Pluralsight Live 2018: stepping into the sessions

Enterprise technology learning platform company Pluralsight used its ‘Live’ 2018 user, partner and customer conference this month to detail a set of new products, announce an increase in its philanthropic channels and to discuss the state of tech skills at large.

Pluralsight is best described as an enterprise technology skills platform company –- its technology provides what it calls ‘science-driven assessments’ of individuals combined with real time analytics to assess competencies for any given technical role.

All technology events tend to follow a roughly similar structure in terms of registration, lanyard distribution, welcome receptions and all the other multifarious malarkey that signal a coming together of techies…

… but this event was slightly different.

Before the keynotes, before the handshakes and before the general session guest speakers with their sparkling lights and funky intro music, Pluralsight welcomed its ‘authors’ to present a kind of ‘day zero’ set of discussion/presentation sessions.

Aaron Skonnard, co-founder and CEO of Pluralsight has explained that these ‘authors’ are so-named because they are ‘authorities’ in their chosen technology language, cloud platform, toolset, programming methodology and so on.

The state of the web

Among the day zero ‘author summit’ sessions was an audience interactive presentation entitled: The State Of Modern Web Development, presented by Deborah Kurata, Hampton Paulk, Joe Eames and William Soto, all Pluralsight authors and software evangelists in their various fields.

When asked how to cope with all the changing technologies driving web development, William Soto said that developers shouldn’t always feel pressure to be constantly on top of all the latest and greatest web development technologies, because, after all, there is lot a hype out there.

In related discussions, CEO Skonnard has acknowledged that this is always a tough pain-point, because developers do live shiny new toys and will always be attracted to new platforms and tools.

The audience also asked what they should to do with their development situations when a project appeared to perhaps be being exposed to too many different software frameworks.

Deborah Kurata said that she knew the Angular team had felt this difficulty at times and that they were now working hard to make sure it knows how to keep things modern, yet functional.

Hampton Paulk offered some sympathy and said that it’s all about chasing the white rabbit in modern web development and were all chasing the dream way to build an application — but perhaps best advice now, he said, is to pick something you are comfortable with now and see how far that works — and to maybe look at being modular with your web development so that individual parts can work stand alone.

Wider session view

Other key sessions from this event included the following: A day in the life of a Pluralsight author: How courses get made; what NASA’s Voyager mission teaches us about building distributed systems; Everyone should be able to use your software: accessibility for balanced teams; Better software through data science; Iris: the science behind Pluralsight; and From developer to manager: things you should know before making the jump.

Finally (at the risk of missing some other sessions which you can review here) let’s also note: Making an impact with data; Why do we all suck at collaboration; How spring changed Java development; and Reconnaissance: how hackers decide if your company is a target.

Amusingly, this event also featured ‘The inevitable blockchain panel session’ with panel  authors explaining how the future of blockchain is in cryptocurrencies, smart contracts, private distributed blockchains, private read only blockchains, all of the above and none of the above.

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