Cause Issues @Netflix by Seth Katz. This talk (also currently in the top 10 list for the most anticipated talks by attendees) discusses how automated root cause detection represents the holy grail goal for many systems monitoring tools and the steps Netflix is taking to move it closer to a reality.

QCon New York (June 27-29) is the annual three-day software conference held at New York’s second largest hotel, the Marriott Marquis. Designed for senior software engineering leaders, QCon features 138 speakers including software notables. like Matt Klein (the creator of Envoy), Jonas Bonér (creator of Akka), Joshua Bloch (Author of Effective Java, Led Design of Java Collection API, & Carnegie Mellon Professor), and Alex Holden (credited with the discovery of the largest security breach to date – Cybervor breach).

QCon New York 2018 will welcome over 900 attendees during the conference’s three days. One out of four are traveling from outside of the United States. Within the US, attendees come from 38 different states (with the largest concentration coming from New York, California, and New Jersey). The conference features 138 speakers from some of the world’s most recognizable software shops. Of note: 38% of those sessions highlight the work of women in software. The attendee-to-speaker ratio at QCon New York 2018 is expected to be 7-1.

QCon New York offers many choices for a variety of different personas. These recommended talks by leaders in the software community hopefully will help you navigate this year’s schedule.

Registration for QCon New York is still open. If you register before the full price goes into effect on June 24th, admission for the three-day conference is $2,575. If you missed this event, the next conference is QCon San Francisco and will be taking place November 5-7.

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