Reflections on Drupal GovCon

Last week I attended Drupal GovCon at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. It was my first time attending a large Drupal event, and I had a blast. I could spend hours and pages talking about everything that was going on, but I’d like to just briefly touch on a couple general impressions that I left with.

The Con collected digital agencies, government tech workers, developers, project managers and others for a few days of learning, networking and community I learned a lot. The Drupal work i have done has been on a relatively small scale, but I am eager to get into working on larger projects with a larger team. So attending talks about integral development workflow presented a great opportunity for learning. i attended a talk on using Behat for testing, and another on how continuous integration can be coupled with visual regression to do updates and testing.

Also, DevOps. Devops everywhere, including an awesome first-day keynote address from Michelle Krecji of Pantheon.

The technical stuff was great. As an indie developer, I sometimes long to talk shop with people. And as someone who is relatively new to the field, its great to jump into an intermediate-level discussion and know what’s going on.

The first session I attended was a community talk by Molly Bynes of Phase 1. She spoke about how we, as Drupal heads, ca think about building and extending community, and connected development and creative solutions in tech with ancient wisdom traditions. Her talk sparked inspiration in me,  as did our brief conversation after. I resolved to work towards giving a community-track presentation in 2018.

The Drupal community bubbled with helpfulness, enthusiasm and openness. I honestly left the con with a new resolve to not only improve my development chops but to become a more active part of the community. Sure, there are professional advantages – things to put on a resume – but that dimension of it feels secondary to participating in a broad public project with other like-minded, motivated and enthusiastic people. Making Drupal better means making us all better as developers, site-builders and product owners.

Can’t wait until next year. I’ll be working on my talk in the meantime.