Last year I had several friends inquire if I was going to stage another DetroitDevDay. I had taken over from my dear friend Dave McKinnon and I had run it for a couple of go-rounds. Honestly though, I was getting a bit worried that DetroitDevDay was becoming almost YADLTC (Yet Another Day Long Tech Conference). It’s wonderful to see the explosion of tech focused events here in Detroit and I am truly gratified to see so much going on here but where did DetroitDevDay fit in that picture? That was the question I was struggling to answer.
There are good .Net oriented conferences now. There are good Java oriented events (although truth be told they’re mostly Android/Google events). What could DetroitDevDay do to contribute something different–something worthwhile?
Then I hit on it; I want to talk about what’s coming next and I want to talk about it with other developers who want to look at what’s coming up to see if there’s value in it. And that’s where Detroit Tech Watch was born.
So why not just stick with C# or Java?
I think a lot of developers are in the position of doing C# or Java because it pays the bills. That’s not a knock on either technology stack; it’s simply become somewhat de rigeur to pick one stack or the other and then use it for everything. But we all know that there was a time before OO and C++ and its progeny. And there will be a time afterward as well. COBOL was once cutting edge–now it’s legacy.
Another interesting development (and to be quite frank a bit concerning) is the rise of coding bootcamps and “You too can be a developer!” While this is absolutely terrific in terms of giving people an opportunity to better their lives, in terms of wages it’s going to drive the wages of C# and Java developers down. That’s not a noble or unselfish reason to look at stuff beyond C# and Java but it is a fact.
At some point if we don’t pick up our heads and look for what’s coming next we risk becoming the software developer analog of KMart, Sears, Circuit City, Newsweek Magazine etc. etc.–that is, disrupted right out of business. The trick is not to see what’s coming next. The trick is to spot what’s upcoming that has real value and get on it. And that’s tough.
So we (Mike Onslow who is really a heck of a smart guy and I) are going to try DetroitTechWatch 1.0. Even though it is 1.0 it’s really sort of DetroitDevDay 8.0 with a different emphasis. We really hope that if you’re interested in hearing about what’s coming next you’ll join us. Or you’ll submit a talk. Or both!