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GitHub Universe 2018: A Conference Like No Other

We had the amazing opportunity to attend GitHub Universe, its flagship user conference for the GitHub developer community. The event was held at the beautiful Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco across two days on the 16th and 17th of October 2018.

Once we stepped into the GitHub Univers, the breath-taking surroundings and the scale of the event made it clear that this was going to be a conference like no other. Keeping to GitHub’s brand values, the Universe conference area was colourful, innovative, creative and inclusive — providing both parenting rooms and gender neutral bathrooms. Sponsors forgoed the traditional booth setups and opted for custom made installations and activations, and what would GitHub Universe be without its famous mascot, the Octocat?

Day 1 (16 October 2018)

Day one was an exciting day for developers. Jason Warner, Chief Technology Officer at GitHub took the stage and introduced two future-forward features that will further improve development workflows and break down barriers between teams — GitHub Actions and GitHub Connect. Among other new features, he also announced the launch of new security tool GitHub Security Advisory API, as well as GitHub Learning Lab for organisations that will allow organisations to upskill themselves on the GitHub platform. These groundbreaking announcements were very well received by the audience, with thunderous applause and cheers all around!

Every year at Universe, GitHub releases its annual Octoverse report, showing how much its community has accomplished on GitHub in the year. It was no different at this year’s Universe, as attendees were invited to a fireside chat that delved into the insights from the Octoverse 2018 report.

The Octoverse 2018 report highlighted the exponential growth in collaborative activity across 1.1 billion contributions, and reported more projects hosted on GitHub than ever before.

Here are a few key points:

  • There are now over 31 million developers building on GitHub. More than 8 million new developers joined in the last year.

  • There are more new accounts in 2018 so far than in the first six years of GitHub combined.

  • Over 2.1 million organizations are using GitHub across public and private repositories, up more than 40% from 2017.

Day 2 (17 October 2018)

Day two touched on a more human side of technology, showcasing how technology can do good in the world. Admas Kanyagia, Director of Social Impact at GitHub hosted a session on how open source software can be an effective tool to address pressing social issues of our time such as climate change and poverty.

During the session Admas spoke to stage three developers who have worked on social impact projects — Miller Abel, Deputy Director, Principal Technologist (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), Julius Sweetland, Developer (OptiKey) and Tiffani Ashley Bell, Founder and Executive Director (The Human Utility).

Through the use of open source, the Gates Foundation were able to expand financial services to the world’s poor, the Human Utility addressed the poverty issue in Detroit, and OptiKey’s revolutionary technology continued to help people with disabilities to communicate.

It was very heartwarming to see how developers were using their talent and skills to benefit the greater society.

Final Words

A clear take-away from GitHub Universe was that GitHub’s developer community is at the heart of everything it does.

Jason Warner, Chief Technology Officer at GitHub could not have summarised it better. In his words, “GitHub Universe 2018 is all about the 31 million developers in the GitHub community building our collective future. We celebrate the incredible breakthroughs you’ve made and everything you’ve learned along the way. Together, you are not only defining the future of software but the future of the businesses, industries, and communities that depend on it. The best work we can do supports you in this endeavor with a relentless focus on the developer experience.

Until next year’s GitHub Universe!

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