Three Unique Things About DevOpsDays Austin 2018

I’ve always found DevOpsDays to be some of the best gatherings for practitioners — the people in the trenches every day. I’m a regular at these events and consistently learn a ton from my peers — it’s some of the best DevOps training you can get! And I often get the chance to talk about some of my own experiences as well. At the April DevOpsDays in Denver, I had the opportunity to share some advice on integrating security into DevOps.

The upcoming Austin summit promises to switch up the format a bit, focusing more on interactions between practitioners and less on preselected talks. Ernest Mueller has a great post about the organizers’ motivations for changing the format and what to expect, but here are the three things I’m most excited about.

1. The audience votes on the DevOps talks they want.

Inspired by a recent Product Camp in Austin, DevOpsDays Austin organizers have decided to invite all finalist speaker proposals to attend the summit, and have the audience vote on which talks they’d like to hear most. This approach takes the best of both worlds between Open Spaces — an unorganized gathering where practitioners decide what they want to learn and people speak extemporaneously — and planned conference schedules. While the approach has received some backlash from people who like to plan their schedules in advance, I think it’s an exciting spin for both the speakers and the attendees alike.

2. Fewer attendees means more valuable interactions.

Large conferences are great and serve a purpose, but there’s something inspiring about a smaller, more intimate gathering where everyone cares about the same things. By nature, you can have more valuable conversations, troubleshoot each other’s problems, and build connections that last a lifetime. This approach cuts out distractions and focuses on having attendees talk to each other, rather than passively listening to sessions.

3. Removing sponsor tables makes a gathering feel more grassroots.

While the event organizers didn’t remove sponsorship opportunities altogether, they did remove tables this year. This move creates an environment where sponsors can still participate in the event, and people who would otherwise be behind a table can interact directly with the attendees. Again, I’m excited about the grassroots feeling this gives the event, where people can be comfortable talking about their work freely in an environment of their peers.

I hope to see you at DevOpsDays Austin on May 3 and 4, and would be happy to talk with anyone about how to effectively integrate security into the cultural and professional movement of DevOps.

In case you missed it, I recently wrote a series on how we “do DevOps” at Threat Stack, which you can check out below. Let me know what you think on Twitter using #HowWeSecOps.