This November, over 250 talented techies will gather in the historic city of Kilkenny for Europe’s key conference on Node.js. NodeConf EU is organised by the pioneering tech company NearForm, and since its inception has been attracting the best speakers and experts in the industry. Ahead of this year’s event, we caught up with Paul Savage, COO of NearForm, to find out more.
A Space to Problem-Solve
The event typically sells out quickly, but its popularity hasn’t pushed the team to make it bigger; the smaller crowd is part of its appeal. “We try to restrict Node to 250 devs,” Paul begins. “This small size means you actually have the chance to meet everybody, and if your company has a specific challenge, there will be an expert you can connect with who will be able to help.” The conference has an egalitarian attitude; there are no VIPs, which makes it a great place to problem-solve. The event’s intimate location – the beautiful Lyrath Estate – makes it easy to network and talk to the various experts in attendance.
An Excellent Speaker Line-up
The event’s dedicated focus on tech can be seen in everything from the speaker line-up to the badge itself. “You can actually use Node to connect to your badge interface,” Paul explains, About 50% of attendees are developers, and the 30 speakers are hand-picked based on their contribution and level of innovation within the community. “You have newer companies like Netflix, traditional thought leaders like IBM, and cloud providers like Microsoft,” says Paul. “They all present from different angles. The profile of speaker tends to be people who are actively working with this technology day-to-day, people from big brands who are using Node very well.”
Keeping it Practical
As well as talks, there’s also a variety of hands-on workshops taking place over the course of the event, led by experts from companies like NearForm and Google. “Node itself is an opensource platform,” notes Paul. “So we run workshops to help people understand how to take part.”
Of course, it’s not ‘all work and no play’! There are lots of great social activities planned over the course of the event, including traditional Irish storytelling, a visit to a whiskey distillery and a gala dinner. These events are brilliant chances to network with other attendees, and of course, have some fun.
The Irish Tech Scene
Node itself is a relatively new platform, but it’s quickly been adopted by almost every major tech company in the world. In Ireland, the Node.js scene is strong. “A couple of things happened when the tech was built that meant Ireland kind of jumped ahead in the scene,” says Paul. “If you go back three or four years, the main concentration of Node devs was a group in San Fran, New York and Ireland. It was quite extraordinary how many devs we had working with these technologies early on, and it’s great to be ahead now.”
Passionate About Node?
Make sure to keep an eye out for next year’s NodeConf. In the meantime, if you’re moving to Dublin, you should check out the Node.js meetup. This group has been running for four years, and is still going strong with over 2,000 passionate Noders meeting every month for talks over free beer and pizza.