Ng-conf 2017 was filled with a plethora of exciting and interesting talks and a great experience for everyone who was able to attend. As anyone who’s given a talk of their own can attest to, giving a tech talk is not an easy thing to do, and a completely separate skill from being a good […]
Ng-conf 2017 was filled with a plethora of exciting and interesting talks and a great experience for everyone who was able to attend. As anyone who’s given a talk of their own can attest to, giving a tech talk is not an easy thing to do, and a completely separate skill from being a good developer. Ng-conf not only attracted the nation’s forefront Angular developers, but also the some of the best Angular presenters. Luckily for those who couldn’t attend all of the talks were recorded and posted online. However for those of you who don’t have time to go through 3 days worth of technical talks and watch them all, I’ve pulled out a few of the best ones for your convenience. Below I’ve listed the article and highlighted what I feel that the presenter did that made their talk stand out from the others. My hope is that you’ll be able to watch these talks yourself, enjoy them, and also take away some of the tricks that these presenters used and use them in your own presentations in the future.
To start we’ll look at one of the most skilled presenters I’ve ever personally seen: John Papa. John Papa is known as a guru in the Angular community and he has pretty much mastered giving tech talks. He gave two talks, one on Angular in general and one on Typescript, which are both worth viewing. There is a lesson we can learn about how to give tech talks from both.
In his first talk “I Am One With Angular and Angular Is One With Me”, Papa gives a live coding demo on how to easily build an Angular app in a matter of minutes. In general live coding in a talk is a no go. Usually when a presenter live codes in a presentation, it slows down the presentation, can be hard to follow along with, and can cause your audience to lose interest. However, Papa is able to do his live coding quickly and without losing the audience. The key to this, as he himself mentions during the presentation, is his snippets extension library. This library allows him to get full file setups with just one keyboard shortcut. It is an amazing tool for Angular development and I encourage you to check it out. However for tech talk purposes, snippets is basically the same as copying and pasting code. By copying and pasting code during a talk, you can move quickly and just highlight the important parts of the code in order to keep the audience interested while still having the desired effect of demonstrating building a working demo from scratch.
Papa’s second talk was given with Dan Whalen and called “Diving into Typescript”. In it Papa and Whalen demo the benefits of Typescript and how to use it properly in Angular. The talk by itself can probably be used as an intro course Typescript and is very informative. The amazing thing about this talk is how well both Papa and Whalen know the material. The slide deck they have for the talk is massive, over 160 slides total. The two presenters have actually given this talk many times and it is slightly different every single time they do it. Based on time allotted, the flow of the presentation, and any questions from the audience they are able to choose which slides to cover during the presentation.
Doguhan was one of the presenters in a set of consecutive 5 minute lightning talks, and his talk “Do More with Less” really stood out to me. To start, Doguhan used a lot of funny visuals and crowd pleasing GIFs to quickly engage the audience in his talk. Then he focused on one core theme. 5 minutes is not a lot of time to give any sort of talk, so when you are limited it is important to decide on what message you want to convey to and stick to it. While other lightning talks ended and I came away feeling like I needed more content, I came away from Doguhan’s talk with one ingrained lesson that I thought I could apply to my own day to day developing.
Justin Searls’ talk “How to Scratch an Itch”was very unique. At a conference dedicated to Angular, he gave a talk that had nothing to do with Angular. Instead, he talked about his journey as a developer, how he had come to work on some of his more successful products, and how he personally stayed motivated. Telling a story to help impart a lesson is not a new approach, but it is impactful because it allows the audience to connect to the characters and as a result internalize the lesson. Searls uses this technique very effectively in his talk. He talks about times in his career where he came across personal issues, how he identified those, and then tells what positive actions he took and the results of those actions. Because he gives the whole talk as a story, the audience stays engaged and doesn’t realize they’ve been given a takeaway lesson until the talk is already over.
The team from Telerik gave the talk “Building EmotiNg” about the ease of building realtime apps with Angular, Nativescript, and Firebase. The big highlight of their talk was directing the audience to their EmotiNg website which was live and that they updated during the demo. The site was a silly application that allowed the audience to vote on memes using emoji reactions and had no importance except for the fact that it was built with the technologies that the team was talking about. However by having a fun concept that allowed for audience participation the team had the entire audience paying close attention.
Of all the ng-conf talks these were the ones that I saw that really stood out. I encourage you to watch as many of the talks as you can, as they all had great content. However the difference between a good and a great tech talk is the ability for a talk to be captivating and interesting as well as informative. All of these talks achieved this effectively through different. Watch these talks, enjoy them, learn from them, and the next time you are preparing a talk of your own, keep in mind some of these techniques and try and incorporate them into your own talk.
But Wait There’s More
Stay tuned for these blogs and more from ng-conf 2017 by the ExcellaJS team: