May 2, 2019 by The . Topics include , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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     Conferences are environments where conversations happen, and no one person or organization has all the answers. The dialogues amongst experts and attendees in these situations can often lead to business solutions. For many in tech locally, these events inspire actionable ideas to bring forward over the next year. If businesses in Augusta are interested in building products for a fast moving market like technology, regular gatherings like Southern Dev can provide the platform, though more on that in a minute.

     We had speakers from Detroit, Chicago, New York, Asheville, Kansas City, Nashville, and also from around the corner. We tried our best to have a diverse group of speakers to represent our equally diverse audience. They came from fields in tech including design, quality assurance, software development, accessibility, management, leadership from the C-Suite, military-to-tech transition, and tech-education. There are already projects underway which have sprung from the confluence of minds this past weekend.

     Students and teachers at the conference were treated like royalty! Everybody was excited to see future devs participating in the big idea-exchange. Teachers being involved is almost the best you can hope for the future. A problem faced at many workplaces is a lack of basic technical literacy, leading to some in tech being treated as general computer people because the delineation between fields seems to be little understood. SoDevCon gave away as many scholarships to students and teachers as possible to help increase exposure to the world of tech and the myriad of ways it takes form. These groups benefit greatly from an event like SoDevCon where it is safe to ask those burning questions and to create lasting relationships throughout the year.

     Along with the experts, and those in the dev field, this was also a good conference for those who have no idea what “tech” is or where to start, or how to even enter the field. Some really amazing programmers were on hand to help people start at the very beginning and get them up and programming. We also had a programming competition organized by RunCodeNinja which was open to a global audience. A local programmer got 2nd Place world-wide, and 1st place locally! For those who had performed a career transition into tech, they enthusiastically and empathetically shared their stories. Veronica Hanus talked about her transition from Geology to Programming; we’re talking rocks->code. Absolutely awesome!

     As a chance to show off to the nation how Augusta is progressing, this conference is important for the city. Many of our brightest leave to bigger cities to find jobs. The story goes that there are better opportunities to work on more interesting problems. Products built here must evolve to engage new generations entering tech. It can start within the the Augusta K-12 schools who want to inspire their students to pursue a career in tech. It is also important if Augusta is interested in attracting talent from outside.

     Organizer Schuster Braun was asked to reflect on the conference. “The general mood was excitement! For our sponsors, I feel like they were able to make some personal and real connections with possible clients and partners. From the presenter standpoint, most have said they want to be a part of this for next year as well and want to try and help build it. So I would amend my answer to say people were excited and inspired.”

     Dee Taylor of Uniti Fiber, one of the sponsors of the conference was more than pleased with the draw and activity of the conference. “The sponsorship opportunity for Southern Dev Conference allowed Uniti Fiber to connect with those people who understand how important network services are to their organizations. It was a great way to brand Uniti Fiber focusing on our dedicated Internet, Ethernet and dark fiber – all which are very important to software and web developers. We will be back to sponsor next year.”

     We got a lot of great feedback from this year and think we can definitely make it bigger and still be able to keep the intimate feeling we had at this year’s conference. So, we are planning on doing one next year!

     Check out to see highlights and happy faces from the conference!

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Located in a historic 1802 Schoolhouse, our space is divided into two wings. One for learning and prototyping, and one for coworking and business incubation. Our membership comes from a wide variety of backgrounds that all consider themselves some measure of hacker, maker, and doer. I am an architect. We have entrepreneurs, business people, teachers, engineers, designers, artists, and Jacks and Jill’s of all trades, and of course many software and hardware developers.

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