• May 29-30, 2015
  • ·
  • MotorCity Casino, 2901 Grand River Avenue, Detroit

Brianna Wu: Keynote - Choose your Character


Tech feminist Brianna Wu has been a powerful voice for women in the game industry. Since being targeted by Gamergate, a misogynistic hate movement, she's been the target of unprecedented death threats, rape threats and harassment. In this powerful talk, she discusses the origins of her studio Giant Spacekat, their vision for games, and how she stays true to what she believes.

About Brianna Wu

Brianna Wu is the head of development at Giant Spacekat, a company specializing in cinematic experiences using the Unreal engine. She’s also a frequent speaker on women-in-tech issues. In the past, she’s worked as a journalist and a politico. When she’s not developing software, she enjoys racing motorcycles and running marathons.

Mike Lee: Keynote - Planetary Engineering


Maybe it's naïve to start a company to do more than make money. Maybe it's arrogant to want to change the world. Still, the skills used to make a million-user iPhone game can also be used to make a toolbox for the supporters of a political candidate, or to help people with special needs.

Our bright future has been hijacked by absurd greed and petty bickering. The information war and climate change have become impossible to ignore. Rich people have started building massive yachts. The internet got mean. The rising pressure to sell out or get beat up makes it hard not to become cynical or depressed.

When others consider a problem unsolvable, engineers break them down into smaller problems until a team of experts and the necessary materials can be brought together to craft a solution.

We have the power, as the creative class, to stand up and take responsibility for the future we are building. We have the power to achieve our potential, to live up to our dreams. We have the power to tackle planet-scale problems.

About Mike Lee

Mike Lee is an Apple Design Award winning software engineer living in an impressionist painting in Amsterdam. He has worked on a bunch of apps, given a bunch of presentations, and been involved with a bunch of companies, some of which you've probably heard of.

Justin Searls: Keynote - Sometimes a Controller is Just a Controller


We don't have a rigorous definition of what good code looks like, and we probably never will.

Accepting that premise, it becomes clear that the social & economic motivations to evaluate the quality of our own and each other's code have led us astray. This talk will explore how that seemingly minor error has snowballed to devastating effect.

You'll find reinforcing loops that push out empathetic developers in favor of more callous ones. You'll see why teams actively resist diversity. You'll better understand our collective interest in thought-leading celebrities. You'll even learn how our "Good Code" delusion has created systemic issues by teaching businesspeople to misunderstand the nature of software. And if nothing else, you'll have a good time.

About Justin Searls

Justin Searls has two professional passions: writing great software and sharing what he’s learned to help others write even greater software. He helped start a software agency called Test Double, whose crack team of double agents solve complex problems with clean and simple solutions.

Tricia Cervenan: 13 Lessons Learned From a Product Manager

MCC 3, Saturday, 3:00 PM


"Life is too short to do mediocre work." and "Picking an Agile process is not agile." – those are just two of the thirteen lessons revealed in this talk. From the personal to the professional, we’ll explore stories from a journey across the country building product at large companies, smaller companies and now a tech start-up. This honest and pragmatic talk will provide insights on everything from designing your career and collaborating with development teams, to changing behavior and finding joy in life and in your work.

About Tricia Cervenan

Tricia Cervenan leads product at the Seattle startup, Apptentive, where she's working with her team to help companies have meaningful conversations with their customers. After leading mobile product development at Quicken Loans, Tricia set off on a journey across the country stopping first at ESPN in CT, then a smaller development firm in NC, before finally landing in Seattle. She has shipped 15 mobile and web products and focuses her team on solving real customer problems and delivering maximum value.

Kerri Miller: 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Programming

MCC 1/2, Friday, 1:00 PM


There's more to being a successful developer than simply being great at programming. The gotchas that slow us down or trip us up are often outside of the code we write, manifesting instead in our process or how we work with our peers. Whether you're new to programming or a veteran of many projects, these 5 things can improve your code, your career, and your team. If you're just starting out, you'll be glad to hear that you frustrations are not unique -- there are strategies for overcoming them. For experienced developers, this talk is a refresher course on what goes into the day-to-day, reminding us to have some empathy for individuals new to our community. Come (re)discover these 5 (sometimes surprising, always honest) truths, tips, and tactics for success.

About Kerri Miller

Kerri Miller is a Sr Software Developer and Team Lead based in the Pacific Northwest. She has worked at enterprise companies, international ad agencies, boutique consultancies, start-ups, mentors and teaches students, and finds time to work on Open Source projects. Having an insatiable curiosity, she has worked as a lighting designer, marionette puppeteer, sous chef, and professional poker player, and enjoys hiking, collecting Vespas, and working with glass.

Coraline Ada Ehmke: Aesthetics and the Evolution of Code


Symmetry. Simplicity. Elegance. Patterns. Much of how we understand, describe, and value code is based on subjective criteria that are easy for us to grasp intuitively but almost impossible to define or communicate objectively. This talk expores the role that concepts such as beauty, sublimity, completeness and simplicity play in the way that we model reality in software, relate to our own and other people's code, and ultimately measure the value of our work as professionals.

About Coraline Ada Ehmke

Coraline Ada Ehmke is an open source advocate and developer with over 20 years of experience. She was recognized for her work on diversity in open source with a Ruby Hero award in 2016. Coraline is the creator of the Contributor Covenant, the most popular open source code of conduct in the world with over 40,000 adoptions. She is a founding panelist on the Greater than Code podcast. In her free time Coraline pursues her interests in artificial intelligence and writes and records music in her home studio. Find her on Twitter at @CoralineAda or on the web at

Andrew Burke: A Question of Time: 3000 Years of Why 'What Time Is It?' Is Hard


Ever wonder why the ninth month is named SEPTember and the tenth is OCTober? Why do we have leap year? And what the heck is up with Easter? Since the earliest days of civilization, cultures have had to fit complicated and irregular natural cycles into easier-to-manage abstractions like dates and times. These abstractions never quite fit the reality, and sometimes they have to be replaced or changed. How do different cultures build these abstractions? How do they get them wrong? How do they manage changes to what most people take as unchangeable foundations of their lives? It turns out that how they did can teach us a lot about how technology and culture interact in our own lives and businesses. This talk will cover thousands of years of history, from the ancient origins of the 60-minute hour to the centuries that it took to fix a known bug in how leap years work, and the surprising reason that you're allowed to be five minutes late to class at Oxford. It will pull out lessons learned by kings, popes, and emperors that directly apply to the modern world of software, culture, and technology

About Andrew Burke

Andrew Burke is an independent software developer based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, with over two decades of experience building software for people - most recently with Ruby on Rails and iOS. He built the iOS "connected" diary app Remembary.

Katherine Wu: Ask vs. Guess Culture Communication

MCC 3, Friday, 10:00 AM


Have you ever been told you’re “too direct,” or feel like you don’t understand what others want? Or on the other side, do you think others are often too confrontational? These are Ask vs Guess Culture differences. Ask folks believe it’s ok to ask anything, because it’s ok to say no, while Guess folks prioritize not imposing on others. It’s a culture clash that isn’t often recognized, yet causes quite a bit of tension and frustration. This talk will cover the nuances of these different communication styles, as well as strategies for bridging the gap. Gaining an understanding of these differences and learning specific tactics for a professional context will make you a drastically more effective communicator.

About Katherine Wu

KWu is a software engineer at New Relic. Prior to New Relic, she attended Hackbright Academy and had worked at Google for 5 years in various technical support and product operations roles. A proud New Jersey native, she nevertheless fits in well in Portlandia, what with biking to work and spending weekends canning and preserving the fruits and veggies from a local farm share.

Marc Nischan: Basic Git & Github for Designers, Visual Learners, and Everyone Else


This talk will give you a picture, a mental model, to hang your workflow on so that you can contribute effectively to a codebase with other developers, and a step-by-step cheat sheet to follow until Git has become second nature.

The Git version control system is a powerful and flexible way to handle contributing to a team-based project. When I first encountered Git, it seemed abstract and nebulous. I would type commands in to the terminal that I read in some tutorial, and fire them out in to the void without really understanding what I was doing. Finally someone sat down with me and drew me a picture and “bam!” I got it!

If you are a designer, or just someone that learns better by seeing and doing, then this talk will help you master the skills necessary to contribute to a project on GitHub, but moreover you will really understand the workflow itself.

About Marc Nischan

Designer & Front-End Dev @ Detroit Labs.

Sam Phippen: Better testing with Spies


Spies are a relatively uncommon feature of testing suites. In this tutorial-style talk: we'll look at what spies are, how spies work in RSpec and how one can write better tests with spies. We'll work through some of examples of writing new tests with spies, improving old tests with spies and the reasons why spying is a useful tool for your testing practice.

This talk will use Ruby and RSpec as it's example language, but the concepts apply across languages and paradigms. If you're looking for ways to improve your testing practice, understand isolated testing better or just ask some questions, this session will be great for you.

About Sam Phippen

Sam Phippen is a swashbuckling hacker from London, UK. He fixes every size of data problem at Fun and Plausible Solutions. He helps fight for the forces of justice as a member of the RSpec core team. He's sad that he can't hug every cat.

Amitai Schlair: Bring Your Whole Self To Work (In 15 Years Or Less)!


A few weeks into my latest gig, it became clear that what folks needed most from me was to come in every day and be myself. Cool, I was gonna do that anyway -- except at every other job I've had, that's never totally worked out. What makes me so sure it's different this time? What's changed in this new role? What's changed about me, and why, and how?

Come hear a tale full of embarrassments, disappointments, and learnings, of mild reductions of obliviousness, of gradual improvements in efficiency, of partially mitigated personal weaknesses, and of matching who I am to where I belong.

About Amitai Schlair

Amitai Schlair helps software teams deliver more effectively by learning to grow together. On the side, he contributes code and direction to notable open-source projects such as NetBSD, pkgsrc, and ikiwiki. Amitai’s ideas, prose, music, and puns have manifested at CodeMash, pkgsrcCon, Pittsburgh Perl Workshop, Philolexian Society, Piano Society, the International Rachmaninoff Conference, and the Alfred Joyce Kilmer Memorial Bad Poetry Contest.

Robert Aboukhalil: Build real-time web applications using WebSockets and Node.js


WebSockets is a recent technology that allows computers and servers to perform two-way communications in real-time. By eliminating frequent AJAX polling to the server, WebSockets improve performance and enhance responsiveness. This talk is an introduction to WebSockets, how they work and how to get started using them in Node.js. To demonstrate the power of WebSockets, I will also guide you through each step needed to build a simple chat room app.

About Robert Aboukhalil

Robert Aboukhalil is currently pursuing a PhD in computational biology at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, where he uses data science every day to process and analyse large biological datasets. In his work, he also develops interactive web applications that enable researchers to perform real-time analyses on their data to obtain a better understanding of their results.

DJ Daugherty: BYOD : Build your own drone... multi-rotor quadcopter that is.


In this world of ever increasing opportunities to purchase ‘toys’ classified as ‘drones’… have you ever wanted to fly a drone? Have you ever asked yourself the question… should I buy a drone or build? This presentation will discuss why the term ‘drone’ should be most generally referred to as… ‘multi-rotor copter’ and not UAV (unmanned autonomous vehicle) or drone. This presentation will discuss the basics of how a multi-rotor works… the steps to build a multi-rotor… including details on flight controllers, frame selection, motors and props (including determining what type of multi-rotor will suite your purpose), speed controllers and batteries. There are a lot of variables… all of these details will be broken down, making the process of building your first copter a ‘flight in the park’. At the end… a flying multi-rotor copter will be air-worthy and demonstrated.

About DJ Daugherty

DJ has been using state models and asynchronous processing for many years to solve business problems for companies of all sizes. As small as a logistics software company responsible for the routing of trucks, a web hosting company responsible for the handling of website malware detection, to large-scale financial electronic processing and natural gas logistics management. I currently freelance within the technology and agile world along side Pillar Technology Consultants. I like to create business solutions for business problems... this might include the use of technology. I am all about people. I love to take seemingly complex problems and find simple solutions, providing business value and hopefully a great return on investment.

Chris Trevarthen: Climbing the Testing Pyramid in iOS

MCC 1/2, Saturday, 11:00 AM


Chris will walk through building an iOS app that has well-tested business logic, service integration, and UI. To get maximum test coverage, he’ll demonstrate the tests that are most appropriate for each level of your app. He’ll review the testing frameworks available for Objective-C and Swift and show you how to get them up and running so you can quickly add tests to your app.

About Chris Trevarthen

Chris is originally from the 23rd century, where he was interning at the Black Mesa Chronotransport Research Facility. Being the newest team member, he was first given menial tasks like making coffee, filing papers, and killing Hitler. Unfortunately during a routine experiment, a nasty off-by-one error sent him back to 2012 Detroit. Stranded and vowing to never let such a simple error crash his software again, Chris decided to share the importance of test-driven development with the past. Today, he spends his time developing iOS apps at Detroit Labs and hoping that each green test will be his ticket home.

Sara Gibbons: Code #LikeAGirl

MCC 1/2, Saturday, 2:00 PM


What does it mean to "Code like a girl"? When you hear that do have a negative or positive reaction? Women remain a minority in the male dominated software development field. Often passed over for promotions, paid less, and are 45% more likely to abandon their careers. It seems the negative "like a girl" mentality carries into the technology field. But is "coding like a girl" really a bad thing? The goal of this session is to leave both men and women feeling proud to say they can "code like a girl".

About Sara Gibbons

Sometimes chef, full-time mom, but 100% geek, Sara Gibbons spent her youth building Legos, solving puzzles, and playing video games. Little did she know it was priming her for an amazing Software Engineering career.

After 15 years working for companies ranging from small startups, to the big 3, Sara is now a Software Engineer at Mutually Human where she can fully embrace her love of all things geeky.

Sara co-organizes Girl Develop It Ann Arbor, and Detroit.rb as well as participates in many other local groups where she enjoys learning, teaching, and mentoring.

Madalyn Rose Parker: Coming Clean About Mental Health at Work

MCC 1/2, Saturday, 10:00 AM


Statistically, 1 in 5 of us suffers from mental illness. Unfortunately, the stigma that follows sickness of the mind keeps discussions surrounding mental wellness to a minimum in the workplace.

I’d like to tell you about my experience as a female engineer who openly shared details of my personal struggle with depression and anxiety with a founder of the company I work for. This spurred a company-wide presentation on ways that emotional and mental hurdles can affect work, different treatment options, and best practices for supporting coworkers.

I want to talk about what Olark did to make me feel comfortable taking the leap of faith, what you can look for (and push for) at your workplace, and offer an example of success for those who struggle with mental obstacles.

About Madalyn Rose Parker

Madalyn is a web developer fueled by live music (and coffee) and at the constant beck and call of her pet rabbits and cat. She’s spent the past year working for Olark in Ann Arbor.

Orta Therox: Contributing to Open Source doesn’t require changing the world

MCC 1/2, Saturday, 1:00 PM


Many people consider themselves not good enough to contribute back to the larger Open Source community. They’re wrong. All communities need fresh ideas, perspectives and a range in levels of expertise. There are many ways to contribute to a community from copyediting, improving documentation and triaging issues. Sometimes all it takes is for someone to give a project a direction. We will cover examples of contributions that I’ve seen in my time working in the open source community.

About Orta Therox

Orta runs the mobile team at Artsy, where they do Open Source by Default. He’s also the design dictator at CocoaPods, the Cocoa dependency manager.

Aisha Blake: Creating a Safe Space: Embracing Diversity In The Workplace


Working in tech can be an exciting, fast-paced adventure in which everyone is focused on solving a complex problem as efficiently as possible. When we put too much focus on the end goal, though, and not enough on how we function as a team, this sort of environment can be hard on those who don't fit the developer stereotype. Does your casual workplace culture encourage off-color jokes? Is there someone who has great ideas when speaking one-on-one, but doesn't contribute as much to group conversations? In this session, we'll talk about some of the unique challenges being a member of one or more minority groups poses to tech professionals. You'll walk away with strategies to help you actively work on recognizing those challenges and minimizing your contribution to them.

About Aisha Blake

Aisha Blake is a Senior Software Engineer at Gatsby. She supports her local community by co-organizing , self.conference, and Detroit Speakers in Tech. A theatre kid turned tech community leader, she approaches speaking and teaching as a way to give others the tools to shine as brightly as they can. In her spare time, she sings karaoke and pets dogs.

Julie Cameron: Decoupling the Front-end through Modular CSS

MCC 3, Friday, 11:00 AM


CSS is hard. It’s a simple language, but getting it right and avoiding specificity hell can be a challenge if you don’t have the right framework to back you up. Especially in large scaling projects, you might start adding ID selectors here and !important properties there and the next thing you know you’ve backed yourself into a corner where even the smallest of UI changes will take hours to work out. Ew.

Or how about this? Ever jump into a project and find that even the slightest markup change results in broken JavaScript AND sometimes even broken backend feature tests?! WTF. Ew.

This talk will look at how taking a modular, object-oriented approach to CSS can turn frontend woes into frontend wins. We’ll examine modern CSS approaches like OOCSS, SMACSS, and BEM and demonstrate how they will help to not only decouple your CSS styles and reduce specificity conflicts, but how they will also help to decouple your CSS and HTML from your JavaScript and feature specs.

About Julie Cameron

Julie Cameron is a frontend developer for Articulate working in remotely from Ypsilanti. She is co-founder of the Ann Arbor chapter of Girl Develop It and instructor at Girl Develop It Detroit. Julie is a fan of Sassy CSS and modular architecture, responsive web design, and is a student of JavaScript and self-improvement.

Alex Harms: Empathy & Gender Diversity: AMA


Empathy & Gender Diversity: AMA

AMA means Ask Me Anything.

Gender is confusing. You grew up being told you can tell someone's gender by their body parts. Now colleagues are telling you everything you know is wrong. Your teammate wants to you to use new pronouns. They tell you their body parts are none of your business. They want to use the "wrong" bathroom. They say there are way more than two genders! And you dare not ask your questions, because you want to be a nice, caring ally. How are you supposed to wrap your head around this stuff?

In this session, you'll get an intro to gender diversity, and learn where folks are coming from. You'll also get to ask your questions without getting in trouble.

Session ground rules
1. Any question is ok, if it comes from a desire to understand.
2. It's ok to briefly expose your biases and your ideas, as long as it's to clarify your question.
3. No playing Devil's Advocate, and no debating.

You might laugh &/or cry. You'll definitely learn something, and come away better connected, and, if you choose to be, a better ally.

About Alex Harms

Alex Harms is a team coach and occasional coder who wants to make the world a little gentler for developers and tech teams. From a place of mindfulness and empathy, Alex helps disempower fear, strengthen communication, and build connection, so that tech teams learn together and thrive. Author of the Little Guide to Empathetic Technical Leadership. Coach at Maitria.

Ashley Hathaway: Everything is fine. Nothing is fine. Lessons learned from transitioning roles.


A look at failures and successes for anyone interested in making the jump from one part of the organization to another. Whether you're a UX designer that secretly loves programming or a product manager needing something more, this session reflects on lessons learned and delightful missteps in the wacky world of software development.

In this talk we'll look at why the hunger to learn and continued exploration can lead to a bumpy path, and why that path is so important. We'll explore key takeaways from folks that have made a career transition and lived to tell the tale.

About Ashley Hathaway

Ashley Hathaway is a product manager who believes great design is great business. She excels in telling stories that distill large ideas into executable visions. Her previous role as a UX designer and front-end developer help her develop the product vision from holistic idea to tactile execution. Her process is rooted in scalability and collaboration while always maintaining a sense of humor.

Ashley is currently working for IBM Watson as part of the IBM Design Studio in Austin, Texas.

Jeff Casimir: Excellent Technical Interviews

MCC 3, Friday, 2:00 PM


Over the past three years I've helped a hundred new developers find great jobs. Some are at tiny startups and some at huge enterprises. But most technical interview processes are a mess. They have unclear goals, a poorly thought-through process, and yield unclear results.

Featuring observations from some of my favorite processes (ThoughtWorks, Pivotal Labs, and Mode Set) we'll explore a rational, organized process for (A) defining the ideal characteristics you're looking for and (B) discovering how well an applicant aligns with those traits.

The session will follow this general outline:

1. What should you be looking for in a technical interview?
2. How technical interviews go wrong
3. Exemplar processes from three excellent interview processes
4. Why do those processes work?
5. A strategy for designing or re-designing your own interview process

Attendees will walk away with a better understanding of what their peers are doing for technical interviews, strategies for designing an interview process, and motivation to improve what they're doing.

I've been on the "inside" interviewing several developers per day for an enterprise team, interviewed candidates for my own small team, and most importantly coached over a hundred developers through the application/interview/contract as they enter new jobs. I've been amazed to see the variety, for better or worse, across processes. It's become clear to me that we can do better.

Through this session I hope to start a dialogue of transparency around interviews. There's no reason a process needs to be shrouded in secrecy. There are hundreds or thousands of developers who've taken Pivotal's RPI, but that doesn't make it any easier to get a job there. Effective evaluation processes don't rely on surprise.

About Jeff Casimir

I'm the Executive Director at the Turing School of Software & Design in Denver, Colorado. I've been teaching and running schools for 12 years, and helped start the short-term developer training movement with Hungry Academy in 2012, gSchool in 2013, and Turing in 2014.

Maddy Andrade: From Sand To Tech: How To Overcome Cultural Expectations

MCC 3, Saturday, 10:00 AM


My speech will focus on the cultural gender roles that aim to guide you in the "gender appropriate" profession of your "choice". As well as the importance of listening to your own voice when the noise of cultural expectations ring loud. In my case, it was changing careers and following my voice to programming.

I grew up in a Latin household in Saudi Arabia. Needless to say, there was a dominant expectation of how men and women were to behave and goals they must accomplish. I will be talking about the different expectations between men and women. More specifically about how every decision a woman makes needs to be revolved around their roles as a wife/mother and how these expectations impact their career paths, if that's even a choice they are allowed to make.

I will then be take my own experience of going against these expectations and finally following my desire to become a programmer. As well as express how this is a daunting decision. Especially when going against what you've been expected to do and go into a male dominated tech culture.

Ultimately this talk is to encourage women to follow their dreams and professional aspersions. To give them a push and support they need to drown out the noise of cultural expectations and following their real voice. Not the one molded by the world around them.

About Maddy Andrade

I'm originally from Ecuador, grew in in Saudi Arabia, and moved to the U. S. in 2006.I graduated from the University of Michigan, with a B.S. in Neuroscience. Currently I'm working in Nutshell as a marketing intern and teaching myself how to program through attending various Girl Develop It events in Ann Arbor, online material, and a lot of determination.

Jennifer Marsman: Fun with Mind Reading

MCC 1/2, Friday, 11:00 AM


As a technology geek, I was very excited to receive a headset from Emotiv that reads brain waves. (Watch the fabulous TED talk at!) I immediately conducted a variety of crazy experiments on myself, my husband, and my kids: a "lie detector" test comparing brain waves when telling the truth and lying, how men and women’s brains respond to the same stimuli, and analyzing a baby’s brain waves to determine if he is hungry, tired, overstimulated, bored, etc. In this session, I will share some interesting analytics on the raw EEG data I’ve collected and the data processing and machine learning used in these experiments. You will have fun, read minds, and see some neat data analytics too!

About Jennifer Marsman

Jennifer Marsman is a Principal Developer Evangelist in Microsoft’s Developer and Platform Evangelism group, where she educates developers on Microsoft’s new technologies. In this role, Jennifer is a frequent speaker at software development conferences across the United States. In 2009, Jennifer was chosen as "Techie whose innovation will have the biggest impact" by X-OLOGY for her work with GiveCamps, a weekend-long event where developers code for charity. She has also received many honors from Microsoft, including the Central Region Top Contributor Award, Heartland District Top Contributor Award, DPE Community Evangelist Award, CPE Champion Award, MSUS Diversity & Inclusion Award, and Gold Club. Prior to becoming a Developer Evangelist, Jennifer was a software developer in Microsoft’s Natural Interactive Services division. In this role, she earned two patents for her work in search and data mining algorithms. Jennifer has also held positions with Ford Motor Company, National Instruments, and Soar Technology. Jennifer holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Engineering and Master’s Degree in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Her graduate work specialized in artificial intelligence and computational theory. Jennifer blogs at and tweets at

Dawn Kuczwara: Give Up

MCC 3, Saturday, 11:00 AM


Regardless of your technical field, most of us “grew up” as hands on resources. Because of that background, it’s sometimes difficult to turn control of a project over to someone we perceive to be less experienced than ourselves. And yet the inability to allow others to manage their own work, make their own mistakes and find their own path hinders their development and turns senior staff and leaders into the dreaded Micro-manager. Only by letting go can those around us grow. But more importantly, giving up control helps technical leaders expand their skills in leadership and in their area of expertise.

This talk will cover:

  • What does it mean to hold on, professionally (with examples)

  • What are the negative aspects of holding on? (there are many)

  • Who benefits when you give up control? (you, and your team)

  • How do I get from control freak to Zen master?

    • How to recognize when it’s time to give up (and when it’s not)

    • It ain’t easy – the pitfalls of giving up control (and how to avoid them)

About Dawn Kuczwara

Dawn Kuczwara has been working in tech for over 17 years and in a number of industries, including video games, defense, medical and interactive television (where, incidentally, she was part of a team that won a technical Emmy). Beginning as a developer she migrated, over time to leading diverse teams spanning the full SDLC, security and support. But her true passion lies in mentoring and leading technical teams and in creating highly intuitive and usable applications.

Eli White: How I Learned to Stop Caring and Made Better Software


Best practices are important, but are they always the best for your situation? I spent years working on large software projects where best practices were crucial. Milestone planning, multiple code branching, 99.9% uptime requirements, heavy testing, deployment processes, etc. But I then blindly applied those to every project afterwards. In retrospect, that hurt many projects, especially in smaller companies or startups where speed of innovation was more important and downtime acceptable. In this session, learn from my experience and discover where cutting corners is not only acceptable, but better for the project. At the same time, learn which practices are crucial and should be used no matter what!

About Eli White

Eli has been building Web Applications for 20 years and fell in love with PHP the day that PHP 4 was released. Since then he's been a strong advocate for PHP and used it in every project he's worked on. He is currently the Managing Editor and Conference Chair for php[architect] and Founding Partner & CTO of He is also an avid writer (blogs, articles and books), and has spoken at numerous conferences.

Jared Faris: How Long Will It Take? - A Guide to Software Estimation


"How long will it take?" is something no developer ever likes to hear. Developers don't work in a vacuum though and someone in the business will probably want to do some planning. This talk will start with why you need to be good at estimating and cover some fallacies surrounding estimation in Agile shops. Then we'll discuss multiple ways to perform estimates and the pros and cons of each. You'll leave this talk having a better sense for why estimation is important, tools to make it easier, and hopefully less fear of the word.

About Jared Faris

Jared is a Microsoft MVP and the VP of Technology and Solutions at HMB (, an IT services company based out of Columbus, OH. His focus is on building great development teams through training, mentoring, and prodigious amounts of caffeine. He’s spent years building web applications with cloud and mobile experience. Jared helps organize the Stir Trek, CloudDevelop and Dog Food conferences as well as a variety of other events in and around Columbus, OH and is a frequent speaker at regional events; if he doesn't have some conference deadline he doesn't know what to do with himself. You can find out more about him at or follow him @jaredthenerd.

Anne Cahalan: How To Be A Real Developer In Two Easy Steps!


Fighting imposter syndrome? Feel like you aren't *really* a Real Developer? Allow me to share the fast, easy, two-step process to conquering all that and becoming a REAL Developer! What are these two magical steps, you ask?

Um. Well. That's where it gets complicated...

About Anne Cahalan

Anne Cahalan is an application developer at Detroit Labs and a survivor of their apprenticeship program. She makes apps with Xcode, sweaters with sticks, and cocktails with bourbon.

Suyash Joshi: How to Fix Software Bugs: Stronger, Faster, Better


As software developers, over 50% of our time is spent fixing bugs in the application code we wrote or maintain. There has been a lot said and discussed about unit testing, regression testing, etc., and in spite of following the best TDD practices, fixing bugs still seems like a inevitable chore.

Debugging is a learned craft, and it's the most efficient use of time if you learn the best practices from others vs. going through the learning cycle on your own.

In this class you will learn:

Five key principles and strategies that will help you easily triage and fix various types of software bugs (UI/UX, Framework, Application Logic, Performance & Security bugs), and most effective debugging practices for your applications.

These principles will help you get into the correct frame of mind while approaching bug fixing, and it will not feel like shooting arrows in the dark.

The use cases will be presented in the form of case studies of the most common and dreadful bugs and subtle errors. Familiarity with Java, JavaScript will be helpful as code snippets will be in those two languages.

About Suyash Joshi

Suyash works as senior software engineer at Oracle. He is working on Oracle's enterprise Mobile Framework based on for Android & iOS development. He is particularly passionate about developer productivity and UX.

He also enjoys teaching, speaking and running developer meetups in the bay area, such as the Bay Area Android Developer meetup, local Java User Group, SV Mobile Dev + Design group.

Bill Laboon: How Would Plato Program? : The Ethics of Software Engineering

MCC 1/2, Saturday, 4:00 PM


We all want to write good software... but what does it mean for software to be "good"? If you ask a CEO, an open-source developer, and a computer science professor, you'll get very different answers. We'll take a guided tour of the history of ethical thought and apply it to software development in order to understand how others have defined it, and perhaps help to develop your own ethical framework. Along the way, we'll answer questions such as: What would Nietzsche say about malware developers? How are contracting companies like Moses? Would Kant write closed-source software?

About Bill Laboon

A software engineer of one kind or another for over fifteen years, Bill also spends his evenings teaching courses in Software Testing and Software Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh.

Jonathan Kuperman: Inclusive Web: Getting started with Accessibility

MCC 3, Friday, 4:00 PM


An inclusive Web means reaching all technology users, including those with with visual impairments, motor impairments, and more. This talk covers a range of topics on Web Accessibility from the basic to the advanced. Let’s make the Web more accessible together!

We will start with a discussion of keyboard shortcuts:
How and why they are used
Case studies of highly usable sites, including Twitter and Facebook
Ways you can easily get started with keyboard shortcuts on your site

From there, we will move to screen readers and accessibility for the visually impaired. We will demo using some popular websites with the screen turned off to learn how screen readers work. Next, we will look at some easy wins for making non-accessible websites more usable via semantic naming and ARIA attributes. Finally, we’ll cover several existing tools and best practices for developing Accessible UIs every time you code.

About Jonathan Kuperman

I am a web developer at Twitter, currently living in San Francisco. I’m passionate about Open Source Software and the open web, and spend most of my free time learning, reading, blogging and teaching.

Brian Genisio: JavaScript Robotics? Not a bad idea.

MCC 1/2, Friday, 10:00 AM


JavaScript is seeing its renaissance right now. All the cool kids are coding JavaScript everywhere they can. But robotics? Really? Doesn’t that sound like a bad idea? I’d like to show you the opposite: why JavaScript robotics is NOT a bad idea! It turns out that the same things that make JavaScript great for the web also make JavaScript great for robotics. Enter Johnny-Five: a JavaScript robotics platform with beautiful abstractions. We’ll discover the power of Johnny-Five and explore the possibilities of controlling low-cost electronics to manipulate the real world with a much more accessible language than C/C++.

About Brian Genisio

Brian Genisio is a passionate software developer in Ann Arbor, MI and an active member of the Michigan software community including co-organizing the SouthEast Michigan JavaScript Users’ Group. For almost 15 years, Brian has worked with countless languages and technologies. Currently, he is focusing on front-end development stacks, mostly JavaScript-based. He also loves to talk about software. He can talk your ear off. Just humor him. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking, cycling, building JavaScript-powered robots, and playing with his kids.

Anne Cahalan, Chris Trevarthen, Kyle Ofori, Will Hinchman: Megateam vs Code-nado: Lessons Learned While Working on a Large Team

@northofnormal, @malusman, @KyleOfori, @hinchable

Working on a large team can be crazy. "Why are we wasting all of our time in meetings?" "Who wants to respond to this email from the client?" "Will bringing this new person onboard slow us down so we miss our deadline?" "Whose turn is it to make sure the build goes out to the client this week?" "Why are we doing the same things over and over and not getting any better?"

At Detroit Labs, one of our largest project teams consists of 20 people - a designer, QA, Android and iOS developers, and a delivery lead - yet we all manage to work as a cohesive group and have fun doing it. We’ll talk about how we manage to keep small team performance and agility while gaining advantages of scale. From hiring to onboarding, keeping work flowing, QAed, and delivered, even how we choose our music, we’ll share our experiences about what keeps the Megateam going strong.

About Anne Cahalan

Anne Cahalan is an application developer at Detroit Labs and a survivor of their apprenticeship program. She makes apps with Xcode, sweaters with sticks, and cocktails with bourbon.

About Chris Trevarthen

Chris is originally from the 23rd century, where he was interning at the Black Mesa Chronotransport Research Facility. Being the newest team member, he was first given menial tasks like making coffee, filing papers, and killing Hitler. Unfortunately during a routine experiment, a nasty off-by-one error sent him back to 2012 Detroit. Stranded and vowing to never let such a simple error crash his software again, Chris decided to share the importance of test-driven development with the past. Today, he spends his time developing iOS apps at Detroit Labs and hoping that each green test will be his ticket home.

About Kyle Ofori

Brandy appeared from Reach, ready to code or change the world, or both if possible.

Kyle Ofori has been a mobile developer at Detroit Labs since September 2014. His primary platform is Android, though he has since explored iOS and web development languages. He is a graduate of Detroit Labs' apprenticeship program. Kyle enjoys teaching young people about the fundamentals of computer programming as a way to provide them with new opportunities; he is currently co-teaching a course in web development. He is an enthusiastic resident of Detroit.

About Will Hinchman

Damaged by an ironic explosion at a fire extinguisher factory, Anne, Will, Kyle and Chris were inducted into a secret government program to build a bionic super team. As is custom, the government spared no expense to upgrade these once-normal citizens with enhanced sarcasm, dungeon mastery, and sense of smell. Using their newly-gifted abilities, the Megateam have been fighting crime, singing karaoke, and writing kick-ass apps at Detroit Labs to make the world a better place.

Julia Nguyen: Opening up Conversations about Mental Health in Computer Science Education

MCC 1/2, Saturday, 3:00 PM


Based on my journey and others, this talk is on mental illness, self-esteem, and female identity as a computer science undergraduate student. It advocates for more supportive environments for students to show vulnerability and empathy in the education system.

About Julia Nguyen

Julia Nguyen is a developer from Toronto studying computer science at the University of Waterloo. In her spare time, she writes and speaks about empathy, diversity, and mental health in STEM education and in the tech pipeline. She is also working on if me, an open-source community for mental health experiences.

Priya Rajagopal: Practical RESTful Webservices API Design

MCC 3, Saturday, 1:00 PM


Over the years, REST has grown in popularity as the preferred way of publishing and consuming web services. Clients access such services through an implementation-agnostic interface that allow for the standard CRUD operations. Designing an API that conforms to the REST architectural principles is a non-trivial task that can get quite challenging especially for complex web applications.
More often than not, we end up with APIs that are “somewhat” RESTful that can be quite a pain for the consumers of the API to adopt.
This talk will provide an overview of the guiding principles behind RESTful APIs. We will discuss the common pitfalls and anti-patterns to avoid and will discuss a practical approach to designing a simple and intuitive RESTful interface.

About Priya Rajagopal

Priya Rajagopal has been professionally developing and architecting software solutions for over 15 years. She is currently leading the mobile development efforts at a startup in Ann Arbor, Michigan and in her spare time, does freelance mobile app development, consulting and mentoring. She is an active member of the local mobile development community where she frequently talks on mobile development related topics and co-organizes the Mobile Monday, Ann Arbor meetup group. Prior to mobile development, she worked on a range of technologies including IPTV, Social TV, targeted advertising, network management and platform security and is a co-inventor of several US patents. More on her work at

Nayan Hajratwala: Refactoring Real Legacy Code

MCC 3, Friday, 3:00 PM


The many trivial testing and refactoring examples available on the web are difficult for developers to apply to real-world code bases. As a result, many "new to agile" developers don't attempt to apply tests or refactorings to legacy code, reserving these techniques for the ever elusive greenfield project.
To help developers with this dilemma, this session will walk through a real legacy Java code base, and go through the steps required to bring the code under test & begin to perform useful refactorings.

About Nayan Hajratwala

Nayan Hajratwala is the owner of Chikli Consulting. A Lean/Agile Coach with over 15 years of hands-on experience delivering software, he has significant programming experience and is a deep technologist always exploring new languages and ideas. His specialties include training software teams to increase their productivity and decrease their time-to-market while improving the quality of their product.

Nayan has been involved in the organizing committees at the main Agile 20xx conferences and is a speaker at many user groups and conferences in the Midwest. He is also on the Board of Directors for Southeast Michigan's Agile & Beyond conference.

He is one of the founders of CodeRetreat, designed to increase the skill level of developers through techniques such as Test Driven Development, Pair Programming, and Simple Design.

Kristina Thai: Reusable Native Mobile Components


Reusable components are great tools that provide a quick, out-of-the-box solution for developers. There are many examples of these "plug-and-play" widgets used today in web development, but this engineering practice is less known in the native mobile space. Native mobile components can be defined as pieces of a native mobile application experience. An example of this could be seen in the mobile app Evernote. This is primarily a note-taking app, but also allows you to take a picture of paper notes. The camera portion of Evernote could be considered it’s own "component" and be built separately from the rest of the app.

Reusable mobile components have a slight twist on them – they have the same base definition, but with one addendum: they must also be generic. Reusable mobile components are ones that can be used across multiple apps, and may or may not render their own user interfaces. They are typically UI widgets or experiences that are common to many apps. Some examples of this are the Shinobi Controls charting components or even something as simple as the "pull-to-refresh" experience.

Reusable components are a great way to develop and have many advantages, but there are also some disadvantages to this method.


  • Open source model

  • Build once, support many (code reuse)

  • Expertise in component area

  • Faster app completion

  • More productive customer teams


  • Longer development time

  • Maintaining generic model

In this talk, I’ll clearly define what reusable mobile components are, alleviating any myths or concerns about them. Then, I will highlight the pros and cons of this development practice walking through technical examples of current mobile widgets.

About Kristina Thai

Kristina Thai is currently an iOS software engineer at Intuit. She works on the QuickBooks Self-Employed iOS app. Kristina is an avid blogger at and spends her time writing iOS and watchOS development tutorials and blogging about her early career experience. She started her engineering career after graduating from the University of California, San Diego with a degree in Computer Science. Fun fact: she follows more animals on Instagram than people.

Dave Zwieback: Running a self-organizing/self-managing team (or company)


There’s been a lot of publicity about organizations that are working without managers (for example, Valve, Github, Medium, and most recently Zappos). However, is the absence of managers in their organizations their Achilles heel?

Anyone who’s worked “under” a command-and-control manager will find the idea of getting rid managers at least mildly appealing. Moreover, if these organizations are really working in self-managing or self-directed ways—if individuals truly get to pick their work and how they get it done—it seems that the traditional role of manager as someone who tells you what to do is redundant and unnecessary. However, are there aspects of “traditional” management that remain relevant in such organizations? Are there new approaches that managers must adopt in such organizations?

This talk is based on my experience as a “manager” in a largely self-managing/self-organizing company (Next Big Sound), as well as several self-managing teams at previous companies. I will discuss the stages of a gradual transition from a more traditional to a self-managing organization, including challenges along the way. I will also cover the critical role of managing individual engagement in such organizations, as well as practical ways of maximizing it. Finally, I’ll focus on the importance of transparency and accountability, and how managers can foster it.

About Dave Zwieback

Dave Zwieback is VP, Engineering at Next Big Sound and Next Big Book. He has previously worked with the adaptive learning startup Knewton, the quantitative investment management firm D.E. Shaw & Co., and Morgan Stanley. He also ran a consultancy for 7 years. Dave is the author of "Being Blameless: The Best Way To Learn From Failure (and Success)", coming in 2015 from O'Reilly Media.

Nathan Dotz: Scala: the pointy bits

MCC 3, Friday, 1:00 PM


Ever wondered exactly what the multi-paradigm, multi-platform powerhouse language Scala contains that your current language doesn't? Scala is by no means a small language or ecosystem, and the variety of styles it allows you to mix and match can be overwhelming, especially for new adopters.

The goal of this whirlwind tour is to get you, the experienced object-oriented developer, through your first day using the patterns and best practices that unleash the power and flexibility that only Scala can provide. You'll get to see a cookbook full of code samples demonstrating the intermediate and advanced principles that make Scala a unique and rewarding everyday language. After a few customary slides and a brief summary of syntax, we'll dive right in to an all-code adventure to tackle topics like:

- Preference for immutability
- Types: inference, annotations, parameters, and safety
- Collections: batteries included
- Next-level OO: case classes, companion objects, and traits
- Pattern matching
- Recursion without blowing the stack
- Functions as objects and vice versa
- Supercharged types: algebraic data types, type bounds, and implicit conversions
- Practical Composition, partial application, and currying

Come learn how Scala is more than just a nice collections library, but rather a diverse language that allows you to combine principles from a variety of language families all in the same project and environment.

About Nathan Dotz

Nathan is a software engineer at Detroit Labs, where miracles are performed on mobile devices. He’s an open-source contributor, an open-education advocate, and a functional programming fanboy.

Kevin Poniatowski: Secure the App, Save the World


Recent highly publicized attacks, such as the one against Sony Pictures, shows how disruptive black hat hackers can be to our organizations. But too often, development teams are sprinting with a misguided understanding of how to protect customer and corporate sensitive data. Reliance on firewalls, encryption, and DLP tools without knowledge of the actual targets of the black hats leads to a false sense of security that a skilled attacker will quickly expose. This talk will walk developers through eight language neutral coding techniques that will harden their applications and mitigate the risk of their sensitive data being sold on the black market.

About Kevin Poniatowski

Kevin travels the world in his role as a Senior Security Instructor for Security Innovation, teaching employees at an array of organizations about information and application security topics.
Kevin entered the application security field in 2007 with Security Innovation, where he split time between application security course development and delivering instructor-led courses. He began his software career in 1996 working for more than a decade as an application developer in the defense industry, where he focused on flight safety for pilots and navigators within the armed forces.
Kevin has spoken at many security conferences on topics ranging from Secure Software Development Life Cycle best practices to BYOD and mobile device security. He also has been entertaining audiences with his quirky sense of humor in comedy clubs around the United States since 2012.

Heather White: Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone: Learning to Teach

MCC 3, Saturday, 4:00 PM


As a developer you spend your entire life learning. But what happens when the tables are turned and you become the teacher? Do you want to become a conference speaker, talk at your local user group, give presentations at work, or become a technical trainer? As a previous classroom teacher with a Master's Degree in Curriculum Development, I will take you on a journey to understand the various learning styles and how to effectively reach everyone. We will look at how to present your information, best ways to structure it, and learn ways to reach all students no matter their level. We will also cover a number of best practices for crafting your presentation decks themselves. Join me for this exploration into the inner workings of the human mind.

About Heather White

Heather has held various jobs in the past, ranging from teaching elementary school to being a project manager and trainer for the Army’s medical research program.  She holds a Bachelors of Biology and a Masters in Curriculum Development.  Currently she uses her background in curriculum and teaching to head up the Training Program at php[architect], as well as being their customer service lead. Heather is also a self proclaimed geek and enjoys Sci-Fi, Medieval reenactment, and board games.

Jer Lance: Strong Teams as Healthy Communities


It is easy to know when you're on an unhealthy team, and only slightly less difficult to know when you're on a healthy one--but what makes your team a healthy one? The same things that make for a healthy community. Topics covered will include:
* Healthy communication
* Team dynamics
* Avoiding the 'aces in their places' trap
* Team longevity
* Hiring for a healthy community

About Jer Lance

Jer started writing rudimentary software at 8 years old on a TRS-80 and still considers that to be very near the apex of his learning and coding skill. A veteran problem solver, he is equally excited about problems both highly technical and soft-and-social, and spends his time writing code, leading development teams, speaking about technology and tech culture, and teaching software development. When he's not nose deep in code or books, he can be found kayaking, cycling, and napping (in the exact opposite order).

Jason Petterson: Tales of Game Development with LibGDX - A Postmortem


Game Development is scary; there are so many languages, libraries, and IDEs to choose from! This talk will advocate the pros and woes of my current favorite weapon of choice: LibGDX. I will go over my experience creating a simple side scrolling beat em up starting from design all the way to a fully playable first level. LibGDX is a cross platform game development library, but for the purposes of this talk we will focus exclusively on making a game for Android with touch controls.

About Jason Petterson

A Michigan native, Jason is the Founder of Broken Shotgun L.L.C., a Metro Detroit Game Development Company, and is also an Android Developer at Detroit Labs. When Jason is not developing, he is usually improvising at Planet Ant Theatre or Go! Comedy. He loves ABBA, coffee, and craft beers.

Daniel Davis: TDD vs. ATDD - What, Why, Which, When & Where?

MCC 1/2, Friday, 4:00 PM


Join in for a discussion about Test Driven Development (TDD) and Acceptance Test Driven Development (ATDD) and start to explore the differences between them. Get some insight into why we use them and the advantages and disadvantages of both, as well as, get a better understanding of which should be used where and when. By the end of the session you should be well along the path to TDD vs. ATDD enlightenment.

About Daniel Davis

Daniel Davis is a Business Improvement Consultant, Agile Practitioner, Polyglot Developer, Innovator, Hacker, and Maker. He has been working in Agile and Agile Software Development for the last 10 years. Currently, he is an Executive Consultant with Pillar and has spent the last few years focused on driving solutions at an enterprise level working with companies such as ACSI, Delphi, AAA Life, General Motors, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cengage Learning, and Delta Dental. Daniel’s prior work background includes a wide range of disciplines such as mobile development, web development, design, marketing, and photography. His prevailing passion lies in helping businesses and people discover the true value in their efforts.

Les Orchard: The Cloud is Your Free Hobby Computer


Thanks to Moore's Law and weird business models on the Internet, a lot of computing power can be had free-of-charge. GitHub will keep & share your code; Cloud9 will let you edit it; Travis CI will test it; Heroku & Amazon will run it. This talk aims to describe ways to take advantage of services like these for fun & learning, as well as answering the question "What's the catch?"

About Les Orchard

serially enthusiastic, caffeine-dependent; {web,mad,computer} scientist; {tech,scifi} writer; home{brew,roast}er; mozillian

Nancy Lyons: There Is No Work/Life Balance


Culture is deliberate. You build it just like you build your business. The way people feel at work has a direct impact on the bottom line. What’s more - your brand and your culture are inextricably intertwined. And yet most organizations spend more time on their story than they spend thinking about how to align that story with their culture in a way that best supports their people. And the people are everything. So how do you build a values-driven culture that promotes whole life balance while also emphasizing the work ethic you need to fuel a successful business? We’re going to answer that question and others you didn’t even know you had. Because there is no work/life balance. It’s way better than that.

About Nancy Lyons

Nancy works at the intersection of technology, community, and people. As a leader and technologist, she creates solutions that further community and business goals by meeting the needs of individuals. Her guiding philosophy is that a human-centered approach to technology is the only way to get results that make a difference. Problem solving is about empowerment: motivated people create good products. Nancy supports clients and teams by fostering a collaborative, idea-driven culture that nurtures creativity and brainpower. More about Nancy at

Jen Bloomer: THEY ALL KNOW I'M A FRAUD! (You're Not): Navigating Impostor Syndrome on the Earth


Do you ever feel like you're a weirdo or a dummy in a sea of well put together, intelligent wizards? Yes? No? Maybe something a little less dramatic, but approaching the same sensibility? You aren't alone. So many of us walk around with the weight of being "found out" on our shoulders. We aren't smart/capable/experienced/"______" enough... and we're an instant away from being exposed. It often leads us to hesitate to speak, be proactive, ask questions and otherwise do the things that we need to do to grow as developers, leaders, and humans. Guess what? You're pretty awesome. And nobody around you is a wizard, probably. This talk focuses on what Impostor Syndrome is, why we experience it, and some tools to burst through that brick wall of insecurity that's holding us back (just like the Kool-Aid man, but less terrifying).

About Jen Bloomer

Jen Bloomer is an iOS developer at Detroit Labs and an improviser, writer and instructor at Go Comedy! Improv Theater in Ferndale. She is a nap expert, lover of tacos, and generally impervious to public embarrassment.

Kristen Smith: Turn your Raspberry Pi into a retro-gaming console


If you have a Raspberry Pi just sitting around collecting dust, or it's getting too hard to keep your (really) old consoles organized and hooked up to your fancy new TV (or both), you might find this talk useful. Playing retro games on the Raspberry Pi is where the party's at. Thanks to the hard work of others, this is now a very simple transformation for the rest of us. I'll talk about what it took for me to get this working on a cold, wintry Saturday afternoon, and any additional tweaking I may have done since then. You'll leave knowing exactly how crazy simple it is.

About Kristen Smith

Kristen is a software developer in Columbus, OH. She has been in software consulting since 2010. She has a passion for gadgets and for learning how to make them do cool things.

Amanda Stockwell: UX is not just for designers

MCC 3, Saturday, 2:00 PM


User Experience (UX) is a quickly growing and ever-important field. Companies are hiring scads of UX professionals to help understand their users and to craft positive experiences for those people. As software designers and developers, we traditionally think of utilizing UX tenets such as incorporating user research, interaction design, and visual design to build our products. However, the basic tenets of UX can be helpful in crafting almost any experience, from the way you interact with teammates to the way you connect with potential employers or existing clients. Let’s look at these tenets and some ways to utilize them in everyday business life.

About Amanda Stockwell

Amanda is the VP of UX at 352 inc. where she leads a team that provides user research, usability testing, and UX strategy services. Amanda's expertise has helped companies new to user experience to assimilate user-centered design into their existing processes. She's defined and executed user-research participant recruiting and scheduling processes and assisted in the UX sales process. Additionally, Amanda has unique career advancement insight from her tenure working with a top recruiting company. She has a human factors background and an engineering degree from Tufts University. When not performing UX magic, Amanda can be found teaching fitness classes, drinking mojitos, and sunbathing with her spoiled pooch, Bromer.

Kate Catlin: What do I do with my hands?!?!?


A practical guide to networking events for people who feel awkward at networking events.

What's a good opening line with people? What if you don't know anyone there? How do you stand? What if you have twitchy nervous habits? How can you keep conversation interesting? Most importantly -- how can this translate into you getting a job?

This will be a very interactive session and a welcome opening space for all, no judgement included.

About Kate Catlin

Kate Catlin was formerly the Community Manager at a Google Tech Hub, where she ran a plethora of networking events. Along the way she had to self-teach how to interact at such venues by watching many others succeed and fail. She's now an Android App Developer at Detroit Labs and remains passionate about helping others (especially women) find rewarding careers in tech.