Last week (January 30 – February 2) Joel Parks and I attended the first annual ngATL Conference in Alpharetta, Georgia, at the Avalon Hotel & Conference center. It was a great location for a 4-day event, with eclectic dining and shopping options in the area.

Days 1-2 were full-day workshops with incredible instructors. Attendees chose workshops based on their interests. These were great because attendees took a deep dive into new technologies and solved problems with the instructors along the way. Days 3-4 were the conference days. The conference sessions were generally high-level and demonstrative.

Days 1-2: Workshops with the best instructors you could want

On Day 1, I had the opportunity to learn about Nest.js from the author himself, Kamil Myśliwiec. Nest.js is a server-side framework for Node applications. Written in TypeScript and inspired by Angular, it's incredibly easy to transition from front-end to back-end development. It also has features like Guards, Interceptors and Gateways. The workshop was packed with information and fast-paced, but only so much can be covered in a single day.

Check out more on the framework at Nestjs.com.

On Day 2, I sat with Nathan White, Senior Solutions Architect at Node Source, for the Node.js Best Practices workshop. This session was enlightening. Nathan shared some history about the JavaScript language, how it has evolved from its inception to becoming the most popular language of the web; why it was the language of choice for the Node project; and the motivations behind creating Node.js.

Nathan also pulled back the covers to show the constituent parts that together form what we know as Node.js. Throughout the workshop, Nathan provided examples of common mistakes and several exercises to challenge our coding practices. I walked away with a greater understanding of how Node fits in the wild world of web development and a clearer vision of its future.

Days 3-4 The Conference

The keynote speaker, Dr. Michio Kaku, spoke on Day 3. In the keynote, the world-renowned physicist shared his predictions about the future. I must say that while some of his predictions were rather shocking, they seemed pretty accurate. Flying cars, synthetic organs, and BrainNet were just a few of the new technologies mentioned, but to find out more about this exciting view of the future, grab one of Dr. Kaku's books. (I bought 3 immediately following the Keynote.)

Legendary physicist Michio Kaku presents ngATL's keynote

ngATL was structured as a single-track conference. Attendees had the opportunity to see all of the sessions, and the speakers reached a broader audience. The sessions only lasted between 20-40 minutes each and touched on a variety of Angular and non-Angular related topics. The single-track structure also made the event more inclusive for everyone. I think this was a great way to foster a sense of community at the event. Diversity and inclusion was the theme, yet women were the focus. Over 50% of the sessions were presented by women, and over 35% of the attendees were women as well. This is probably the first tech conference to claim this metric, and I imagine it will improve next year.

I want to congratulate Zack Chapple and the ngATL team for creating such an awesome event. We hope to see continuing growth in the entire community and expanding the culture of STEM jobs in the near future. While diversity in tech will continue to be a hot media subject, NgATL is an exemplary approach to combats the social stigma.