Devops Days Chicago 2022 Recap

I had the opportunity to attend another DevOps Days Chicago which is a regional conference focused on software development, IT infrastructure operations, and the intersection between them called DevOps. This was the fourth DevOps days I have attended, third in person, and first as a speaker. Speaking of which it’s good to be able to get back to a conference in person. I’m an extrovert so I love meeting new people and don’t get that really from virtual conferences. You’ll learn a lot, but I missed that one part when I was a Developer Advocate at Coyote are used to attend a lot of conferences and user group meetings, and 2020 kind of put a stop to that in many ways. It was great to see people in person. People I hadn’t seen in a long time like from a company I left 2 years ago or from local user groups and find out what they’re up to now and how their life has changed over the last few years. It was great meeting new and future business partners and hearing from the vendors about what makes their products different than others. Heck even one TACO product vendors gave away 100 bucks cash for looking at and testing their product in a demo environment.

Breakout Session Topic board
Presenting the LMAO Helps During Outages reminder Iginite talk

Attending DevOps Days Chicago, in 2022 was a different experience as it was my first time speaking and presenting in Chicago my home city! and thought it was an ignite talk it was still exciting nonetheless. While I’m thinking about it this year seems to have been the year of me talking about how to deal with outages while remaining common and building the psychological confidence within your team to do the same. Trying to frame this into a night talk was a completely different experience. Getting the slides down to 20 and then delivering points within five seconds per slide it’s quite a unique challenge but it can’t be done.

Breakout Session Topic board
Breakout Session Topic board

There are a few things that make DevOps Days Chicago unique vs. other DevOps Days I’ve been to outside Chicago from my perspective. The first thing that comes to mind is the open space topics you find in Chicago are different vs. what you might find in any other location. Chicago, being heavy in the financial, logistics, and retail industries among others finds a lot of IT professionals here who want to talk about things related to that industry. Of course, we use a lot of the same tools, but how we use them to help us solve problems is very unique. Actually, this is my favorite part of attending DevOps Days conferences. Another thing that comes to mind is I feel like Chicago might be one of the few that I don’t see a keynote speaker at I feel like all the speakers are Keynote speakers. Also since most of the speakers are also attendees and practitioners of the DevOps mythology badging provided doesn’t distinguish between one or the other. I never thought of this as an important identifier until an organizer asked me about the speaker’s gift that I had received the previous day I was wearing.

One of the things I really like about the conference is continuous feedback opportunities. It begins with the code of conduct reviewed at the beginning of each day, it’s offered through the break out spaces offered, and through the survey collected each day to the attendees.

Key takeaways from this year’s conference:

  • IaC was the talk all over the place it’s no surprise. The number of people presenting about it and open spaces featuring this topic dominated and we’re quite full. Also while I’m thinking of it very few people knew of or didn’t care about using the Amazon CDK or Azure Bicep for automation.
  • The distinguishment between SRE, platform engineer, and Dev ops engineer roles are still kind of blurry. I expect the next few years to shape this up.
  • Security in the software supply chain is fresh to most of the attendees. One security vendor described it as the Wild West.
  • Tool sprawl isn’t as important to people as how to document their existence, and where to find documentation internally.
  • I get to catch so many of the talks on YouTube or while traveling to these conferences but the one I thought was the most interesting was Learning from your organization’s latest incident: How We Got Here it was presented by Vanessa from Jeli.