2018 Sessions

The Future of Product Development: Fostering Innovation with Multi-Disciplinary Expertise

Keynote Presentation

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Building a successful tech company requires that a group of people with unique combination of skills and backgrounds work together towards a common goal. Our teams must reflect our users and customers: cross-functional, diverse, and always changing. As a product leader, I collaborate with experts from engineering, design, project management, marketing, sales, and customer success. This talk will outline my journey and tech, and share some of the lessons I've learned about building successful teams and winning products.




Introduction to Git


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Nathaniel Woodthorpe
Platform Engineer || GitHub

What's a 'commit'? What's a merge and how does it work? How do you resolve merge conflicts? These questions and more will be answered in this introduction to Git and GitHub. This session will show how these tools can be used to improve developer productivity and assist in project collaboration. Attendees will learn to work with local Git repositories, work collaboratively with others on Git projects, and contribute to open source projects on GitHub.

Requirements: No prior experience with software development or Git is required.

Slithering into Our Hearts: How Battlesnake Made us Better Developers



Erika Burdon 
Software Developer ||  Redbrick

Scott Small
Architect || Redbrick

 From a weekly quiz on Slack, to in-house tournaments, bitter rivalries, and a themed Hack Week, the annual Battlesnake AI contest has become a big part of the engineering culture at local tech company, Redbrick. Join Scott Small and Erika Burdon as they share the story of how Battlesnake slithered its way into their hearts and made them better developers. You'll also discover what it takes to build an unapologetically tough Bounty Snake. With a 42-3 record in 2017 and a 71-3 record in 2018, the Redbrick Robosnake has earned a reputation for being one of the most challenging Bounty Snakes in the contest. In this talk, Erika and Scott will share the story of their snake's conception, evolution, and influence. They’ll break down its algorithm (Minimax), heuristic, and explain the reasoning behind their design choices. Next, they’ll walk through the bug that caused them to lose early in the 2018 Championship Bracket. Finally, they'll demonstrate the custom game board server and logging tool they wrote to test their snakes.

Requirements: None (but familiarity with Battlesnake is a plus!)

Fluid Page Layouts with Flexbox


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Laura Cooper
Senior Web Developer || VERB Interactive

Learn how to harness the fluid power of CSS Flexbox (Flexible Box) to quickly and easily create page layouts that evolve and adapt to all screen sizes and devices. In this workshop, Laura will explore the various Flexbox properties and how you can use them to achieve things like vertical and horizontal centering, responsive grids, and aligning items of various sizes with equal spacing. By the end of the workshop, you will have created a simple, 1-page website using the concepts learned.

Requirements: Laptop with Chrome browser; Sublime Text, Atom, or code editor of your choice

Your New Studio: A Code Walkthrough of Android Studio


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Kim Dillon
Android Junior Developer and QA Analyst

Follow along while Kim live-codes her way through a basic app in Android Studio. This workshop will be a more detailed explanation than a quick-start, with the opportunity to ask questions in real-time. Learn about common mistakes and how to avoid them in your own projects. Please download Android Studio well before the workshop.

Requirements: A laptop with Android Studio installed in advance!  An Android phone (optional).


advanced & professional tech


Building and Running Applications on Kubernetes


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Vallery Lancey
Lead DevOps Engineer || Checkfront

This session will cover how to effectively run applications in Kubernetes, a cloud deployment platform. You'll learn how to prepare & deploy apps, manage application data, make cloud apps easily observable, and the basics of managing a cluster. This session will primarily be a lecture but will be driven by a demo, with posted resources to allow the audience to follow along or re-create later.

Requirements: To follow along with the demo, participants will require Docker, kubectl, and a working Kubernetes cluster. Google Kubernetes Engine is a simple way to create one, and offers a free trial: https://cloud.google.com/kubernetes-engine

Making a blazing fast Python server in the age of Node and Go


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Chris Pouliot
Platform Developer || Sendwithus

In this session, you will learn how to make a highly performant application using Python. We'll load test our server to see the performance difference between multiple Python web frameworks, as well as against other applications in languages such as Go and Node. We'll cover topics such as event loops, distributed systems, and how to manage performance at scale.

Requirements: Some knowledge of concurrent vs sequential processing, knowledge of how a server works

GraphQL for Fun & Profit


Izaak Schroeder
Engineer || MetaLab

Take a whirlwind tour through GraphQL – learn about queries, mutations, subscriptions, resolvers, schemas, and more, by building out a simple GraphQL API service. We'll cover why GraphQL came to be, why it's becoming popular, and where existing API structures (JSON-API, SOAP, etc.) have failed. We'll look at how we can use GraphQL to make querying complex relationships or heterogeneous data sources easy. And we'll see how to connect our service to a simple application.

Requirements: A modern web browser. For take-home you'll want a recent version of nodejs.

Docker - All aboard the container ship to confident deploys!


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Jaimie Imrie
Core Services Developer || Telmediq

Production deploys can be scary. Scripted deploys using your production hosts can result in avoidable downtime due to broken dependencies, network outages, and broken code. Using experiences from Telmediq, Jaimie will talk about the pitfalls of building dependencies at deploy time, and how doing it beforehand adds an extra layer of confidence that your code is production-ready.

Our Docker journey will start by cloning an already-built Python RESTful service. Using this service, we’ll identify the project requirements and test dependencies we need to successfully create a Docker image. Then we’ll create a Dockerfile that describes the image for our service, and cover a few important docker commands and how they can be used to debug and identify problems with your container. Once our image is built, we will then dive into docker-compose and adding external service dependencies, like databases and redis.

Requirements: You will need to install Docker and Sublime Text. You will also need to clone the workshop project (additional instructions in readme.md).



BCom to Business Systems: How I Hacked a Career in Tech Startups


Eve Olynyk
Marketing Automation Specialist || Sendwithus

This session will cover Eve's journey from BCom at UVic to her current role as Marketing Automation Specialist at Sendwithus, including some of the strategies she used to navigate her way into a full-time position. She will also discuss some of the specifics of her role, providing helpful insight to current or recently graduated students looking to land a non-programming, non-sales role with a tech startup.

Requirements: While there are no hard requirements, this session is geared towards non-technical students and will assume a basic understanding of marketing and sales terminology.

Purpose, Vision and Values -- How they help define and focus your business and hiring needs


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Tim Teh
CEO || Kano

Magda Rajkowski
People Ops Manager || Kano

Kano, formerly known as Kano/Apps and the 2018 VIATEC Award winner for Company of the Year, is a local game company founded by three UVic grads 10 years ago. Tim and Magda will be discussing the lifecycle of a business, from inception to expansion, and the changes along the way. Using the Kano story as a reference, they’ll talk about their own team's growth and how they use the company vision and values to help their people focus on what's important to work on and how. The way Kano functioned 10 years ago was very different to the way it works today, and the type of employee that may have rocked the first days of a startup may be very different from what an established business needs. This “lecture” will be more like a conversation between Tim and Magda, with Q & A greatly encouraged from the audience. If you’re looking to work in games or tech, want some hiring or interview tips, or are thinking about how to find the best employees for your startup, this may be the session for you!

Requirements: None

+1 Agility: How an Agile Mindset can Help Rapidly Grow your Business Idea


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Andrew MacLean
Co-Founder of the HighTechU Project

In the world of modern software development, the “ability to be agile” is often seen as a fundamental component of market success, with major players like Microsoft, Apple, and Google all adopting agile methodologies across their companies. Even non-tech organizations like National Public Radio (NPR) in the US and Canada Post here at home have begun adopting agile frameworks in response to the changing paradigm of business in the 21st century. In this talk, Andrew will discuss the agile mindset behind the growth of HighTechU, a grassroots initiative of the UVic Department of Computer Science focused on helping youth build the diverse skills they need to thrive in the growing tech industry. Through its journey from conception to deployment, Andrew will highlight the important role that agile thinking had on the project's success, and how you can use those same principles to help bring your next business idea from concept to reality.

Requirements: None

Minimum Viable Legals: Incorporating your Startup


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Jordan Potechin
Associate || LaBarge Weinstein LLP

Do you have a business idea and are thinking of starting a company? This session is for you! Jordan Potechin, an associate at Canada’s leading startup law firm, LaBarge Weinstein LLP, will provide a crash course on how to incorporate and setup your business for future success. He’ll cover incorporation, initial shareholder issues, employment vs consulting, basic IP protection, stock option plans and early stage fundraising. A robust Q&A will follow where no question is a dumb question – he’s probably heard them all! This session is tailored to entrepreneurs thinking of taking the plunge and those already in the deep end.

Requirements: None

product & design


Iterative Game Design: Learning From Failure


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Max Loy
Director of Skeletons || Fancy Skeleton Games

Not every idea you have is going to work out, but failed prototypes are often as important to the process as successful ones. In this talk, Max will walk through a number of failed game prototypes and use these real-world examples to explore his process for constructing prototypes, how to decide if a prototype isn't working, and how to learn from failed prototypes for future projects.

Requirements: An interest in game design, or product design in general, is recommended. 

WCAG Compliant Color Schemes: Lessons from white labeling a SAAS product for fortune 1000 companies


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Jen Reiher
Front End Developer || Benevity

Over the last two years, Benevity's white label strategy has matured alongside their rapid growth in clients and product offerings. Jen will share the lessons they've learned about how to craft a white label strategy that is:
* Simple to communicate
* Complex enough to satisfy brand-conscious client requirements
* WCAG 2.0 AA compliant
* Implemented in a scaleable way

Requirements: Some knowledge and/or strong curiosity about front-end design and development. If you don't think colour matters, this workshop isn't for you. 

How to Build Inclusive Products in the Tech For Good Space


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Aashni Shah
CEO || Elixir Labs and Software Engineer || Square

As tech continues to become an increasing part of everyone’s lives, it’s important for us to acknowledge that not everyone has access to the same technological tools as we do. While the common idea of “there’s an app for that" might be true, it doesn’t mean that app is the right solution. In this workshop, Aashni will explore some of the important factors you should consider while building an inclusive product, especially one in the Tech For Good space.

Requirements: Some experience thinking about designing and developing a technical project - school projects and hackathons count!

What Silicon Valley Taught Me About Building World Class Products

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Alexandra Skey
Head of Customer Experience || Bambora

I lived in Silicon Valley for 3 years, experiencing the highs, lows and hard truths that come from building companies in the heart of our tech community. We’re going to harness that knowledge and explore 3 pillars of world class products: how do you identify and build products, how do you launch and adapt products to meet market demands, and how do you deal with success - and failure - to accelerate their growth?

If you’re new to product and want to experience what it takes to make (and break) the best of the best, this session will be an adventure you don’t want to miss!

Requirements: Being human.

2018 Talk to an expert

Have an idea you want to bring to fruition? Talk to investors, founders, senior developers, and startup legal experts one-on-one about how to build a career or found a startup. Space is limited, so book early at the registration table to take advantage!

Mel Reams   Senior Software Developer at  Benevity   Technical Expert

Mel Reams
Senior Software Developer at Benevity

Technical Expert

Stewart Lord   Director of Technology (Shift) at  Redbrick   Technical Expert

Stewart Lord
Director of Technology (Shift) at Redbrick

Technical Expert

Aurora Walker    Software Development Team Lead at  Bambora North America   Technical Expert

Aurora Walker
Software Development Team Lead at Bambora North America

Technical Expert

Jordan Potechin   Associate at  LaBarge Weinstein LLP   Startup Legal Expert

Jordan Potechin
Associate at LaBarge Weinstein LLP

Startup Legal Expert

Jamie Starke   DevOps Software Development Engineer at  Workday Media Cloud   Technical Expert

Jamie Starke
DevOps Software Development Engineer at Workday Media Cloud

Technical Expert

Rob O’Dwyer  Senior Software Development Engineer at  Workday Media Cloud   Technical Expert

Rob O’Dwyer
Senior Software Development Engineer at Workday Media Cloud

Technical Expert

Martin Suchanek   Staff Data Engineer (Data Science) at  InVision   Technical Expert

Martin Suchanek
Staff Data Engineer (Data Science) at InVision

Technical Expert

Brad Van Vugt   COO of  Sendwithus   Startup Founder

Brad Van Vugt
COO of Sendwithus

Startup Founder

Aashni Shah   CEO of  Elixir Labs  || Software Engineer at  Square

Aashni Shah
CEO of Elixir Labs || Software Engineer at Square

Tim Teh   CEO of  Kano   Startup Founder

Tim Teh
CEO of Kano

Startup Founder

Veronica Best   Director of Product at  Sendwithus   Product Expert

Veronica Best
Director of Product at Sendwithus

Product Expert

Rasool Rayani   Angel Investor

Rasool Rayani
Angel Investor

David Arnsdorf    Angel Investor

David Arnsdorf
Angel Investor