Facebook invited me to F8, Facebook's Developer Conference! This came as a complete shock to me as I had no idea why they would pay me to go meet my idol- Zuck, but the offer was there and I happily took it.
The trip to San Jose was not an easy one. I had an exam on the 19th and the conference was from the 18th-19th. This meant that I had to take the exam right after I landed in Vancouver. I emailed my prof and made backup plans upon backup plans to ensure that I would be able to go to the conference, and make it back in time for my exam. I was studying every moment I had, whether it be during the plane ride, the layover, or getting back to the hotel after the conference.
I flew in a day early because they had a special Join All Voices event on the 17th. It was an exclusive event that was meant to celebrate diversity withinin the tech world. I love that Facebook has consistently showed their appreciation of community and the diversities that come with it. As I was heading back to the hotel after this event, I ended up bumping into someone I met at Pearl Hacks. It was great catching up with her, and we met up the next morning as well.
The conference itself started with Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote. The whole idea of this F8 was to showcase the potential of augmented reality and how the camera is the next big thing. Facebook spaces serves as a virtual reality social platform to connect people the way a regular video call would- but in an immersive environment. I ended up demoing it and it was really fun. I’ve never seen anything quite like it before. In addition, amongst the many ideas they mentioned was Messenger. They came out with parametric QR codes that were on everyone’s conference badge, allowing you to scan each other’s badges for a quick connection while networking. But most importantly, chat bots have been taken to a whole other level, allowing businesses to take use of this convenient platform to ease their day to day processes. The messenger booth was one of my favourites, partially because they gave out the cutest messenger socks.
I ended up going to most of the sessions and my favourites were definitely ones where developers walked through the process of their design choices. I often spend so much of my time making sure a project works, that I often forget to think through design choices. Therefore, hearing about them from industry professionals was a much needed reminder. It was also interesting to hear how much actually goes into the creation of a new product, down to the finest details. In addition, I was so honoured to have been able to meet so many brilliant individuals at the conference. The downside to being a student at such a big conference means that I felt out of place at times, but the upside is that lots of people were willing to chat with me, even if it was mostly because they were curious as to why I was there.
Leaving my first ever conference definitely made me very sad- either that, or because I knew I had an exam waiting for me at home. Regardless, it was a fantastic trip and I wouldn’t have traded this experience for anything. Thanks again, Facebook, for giving me this incredible opportunity and I am looking forward to attending more conferences in the near future! :)