DeveloperWeek New York 2020 DeveloperWeek New York 2020

DevExec & DevLead

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

- EST
How to Become a Great Developer: Case Studies of How Individuals Rose from Nowhere to Become Experts
Join on Hopin
Wilson Mar
Wilson Mar
International consulting firm, DevSecOps leader

After mentoring many developers over the years, I summarized the advice into a trending article on LinkedIn. Here are case studies of how individuals rose from nowhere to become experts.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

- EST
Debugging Engineering Velocity
Join on Hopin
Smruti Patel
Smruti Patel
Stripe, Engineering Manager

Have you felt frustrated by your team's speed of execution? Have you asked yourself, perhaps in the middle of a sprint planning session: Are we stuck?

Why do some teams seem to work faster than others? Why do some people perceive a team as too slow, while others consider the same team fast enough? And engineers on some teams appear to be more satisfied and more motivated than those on other teams; why?

Engineers don't lack motivation -- it is systems that fail to create an environment for engineers to make magic. In this talk, I’ll lay out a step-by-step guide for managers and ICs to ask the right questions towards this problem.

Alignment: Are the team’s goals and metrics aligned with the business? Is the team aware of broader priorities and constraints? Is there agreement around when to optimize for user-visible features vs technical debt? Is there alignment around what exactly the team owns?
Doing Too Much: Is the team keeping too many projects active at the same time? We’ll talk about how to identify if this is happening, and how to use metrics and models to choose what to prioritize.
Thrashing: Big and frequent changes in priority can make engineers take the priorities themselves less seriously— but such change is a reality in a fast-growing company. How do you reduce thrashing as well as increase adaptability to change?
Deep, slow projects: Some projects simply take a long time. This is especially true for infrastructure work. In this context, it’s important to demonstrate value early— engage with users, go deep before going broad.

As a manager or lead developer, this talk will give you a playbook to analyze and work on your team’s engineering velocity— and ultimately, to create an environment where people work together at their highest potential.

- EST
So You’ve Been Asked to Double Your Engineering Team…
Join on Hopin
Chris Stasonis
Chris Stasonis
Lola Travel, VP, Engineering

o your company just took a round of funding and you’ve been asked to rapidly grow your engineering team? Congratulations! This is an exciting challenge. It can also be daunting. You’re in for a lot of hard work, a lot of organizational changes, and the satisfaction of building an amazing new team. I’ll share some experience and advice from being given this challenge multiple times at both large and small companies.

Who is this for?

My advice will mostly focus on growing teams of ~10 to teams of ~40, but much of the advice applies to any serious hiring push regardless of current team size. The people who will get the most out of this are managers of multiple teams, VPEs/Director’s of engineering at smaller scale startups, but also people that are part of an interview panel on a fast growing team.

- EST
Observability at Brex: Leveraging Logs to Fight Fraud and More
Join on Hopin
Thomas Cesare-Herriau
Thomas Cesare-Herriau
Brex, Lead of Observability
Sherwood Callaway
Sherwood Callaway
Brex, Software Engineer

Logs are ubiquitous and indispensable. They are arguably the most important tool used by software engineers in our day-to-day work. In development, we use them to mark key points in our code, so we can peek into its execution (without using a debugger). In production, they serve as a way of understanding software execution in the real-world, providing immense value at both the macro and micro levels; they can be used to diagnose systemic problems, which affect your entire user base, but also to trace the journey of a single user, thus allowing you to provide individualized support.

Unfortunately, most companies are not taking full advantage of logs, because they fail to see what logs really are: a source of rich, real-time event data. In this session, we will explain how the Observability team at Brex unlocked the power of logs by allowing other teams to access and build on top of structured log streams. This was accomplished by (1) designing and implementing a super-powered logging infrastructure, which delivers log messages to multiple consumers in near-real-time, and (2) creating a strict log schema as well as a schema-adherent logging library to make the underlying data useful and coherent.

We will also deep dive into a particular use case: powering the alerts used by our Fraud team to identify suspicious behavior.

- EST
Managing Failure as a First-Time Manager
Join on Hopin
Junaid Warwani
Junaid Warwani
Jetty, Senior Engineering Manager

Your first time as a manager is not easy. You say some wrong things, make a few wrong decisions, and face lots of uncertainty. Being a great developer doesn't guarantee that you can help others be better developers.
This talk is about what I learned after going from a senior engineer in a team of three to managing a team of seven engineers. I will focus on the things you can do to prepare yourself if you are making the same transition, and the things a senior engineering leader can do to help someone in that transition.

- EST
Technically Speaking: Improve Your Code with Documentation
Join on Hopin
Alexandra White
Alexandra White
Google, Technical Writer

Well written instructions, informative comments throughout code, clearly scripted screencasts, and smart information architecture can take complex code and make it accessible to new developers. In the age of code sharing, this can be imperative to teaching the next generation of developers, passing along your code to successors, and help you better understand your own work.

When I was an engineer, helpful READMEs and other docs created by my colleagues were crucial to quick onboarding and coming back to old products. Now, as a full time technical writer, I rely on our engineers to be able to concisely explain how products work. From these experiences, I feel it is essential that everyone feel empowered to write documentation, not just the technical writers.

In this talk we’ll discuss:

+ Why writing docs is important for engineers
+ Understanding your audience
+ Optimizing for the deliverable: READMEs, code comments, tutorials, release notes, and more

We’ll also cover some tips for communicating about your past work to your future self.