June 24, 2016

A visit to Berlin and to Droidcon

Last week I attended Droidcon Berlin, a big conference that takes place in every year. Droidcon is focused on Android - as the name would indicate - and is a fantastic opportunity to get together and network and learn more - from amazing speakers to the other participants and from sponsors and companies exhibiting. Droidcon has been running since 2009, and, according to the Droidcon.de website, there were 300 participants at the first Droidcon. My first Droidcon was last year, 2015, and that year there were over 800 participants! 2015 was the year  that I really got a bit obsessed with Android - and Droidcon was one of the reasons.

Droidcon has since it started 2009 spread out over the world. from Berlin to UK, to Greece, to Zagreb, to Dubai, to India and many other places - you can read about the history on the Droidcon international website.

Attending conferences is a fantastic opportunity to learn more - for Droidcon about the world of Android. The talks are generally very inspiring and I found especially the talks on Best Practise useful, especially since I am still learning especially coding for the the Android platform - I am not a real coder but one of those with a good technical overview and broad general knowledge, and I do a lot of IT project management and design related stuff. But when it comes to coding for Android I am still learning.

Anyone who has stopped by here before may also have figured out that I am passionate about usability and user experience - so I always try and attend those talks. I also very much enjoyed the keynotes the second day by Joanna Smith from Google, Android Development Yesterday and Today (and maybe tomorrow) - it was a fun walk along memory lane and while it didn't contain any technical details, it was really quite inspiring and a lot of fun. It was recorded and should be on the Droidcon Youtube Channel soon (June 24 2016)

droidcon Berlin 2016

Notice! This photos isn't mine, this is taken at Droidcon, by the Droidcon photographer. I have embedded it, meaning if you click on it you'd get to the channel that it came from and you can flick through the other official photos in the photo stream.

This year I had the luxury of being at Droidcon for three full days, and while the talks were really inspiring and interesting and taught me a lot, I also missed a lot of the ones I had planned to see, talks I will have to catch up on once they are online.

Why did I miss talks?
I was simply busy talking to interesting people.

During Droidcon I was not only helping out setting up, I was also, together with other GDG leaders from the DACH region representing GDG, promoting GDG DACH. (GDG, Google Development Group, DACH region (Germany (D), Austria (A) and Switzerland (CH))

We had a stand and a comfortable seating area (sponsored by Google) and we, GDG leads from DACH region manned it.  We were showing off GDG using a little app we had brainstormed up - a little app made to be used with Google Cardboard - and we have loaded it with Photospheres - to give you a feel for what we do in the region. The coding was done by Mario Bodemann, one of the GDG leads from Berlin. You can find the app in Google Playstore - I know Mario is planning on updating it. We will also continue to collect photospheres for the VR experience.

Little toy android that was prize in the treasure huntWe were also able to hand out some Cardboards to our visitors thanks to our sponsor, and we had put together what turned into a  very popular treasure hunt. On the last day official day of Droidcon we drew three winners.

The cardboards and the prices for the treasure hunt as well as the stickers were sponsored by Contentful in Berlin - really grateful to them for supporting the GDG Community - if you want to know more about them go to their website.

GDG in itself is independent, we are community of techies, developers, designers and other relevant people, and we meet on a regular basis across DACH, or across the world, host tech talks, mingle, learn from each other and inspire each other. People put a lot of time and effort into GDG and it is worth it as we get so much back through the community.

We are not employed by Google but work for various employers -  we have students, we have people who worked for 15 years and people that are new to the field or changing technology, some of us are employed by different companies, small and big, some of us (like myself) are (currently) freelancing. 

It is a fantastic mix - and we learn so much from each other - the tech talks are normally held by someone from the group, and BECAUSE we are independent we decide ourselves what we want to talk about or demo - next meetup I will be holding one of the talks, on Accessibility/Usability and how that is good business.

Being part of a community is a lot of fun, personally I love being surrounded by inspiring and interesting people. GDG Düsseldorf has over 500 member on Meetup and our Google + community  is also alive and kicking - and we have a Women Techmakers chapter that we schedule most our events together with. For most events we have 20-30 people attending, and for special events it's more. GDG Düsseldorf events are covering tech in general, Android, Web development and much more - the year we have talked SCRUM, we have gotten deeper into Docker, we have learnt about Microservices, covered Beacons, and much more.

In the big cities in the region it looks a bit different, Berlin have their own designated Android Chapter, and so does Munich and Hamburg, and they have separate chapter for other technology - but we mix, so we have a chance to learn from each other. 

If you want to find a GDG chapter next to you, go to the directory and search there: 

I really hope that DroidCon and our GDG stand there helps more people to find their way to GDG. And when it comes to Droidcon? I will definitely be back again. I also promised the GDG Tessaloniki people I'd try and make it to Droidcon in Greece next year...

So see you at the next GDG event, or at a Droidcon somewhere? I am the woman in a red scarf... 

Oh, and by the way: The different GDG chapters are generally happy to find sponsors so if your company is interested in contributing, contact the local chapters, for Düsseldorf feel free to contact me. We are also always on the lookout for speakers and would be thrilled to do a company visit or two with WTM, Women Techmakers. 

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