Octobot Speakers Share Their DjangoCon 2023 Stories 

group of speakers at the conference taking a selfie

DjangoCon is an annual conference that brings together Django and Python enthusiasts from around the world, making it a prominent event in the technology and Django/Python community. Two of our software developers were selected by the event’s organization to be speakers at DjangoCon 2023. Dara Silvera and Eliana Rosselli told us about their experiences and insights at the event and we want to share their stories with you.

At the beginning of the event, Dara gave a presentation entitled “Working with Neo4j, with Django NeoMod Library,” where she explored the integration of graph databases with Django using the NeoModel library. Dari shared her enthusiasm for this tool, solving problems and highlighting its utility in addressing specific challenges.

On day two, Eli presented “An Approach to Lightweight Tenancy Management Using Django Rest Framework,” addressing solutions to the multitenancy problem and sharing how her team found an effective solution by placing great importance on sharing this knowledge with the community.

Preparation and Support

Both speakers emphasized the importance of preparation before the event. They sought advice from more experienced colleagues, such as their peers at Octobot, who had also participated in previous conference editions – Octobot has been a regular at DjangoCon since 2019!

They also presented their talks to the entire Octobot team beforehand, receiving feedback from other colleagues. The feedback and support were crucial for refining and improving their presentations.

Our speakers also suggest watching selected talks from previous years on the Django Youtube channel to observe presentation styles and see which ones might align with one’s own style or topic. These talks serve as excellent examples and help practice certain terms in English.

Speaker Experience

They described the experience of being speakers at DjangoCon as a significant professional and personal challenge. Although nerves were present, the atmosphere of respect and support at the conference helped them feel comfortable sharing their knowledge.

Dara and Eli also highlighted the diversity of topics and skill levels at the event, which contributed to creating an inclusive space for everyone.

Interaction and Networking

Beyond the talks, Dari and Eli enjoyed moments of interaction with other attendees. They attended social events such as dinners and outings, which created valuable and enriching connections.

After the official conference days, both actively participated in the Sprints, a few days dedicated during the event to contribute to Django itself. Opening pull requests and working closely with other contributors was a rewarding experience that strengthened their sense of belonging to the community and allowed them to meet industry leaders in technology.

Exploring North Carolina and Beyond

While actively participating in DjangoCon 2023, Dari and Eli also took the opportunity to explore the charms of North Carolina. Here are some of the places they enjoyed during their free time:

Duke University Botanical Garden
This green oasis offered Dari and Eli a moment of tranquility as they explored the diversity of local flora. Dari enthusiastically shared how she saw squirrels for the first time, which added a special touch to their visit.

Nightlife in North Carolina and Trivia Wednesdays

Dinners and bar outings provided an informal setting for getting to know their colleagues in the Django and Python world more deeply.

Stepping outside the technical realm not only gave Dari and Eli moments of relaxation and fun, but also contributed to strengthening their connection with the community.

An Hour and a Half Away: New York

After the DjangoCon, our speakers took their adventurous spirits to New York. Despite the short flight distance from North Carolina, the Big Apple offered something completely different. They explored the iconic Central Park, enjoyed panoramic views from the Summit, and engaged in classic city activities like ice skating.

Recommendations for Future Speakers

Eli and Dara encourage those considering applying as speakers to an event such as DjangoCon to take the leap and submit their proposals. Reading previous talks, understanding the audience, and selecting resonant topics are all key to a successful submission. The DjangoCon community is welcoming, and the diversity of topics allows speakers of all levels to share their experiences. It’s not necessary to be an expert to present!

DjangoCon not only provides a space for professional growth but also an opportunity to enjoy and learn from a passionate community. Inclusion, respect, and diversity create unforgettable memories.

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