“DevCon is one of the ways we breathe new ideas and innovation into the work we do,” said James Price, Chief Technology Officer at Clearwater. “Sometimes you get into the slog of the daily or weekly grind. This way people can look up and look around.”
The all-day developers’ conference was started five years ago as a way for Clearwater developers and analysts to step away from their day-to-day tasks and learn new skills and technologies. It’s also an opportunity for people to share what they’re passionate about and inspire others with that passion.
“Our field is continuously changing, so you can’t sit on your laurels. You have to constantly be learning. As a company, we have to show that’s a priority for everyone,” said Jillian Hamilton, Clearwater Development Division Lead.
Session topics at this year’s DevCon ranged from programming languages, machine learning, and data science, to digital art, 3D animation, and professional development. Speakers included Clearwater employees; college professors; Youtuber Jared Owen who specializes in creating 3D animation video content; and Daniel Higginbotham, author of Clojure for the Brave and True, who discussed application frameworks and navigating the ever-changing technological landscape.
“I think it’s really important for people to set down what they’re doing for just a little bit and get a bigger perspective on how what they’re working on fits into the company as a whole or how their side projects are important parts of their professional development,” said Katie Moore, Data Scientist in Clearwater’s Innovation Center. “It can be easy to get in your little hole of what you’re working on but getting out and sharing what you’re working on is important. It gives other people new ideas, you may get great feedback, and I think overall it can really move all sorts of projects forward.”
In addition to Clearwater employees, this year’s DevCon was open to local students, educators, and technology professionals to participate. It’s the second consecutive year that the conference has extended beyond Clearwater. In all, 700 people took part in this year’s conference. “I think it’s cool to have this be part of the greater Boise tech community to showcase what we have going on here and encourage people to have these sorts of conversations,” Moore said.