Full Stack Toronto June 2016 Meetup

A few days ago I attended the Full Stack Toronto meetup. The theme of this meetup was Celebrating Pride in Tech.

The first speaker, James Wilkinson (executive director of Full Stack Toronto), spoke about front-end web development optimizations. What was really cool was the overview of the tools that are available for checking performance. The part about having a performance budget for website load time was great and gave me some ideas on how we would determine what a good baseline budget is for the current project I’m on.

The highlight for me was that those hero images take a while to load and James walked through the painting that happens in a web browser to show what happens on slower internet connections. Having a huge hero image means there’s going to be a blank spot on your website while it loads on a phone or 3G-connected tablet.

The slides for “Auditing The Front-End for Performance and Scalability” are here.

The second speaker, Avery Francis, who works at Rangle.io as a talent manager. Her talk was about diversity in tech and some of the ways that organizations can improve their hiring practices and their company culture to make it more diverse and inclusive. She also went over a few reasons why you want more diversity such as better work atmosphere and increased productivity (therefore….increased profits). Personally, a more diverse and inclusive environment is typically more comfortable and has a really amazing impact on product. More diversity leads to more viewpoints and perspectives and leads to better user experiences in products.

Avery pointed out that when she waited for applicants to apply for a web developer job, she received hundreds of male applicants but only a few female applicants. She realized that the best way to promote diversity was to go out and contact applicants; by doing this she was able to increase the ratio to around 50/50 which immensely improved the diversity of applicants. She pointed out that female applicants were hesitant to apply for the job but by going out and contacting them, she got around this hesitation and found a more diverse group of qualified applicants. Companies really have to pay attention to diversity because it affects hiring and training and it also affects how benefits packages work.

EventMobi was kind enough to provide space for the Full Stack Toronto meetup and it’s great to see Toronto companies being open to holding more meetups in their spaces. They have hosted other meetups and have provided video recording of the talks on YouTube.

Overall, meetups are a great way for developers to find out what’s new in the industry and to see if there are new ways of thinking that they can bring back to their own companies. Diversity is a big issue in tech and with more diverse and inclusive teams, we build better products and, economically-speaking, more profits thanks to better user experiences.

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