Discover more from Carolina Code Conference™
Announcing Our 2023 Speakers
We're going to have a great event!
When our Call for Speakers opened on April 11th, my primary concern was making sure we had enough talks to run the conference at all. Within 3 days, that problem was gone. By the time the call closed on May 25th, the problem was lack of time to work in so many great proposals.
We finished with a total of 83 session submissions for our single-day, single-track conference. Narrowing this list down to ensure we have balanced representation of topics, languages, speakers and meetups was a challenge. We finished with two full sessions (45-60 minutes) for morning and afternoon keynotes, five intermediate length sessions (20-30 minutes) and nine lightning talks (5-10 minutes).
There are a number of very interesting and worthy topics that we weren’t able to include as well, but there may be a way to let you hear more about them one day soon too. Stay tuned on that front.
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Without further ado, here are your speakers and tentative schedule for the 2023 Carolina Code Conference!
NOTE: With the blessing of the authors, some books use affiliate links to support the conference.
Morning Session Speakers
The JRuby Guy, Red Hat
Social: [ @headius, headius.com, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Sessionize ]
Charles has been a professional developer for thirty years and a full-time JRuby contributor since 2006. He has been named a "Java Champion" and a "Ruby Hero" for his work on JRuby, bringing the Ruby and Java worlds together and pushing both forward. Charles is a JVM language developer and advocate at Red Hat.
Keynote // Bringing Ruby to the JVM: Making the Impossible Possible
Category: [ Development, Ecosystem ]
Languages: [ Ruby, Java ]
Framework/Platform: [ Ruby on Rails, Swing, Android ]
Over the past 18 years, the JRuby team has worked to bring Ruby to the JVM, defying impossible challenges and building the most successful alternative Ruby implementation in the world. Today, JRuby is actively developed and deployed at thousands of Ruby and Java shops around the world... but how did we get here? This talk provides a retrospective of the JRuby project, with examples of modern JRuby usage along the way.
Lead UX Developer for iHeartRadio, teacher, and wearer of many hats
Social: [ torchcodelab.com, LinkedIn ]
What if I told you that my parents sent me to Earth via a spaceship and the Earth's yellow sun grants me superhuman powers? Honestly, that would be pretty rad, unfortunately it's not the case. I am not from a distant galaxy and, because my birthplace was Pittsburgh, PA, the only effect the sun has on me is the occasional burn.
However, what I lack in heat vision, ice breath, and invulnerability make up for in knowledge and dedication web development. For the last year and a half I’ve been a tech lead for a front-end development team at a large media company. Prior to that I was an instructor at a web-development bootcamp, helping people make the career switch into what I’ve been doing for the last decade or more. I've been involved in IT generally for over 20 years, and web development for 13 years.
I'm passionate about UX, education, and communication. Since 2015 I've been an evangelist for design systems and ways to improve communications between designers and developers.
Intermediate // How a Design System can help Developers and Designers (mostly) Maintain Product Sanity
Category: [ Development, UI/UX ]
Technology: [ Figma, StorybookJS ]
Design handoff sucks, but it shouldn't. Design Systems are an important, but often overlooked, communication tool between designers and developers.
A well structured design system, leveraging tools like Figma (designers) and StorybookJS (developers), can mitigate a lot of confusion that occurs because designers and developers don't necessarily speak the same language. It breaks the silos that each group often finds themselves working in.
No more design handoff, more working in parallel, this is the tool you're looking for.
CTO at FareGame Inc
Social: [ @feaselkl, curatedsql.com, catallaxyservices.com, LinkedIn, Sessionize ]
Books: [ PolyBase Revealed, Finding Ghosts in Your Data: Anomaly Detection Techniques with Examples in Python ]
Kevin Feasel is a Microsoft Data Platform MVP and proprietor of Catallaxy Services, LLC, where he specializes in T-SQL and R development, fighting with Kafka, and pulling rabbits out of hats on demand. He is the lead contributor to Curated SQL, president of the Triangle Area SQL Server Users Group, and author of the books PolyBase Revealed and Finding Ghosts in Your Data: Anomaly Detection Techniques with Examples in Python (Apress, 2022). A resident of Durham, North Carolina, he can be found cycling the trails along the triangle whenever the weather's nice enough.
Intermediate // Does This Look Weird? An Introduction to Anomaly Detection
Category: [ Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning ]
Languages: [ F# ]
Technology: [ ML.NET ]
Discovering anomalies is a critical part of systems monitoring, financial auditing, and more. In this session, we will gain an understanding of what constitutes an anomaly, starting with a general concept of anomalies and then moving into technical definitions. We will review techniques for detecting anomalies for both time series and non-series data and implement a simple anomaly detector in .NET. Finally, we will compare these results against Microsoft's anomaly detector in Azure Cognitive Services.
Freelance Web Developer
Social: [ @nate_dev_ ]
Meetup: Greenville Three.js
A self-taught, freelance web developer, passionate about 3D rendering on the web to create immersive experiences and games. Also enjoys working on computer graphics using GLSL shaders and 3D modeling using Blender 3D.
Lightning // The Power of 3D on the Web and Introduction to Three.js
Category: [ Development ]
Technology: [ ML.NET ]
Founder at Agreeable Data
Social: [ agreeabledata.com, LinkedIn ]
John Wessel is the Founder of Agreeable Data working with companies to help them learn and grow from their data by leveraging modern data tools.
Previously John was the Chief Technology Officer and Senior VP of Product & Digital for a mid-market e-commerce and distribution company. He enjoys unifying his diverse experiences to bring a unique perspective to data problems in the e-commerce, digital marketing, supply chain, SaaS, and product management spaces.
Lightning // What's Special About Snowflake?
Category: [ Other ]
Languages: [ SQL ]
Technology: [ Snowflake, Modern Data Stack ]
What is all the hype about Snowflake? Is it really that different from Redshift? How does Snowflake scale? Is it faster than a traditional database? Learn about Snowflake's distinguishing characteristics and how it disrupts data analytics and science. Also, learn some practical tips, tricks, and common usage patterns. Lastly, learn about the many tools forming the modern data stack that are opening new opportunities for businesses and new verticals, such as Reverse ETL, Customer Data Platforms, New Data Extract and Transformation Tools, Data Observability, and many more.
Frontend Software Engineer at Orange Bees
Social: [ LinkedIn ]
Meetup: Women Who Code Greenville
About two years ago, Stephanie embraced courage over comfort by transitioning from an administrator in college athletics to attending the web development course at Carolina Code School. Now, as a frontend software engineer, she thrives on curiosity, perseverance, and collaboration with her team. She's passionate about giving back to aspiring developers and empowering them to break into the tech industry.
Intermediate // “Be Curious, Not Judgemental”
Category: [ Career, Other ]
Making a career change can be hard, but imagine having 12 weeks of training then entering the work force as a newbie. Curiosity guides pretty much everything we do as developers, however it's important to remember that that curiosity has to flow in both directions when seasoned developers are working with new developers. The more we understand each others experience, the better equipped we are to support one another. In the words of Ted Lasso, "Be curious, not judgmental". We've got to be curios and fail a lot in order to learn and move forward in our careers in the tech industry and we need to remember that it's our super power!
Lunch Hour Speakers
During the lunch hour of the conference we will have networking and round table discussions geared towards the local community, including talks by Joey Loman from SynergyMill and Lelia King from Build Carolina to get the ball rolling.
Shopkeeper, SynergyMill DIY Workshop
Social: [ synergymill.com, LinkedIn, Sessionize ]
Joey Loman is a SynergyMill Cofounder, entrepreneur inventor, craftsman, rum smuggler, mechanic, bon vivant, artist, renaissance man, cow killer, video producer, foodie, musician, and peaceful observer.
Lightning // Make it real
If you’re looking for a place you can paint, saw, weld, create, build, and make some noise and dust, this is the coworking space for you. Collaborating on ideas, lending a helping hand, and having plain old fun are benefits that you’ll discover because the people in our community are friendly, capable, and generally awesome.
We’ve been serving the Greenville community since 2016 by providing access to friendly and helpful mentors and workshop tools in an open, inclusive, and permissive environment.
SynergyMill’s mission is to serve the local community with a tool workshop and entrepreneurship programs by providing and maintaining a creative and collaborative environment for experimentation and development in skill building, making, technology, and art.
The vision of SynergyMill is to be a resource to the Greenville community to improve quality of life, promote the enjoyment of creative arts, and grow economic opportunity.
Executive Director, Build Carolina
Social: [ buildcarolina.org, LinkedIn, Sessionize ]
I currently serve as Executive Director for Build Carolina, a South Carolina-based 501(c)(3) with a mission to advance our tech community through demand-driven training, connection, and support. We currently run three programs - SC Codes, Carolina Code School and Develop Carolina.
Since 2017, it has been my absolute honor to build an organization with core values that align with my own: values including opportunity, community, collaboration, agility, diversity, and impact.
I love to share my story and insights I have gleaned from building a nonprofit organization from the ground up. I have a unique perspective on workforce and talent development, the changing world of education and training, and career change.
Lightning // State of the tech talent ecosystem
If you're attending this conference, you play a role in South Carolina's tech talent ecosystem.
What is the current state of the tech talent ecosystem? How do we define it, and how do we measure it's strength? How does Greenville stack up against similar cities?
Join Lelia King, executive director of Build Carolina, to learn what all of this means to the future of our tech community, and how you can help to make a difference. No matter if you've been part of tech in Greenville for 5 days or 25 years, you will walk away with tangible ways to make an impact on the community.
Afternoon Session Speakers
Social: [ @redrapids, grox.io, LinkedIn, Instagram ]
Books: [ Programming Phoenix LiveView, Seven Languages in Seven Weeks, Designing Elixir Systems With OTP ]
Bruce Tate is a kayaker, climber, programmer and father of two from Chattanooga, Tennessee. A serial entrepreneur, he has helped start three companies, and most recently served as CTO for icanmakeitbetter. The author of more than a dozen books is active in the Elixir community as a speaker, author, editor and conference organizer. His love for teaching and computer languages led him to found Groxio in 2018.
Keynote // Loop
Category: [ Development, Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning, Career ]
Languages: [ Basic, Elixir, Erlang, Scala ]
This engaging keynote address delves into loops, the very heart of programming and the core of a virtually unknown nautical adventure. We'll explore the voyage through a continuous waterway stretching over 6,200 miles across the Eastern U.S. and part of Canada as a common metaphor for both programming and the human experience.
Loops are an integral part of any programming language, at once powering repetition and iterative tasks while always leaving room for transformation. Loops also enable services that are at the core of the self-healing superpowers of Erlang, Elixir, and even Scala.
Come join us.
Principal Software Engineer at Elastic
Social: [ @benwtrent, LinkedIn, Github ]
Meetup: Greer Programmers Group
Husband of one, father of three. Ben has been doing tech related things for well over a decade now. Over the past 6 years his focus has been machine learning, and 4 of those years have been with Elastic working on Elasticsearch. His main programming language is currently Java, but his heart lies with Rust, Clojure and... Ruby (yes, he likes Ruby more than Python...).
Lightning // Java must be faster, time for the Vector API
Category: [ Development ]
Languages: [ Java ]
Technology: [ JDK, Lucene, Vector Search, VectorDB ]
Java is a flexible, powerful, and widely used programming language. It gets flack for being arcane, bloated, and encouraging strange programming practices. These accusations are well earned. Yet, advancements in the last couple of years show that the language has a future. Java is slowly becoming modern. One of the most exciting and recent advancements is project Panama's Vector API. This brings CPU Single Instruction Multiple Data (SIMD) into the JVM. Allowing more performant and powerful programs. Project Panama is especially relevant for the new Vector Search and large language model world. This talk will be a short overview of SIMD, a small demo, and the hoops required when bringing them into Lucene (with benchmarks!). Let's all hope Java keeps advancing!
Co-founder, CTO, Rownd, Inc
Social: [ @mhamann, rownd.com, LinkedIn, Sessionize ]
Matt Hamann is a software engineer and technologist with more than a decade of experience designing and building cloud and mobile applications. After graduating from Bob Jones University with a B.S. in Information Systems Management, he received a Master's degree in the same field from Carnegie Mellon University.
Throughout his career, Matt has worked for both small businesses and Fortune 50 companies. His roles have spanned cloud architecture, security, and team leadership. He's always looking for ways technology intersects with liberal arts.
Matt firmly believes that teams do their best work when they understand their why. Matt's goal is to enable businesses to fulfill their mission through excellence in software.
Matt is currently the CTO and co-founder of Rownd, a frictionless authentication company based in Raleigh, NC. Formerly, he spent over a decade at IBM building secure, policy-compliant, cloud-native systems at scale. If there's code involved, Matt is never far away!
Intermediate // From Carolina to Y Combinator - Lessons learned getting into YC
Category: [ Career, Other ]
Have you ever wanted to start your own company but struggled to get it off the ground? Or maybe you have a killer idea but aren't sure how to turn it into a company.
Building a startup is hard work, but accelerators like Y Combinator can provide the guidance and community you need to really launch your idea into the stratosphere.
Come learn about the journey of Rownd, a North Carolina-based authentication startup, from inception to acceptance into Y Combinator to raising seed funding from VCs.
Discover how Rownd overcame rejection at multiple levels, struggled through regional challenges, and harnessed the power of community to position themselves for success.
Joining YC radically changed Rownd's growth trajectory and provided practical insights into navigating the competitive startup landscape.
This talk will leave you inspired and equipped with actionable strategies to turn your startup dreams into reality.
Data Science Engineer - Orange Bees - Making Data Simple
Social: [ orangebees.com, Medium, LinkedIn ]
I am a data professional with over 3+ years of experience within the software solutions space. All my work has been around designing predictive and prescriptive data pipelines for our clients, making their systems more efficient and saving costs.
Lightning // Accelerating QA using Deep learning
Category: [ Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning, Testing/QA ]
Languages: [ Python ]
Framework: [ PyTorch, YOLOv8 ]
In this talk, we will discuss the challenges of detecting and resolving performance issues, such as video stuttering, lag, and app crashes, and how Orange Bees has developed an AI-powered QA testing system to overcome these challenges. Combining Python, OpenCV, Object Detection, and OCR, the system validates video continuity and completeness, detects gaps, and identifies device-specific issues. With out-of-the-box report generation, businesses gain valuable insights into gaps and improve the app's user experience.
To validate the solution, Orange Bees put it through rigorous testing using their own bench test. They recorded a clock on a desk for several hours using various phone devices and ran their analytics on top of that. The system was able to detect frozen frames and ensure that the recordings were complete and continuous, even when recording for extended periods. The team also introduced artificially corrupted videos, introducing the exact issues that they were trying to detect, and the system was able to detect these issues perfectly.
Data Engineer at Stratifyd, Inc
Social: [ @BennettMeares, meerschaum.io, LinkedIn, Sessionize ]
Bennett Meares is a senior data engineer at Stratifyd, Inc. He began his data engineering career by building Clemson University's ETL system for facilities data (CEVAC) and graduated with an MS in Computer Science in 2021, for which he pioneered time-series synchronization strategies in his thesis.
Today, he is the author and maintainer of the open source ETL framework Meerschaum.
Intermediate // The Wonderful World of Incremental Time-Series ETL
Category: [ Development, Other ]
Languages: [ Python, SQL ]
Framework: [ Meerschaum, PostgreSQL, TimescaleDB ]
ETL is a simple process until it isn't. When you're dealing with billions of rows, how can you choose the synchronization strategy that best fits your needs?
In this talk, we dive down the rabbit hole of incremental time-series ETL. We consider the trade-offs with each strategy and how to choose the right one for you. Are your priorities perfect accuracy? Bandwidth? Run-time? Or something in between?
To put these strategies to the test, we will build several time-series ETL streams using the open source framework Meerschaum. We'll dive into a new Meerschaum Compose project and write several plugins to ingest outside data sources. Lastly, we'll wrap things up with a secure Docker image for easy deployment that Cloud Ops will love.
From beginners to experts, there's something here for everyone!
CTO at Hiatus
Social: [ hiatusapp.com, LinkedIn ]
Todd is CTO at Hiatus, a personal finance app that helps people manage their recurring bills and expenses. While he spends more time debugging teams and processes than writing code these days, he has the most software engineering experience with native mobile app development in Swift.
Lightning // Automate It: CI/CD for Native Mobile Apps
Category: [ DevOps, DevSecOps, Testing/QA ]
Languages: [ Kotlin, Swift, Bash/Shell, Ruby ]
Technology: [ Fastlane ]
In this session, we'll start by defining what Continuous Integration and Delivery is and why it's important for agile organizations. We'll then dive into some of the challenges unique to CI/CD for native mobile applications. Some of these challenges include cryptographic codesigning, Apple's requirements around distributing beta builds and management of your environment variables. We'll review what options and tools are available to facilitate your build pipelines and distribute your apps to internal testing teams. Finally, we'll wrap up with a brief overview of how we've set up our CI/CD pipelines (both Android and iOS) at Hiatus.
Founding Engineer at Neurelo
Social: [ @shockley_je, shockleyje.com, neurelo.com, LinkedIn, Github, Sessionize ]
Founding Software Engineer at Neurelo, a data access platform to help teams simplify, understand, and optimize how they work with data. I love solving problems, and often find myself mulling over the toughest ones while shredding powder, climbing pitches, biking berms, or backpacking the AT.
Intermediate // Zero to Production: Using Rust to Build a Hyper Performant Distributed SaaS Platform
Category: [ Development, Operations, Testing/QA, Ecosystem ]
Languages: [ Rust ]
Technology: [ Rust, Actix-Web, SQLx ]
At Neurelo, a team of developers set off to create a wildly performant, massively scalable, and distributed data access platform with an appropriately modern and sensible language – Rust.
I’ll dive into how & why we selected Rust as well as explore our use of Rust as a general-purpose language for our core product. Then, I'll show how Rust enables fearless and rapid development, by going from zero-to-production for a new service. We’ll cover the process from setting up development tooling, to instrumenting your service for observability.