Internal Conferences: The Power of Knowledge and Teamwork

Maja Misovic Categories: Life At Vega IT Date 23-Jun-2020 5 minute to read

    Vega IT is a place where learning continues and internal conferences are an important part of our company culture. After so many internal and external knowledge-sharing sessions, meetups, panels, and live-coding sessions, the idea to gather our colleagues and encourage them to take part in internal conferences was born spontaneously. All of our colleagues are welcome at both conferences Front-End Day and STAR conference. Just FE Day topics are mostly related to front-end development and STAR conference is a cluster of various topics.

    We work in a fast-paced industry, where we have to stay up-to-date with the technology changes and future trends. That’s why our colleagues consider our internal knowledge-sharing events as a brilliant way to broaden their knowledge in a familiar environment.


    The third STAR conference

    What do our colleagues get from internal conferences?

    We are proud that our conferences are colleagues-for-colleagues events. Before each conference, anyone can decide if they want to be lecturers, contributors or spectators.

    You would be surprised to see how many of our colleagues are eager to become a part of the organisational teams. ;-)

    Broadening of expertise

    Front-end Day and STAR conferences are great opportunities to expose ourselves to different technologies. Our colleagues can hear some insider info on that topic from people with different experiences and skills. Afterwards, they can decide if they want to learn more about that technology or not.


    Try to guess who was a mystery speaker at the last STAR conference

    It's the best way to step out of their comfort zone

    Stage fright is a familiar feeling when it comes to public speaking. However, our audience are our colleagues and other familiar faces who motivate us to overcome our stage fright because we know that none of them would laugh at us, and that there won’t be any hard feelings.

    Some of our colleagues go a step further, and they prepare their presentations with the assistance of other colleagues. They give them honest feedback, and say if it’s necessary to improve the performance.

    Personal and professional development

    Newbies, rookies, juniors, seniors, experienced lecturers - we are happy to receive applications from all of them. Their experience is precious to us. No one is neglected, and everyone can grab a chance to spread their accumulated knowledge and express themselves freely regarding any topic that fires their imagination.


    The number of Vega IT lecturers at the internal conferences

    Supporting non-profit organisations

    Before each conference, we “sell” tickets. Please don’t let these apostrophes confuse you. Each person who comes to our conference can only enter with a ticket which they received earlier. At the end of the conference, we count the total number of tickets, multiply by the predefined value and get the sum we donate to the chosen non-profit organisation.

    So far, the donations have been given to NURDOR, the organisation “Osmeh na dar” and the suicide prevention organisation “Srce” (“Heart”).

    We are looking forward to the next conference and the next opportunity to help with our donations.

    We always have fun!

    Thanks to chill corners, we have some time to unwind and openly share our impressions about the lectures with our colleagues.

    For instance, at last year’s STAR conference, our IT admin team turned their chill corner out of gadgets from the previous century, and they made us feel as we entered into a time machine. Our colleagues had a great time discovering different activities which IT admins prepared. We even saw non-technical colleagues installing operating systems for the first time. On the other hand, there was also a gaming zone for those who want to play jenga, darts, and other games.

    And for those who like selfies and boomerangs, we always prepare a photo contest. The lucky ones get awards which can help them broaden their knowledge.


    Don't forget to have fun! :)

    Front-End Day

    Everything started as a modest idea to have a mini-conference to share some front-end knowledge two years ago. However, a CSS Grid presentation quickly transformed into a full-day conference.

    FE Day founders are our colleagues Aleksandar Jovanov and Slađana Miljanović. We asked Slađana what Front-End Day means to her. This is what she said:

    “For me, FE day represents a unique opportunity to learn something new and meet colleagues from some other perspective because we really have a whole range of topics we can discuss. While listening to our colleagues at previous conferences, I came up with ideas about different lectures and coding challenges. So, I think this is a great opportunity for all of my colleagues to inspire one another.”


    Slađa at FE Day in 2019

    We are planning to broaden the range of topics for the next FE Day. We won't just listen about SVG, CSS and CSS Grid topics, but our software developers will give lectures from their perspectives, too.

    Slađa made it clear to us why it is essential to have some backend lecturers on Front-End Day. Here is the explanation:

    “There used to be a clear distinction between front-end and back-end development, but today this distinction is blurred. Our back-end developers mainly take part in JavaScript lectures which is something our front-end developers face every day. I think it is great that other colleagues who do back-end join these lectures because this allows us to hear their first-hand experience and learn something new.”

    When we compare the numbers from the previous years, we see that we doubled the number of lecturers compared to the first conference. This year, we want to raise that number again. ;-)

    STAR Conference

    The first STAR Conference took place in 2017. We asked our Chief People Officer Maja Nedučić how everything started. Here is what she said:

    “We wanted to motivate our colleagues to apply to give lectures and then I said: “Hey maybe we could organise something like Call for speakers, and maybe we could even have some kind of program. Well, we could have our own conference :) and then we started developing this project and discussing the details. But it was literally the result of brainstorming.”


    Maja at STAR conference in 2017

    At STAR conference, besides non-technical and technical lectures, everyone is looking forward to the mystery lectures. It’s hilarious to watch our colleagues who turn into detectives trying to find out who is behind the curtain. Once the mystery speaker reveals himself/herself everyone bursts out laughing.

    This conference has two tracks. It’s very convenient because two completely different lectures are taking place simultaneously. For instance, there is one technical lecture at one track and one non-technical at the other track. Or, there is a backend developer at one track and a front-end developer at the other track. Our spectators can choose what they would like to listen to at any time.

    Even though in-house conferences are internal highlights of the year for us, we don't focus on knowledge-sharing on just those two days of the year. Our front-end developers gather twice per month at team-boost meetings, we have regular workshops, lectures and Coding Dojo.

    That’s why Vega IT is a place where learning continues.