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Manchester DevCon: a new staple in the region’s tech events calendar

From Meet Ups to Expos, the tech industry is one that thrives on knowledge and best-practice sharing. Yet all too often tech events fail to hit the mark when it comes to offering tangible value, instead created by corporate machines as something of a vehicle for self-promotion.  

Manchester’s Amy Newton is on a mission to change that, striving to reinvent what tech events look like.   

2022 saw the launch of Manchester Tech Festival. Brainchild of Newton, the tech festival was staged at the city’s Victoria Baths, with the venue playing host to hundreds of tech specialists keen to share and talk about their own challenges and ways to solve them. And 2023 will see the festival return for a second year to replicate and build on its success.  

The tech festival is inclusive – a festival by the tech community for the tech community, a safe space that is welcoming to all and wide-reaching in its themes. So, wherever you sit within the tech world – from sales and marketing, through to developer – there’s something for you.  

However, not content with Manchester Tech Festival, Amy realised that the region’s tech calendar was missing a premium tech conference aimed exclusively at founders and senior developers. A developer conference that would allow for in-depth knowledge-sharing and would provide inspirational – and actionable – insights for attendees. The result was July’s DevCon.   

This is the place 

Manchester’s Royal Northern College of Music was the host for attendees who gathered from across the UK, and from around the world, for the two-day event. Such a beacon of creativity is absolutely the place a developer conference should be happening; creativity and tech development go hand in hand. We may not be creating music, but the level of creative thinking and innovation needed is a good match for the arts world.  

Amy Newton’s opening speech centred around why the time is now for Manchester to host such an event and why the tech scene here is so buoyant. Tech allows people, whoever they are and wherever they’re from, she said, to achieve great things. Amy said “I believe tech is the easiest way for people from working class backgrounds to rise up”; it’s this sense of inclusivity that is fundamental to all her events.  

The speakers 

There was a glittering array of the tech world’s most illustrious characters featuring in the line-up of DevCon. Kubernetes guru Kelsey Hightower delivered the keynote address, along with a fireside chat. Formerly of Google, Hightower is something of a celebrity in the developer world. He spoke of the need to be your true authentic self and how to remain grounded, despite being incredibly successful himself. GitHub’s Anjuan Simmons spoke about how to manage burnout as a tech leader, and how to say no. Other speakers shared their own experiences of scaling tech companies along with much more technical presentations from the likes of Fuzzy Duck’s Matt Squire on MLOps.  

DevCon is a timely and welcome addition to the events calendar, one which complements Manchester Tech Festival. Roll on next year!  

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