If I wanted to sum up my experience at GopherCon UK 2018, I would probably say something like awesome, unforgettable and amazing. But those three words would not fully explain everything I saw and felt during that time. It was super-exciting for me, being a first-time speaker at a Go conference. It was also incredibly stressful because even though I'm pretty confident about my English skills, it's something totally different to use it with other people for whom the language is not their native one. Standing on a stage in front of a few hundred people, and butcher the native langue of many (most? half? I have no idea) of them, that was scary. I heard that my jokes got some laughs, so maybe it wasn't that bad. Or they laughed at me, but at this point, it's too late to feel bad about myself. Anyway, I would like to share my thoughts on four of the most important elements of my London experience.
Those are the people I want to start with because they are quiet heroes that made this thing possible. From the venue, which is absolutely amazing, to two hilarious and superb Masters of Ceremony in Mat Ryer and Mark Bates, to help the speakers like me feel welcome. On top of that, thanks to many sponsors the event had an endless supply of delicious coffee, excellent meals for any taste and an impressive selection of cookies and cakes! If the conference wasn't just a two-day event (plus one workshop days I did not attend), I would have probably gained some weight...
This was my first time as a speaker at the conference outside Poland (and second conference total), and for the first time, I had a chance to participate in a speakers dinner, which was an awesome idea to meet the people you see on YouTube videos, on Twitter or GitHub. Honestly, at some point I looked at one of the tables and felt like I was scrolling down my Twitter :) That was an amazing time as I had the chance to speak to the people all over the world and see how their lives differ from mine, not only from the IT standpoint.
The best thing about speakers it, you know, speaking. Since there were three tracks, it was impossible to see all the talks (I can't wait for the YouTube videos!), and from what I've seen (and heard from other people), all the talks had "something" in them. The best part about the talks was that the presenter was always talking about things important to them, so you could feel that it's something special for them. Coming to GopherCon with a couple of years of Go experience, I thought that it would be hard to surprise me, but I was proven wrong multiple times!
If I was to mention three talks that I liked the most, I'd choose (in no particular order):
- Abusing Go's net package for fun and profit by Michał Witkowski (@mwitkow) for multiple reasons: he was talking based on his (and his team's) experience, which is more valuable than any side-project observations. The talk was excellent, well-thought and funny in a few places :) Finally, the
netpackage is being used by most of the people on the daily basis, so it was incredibly useful.
- Three Billy GOats Gruff - a developer's tale from VMs to serverless by Michael Hausenblas (@mhausenblas) for the exact opposite reasons than the previous one. The talk was based on his side project, where he moved from the monolith to microservices to serverless functions. I have no experience in the latter, so I really wanted to catch as much as possible. On top of the useful content, I really liked that Michael was loose and relaxed, as he was speaking about things close to his heard (probably). The joke about writing C and Java because he was young and needed money also did its job :)
- Goroutines: the dark side of the runtime by Roberto Clapis (@empijei) because it was just incredibly awesome. This was the first talk I marked as a must-see after reading the schedule, partly because it was marked as Advanced and touched on goroutines, which I use but sometimes don't fully understand. It was full (I mean full!) of useful information, a couple of jokes (so sorry that more people didn't get his puns...) and his enthusiasm (again!). I talked to him for a couple of minutes during the break and he was indeed really into the topic he was talking about. He also gave some useful cycling tips about Zurich Lake (which is larger than one might expect).
Last, but certainly not least, there were the people. The official website mentioned about 400 gophers in the attendance, which for me is quite a lot! The most impressive thing was when they were asked if they have had any experience in Go if they were at Gophercon before (or at any Go-related conference) and it turned out that the majority of them are taking their first steps in the language and the community. That was so awesome to see that people are coming/switching to Go and want to learn them even though most of them don't work with it on a daily basis (yet). I remember when I was considering my first (and current) position as a 100% Go dev, I went to my fist Go event (GoLab in Italy). I was unsure if leaving my current job as a front-end developer (having lots of offers on the local jobs listings) to something as exotic as Go is a good idea. I needed to meet those awesome people who work with it already to realize that this is the step I need to take. I really hope that GopherCon UK 2018 did for those people the same thing and the community will keep growing.