Newcastle is the first regional city to be chosen as host for DevOps Days

Tech smarts: Hailey Martin, Jonathan Milgate and Mat Finch are bringing DevOps Days to Newcastle. Picture: Marina Neil
Tech smarts: Hailey Martin, Jonathan Milgate and Mat Finch are bringing DevOps Days to Newcastle. Picture: Marina Neil

NEWCASTLE will next month become the first regional city in Australia to host the tech conference DevOps Days, further cementing the Hunter as a tech-progressive hub.  

 Founded in Belgium in 2009, the volunteer-run event has been held around the globe and in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. 

Jonathan Milgate, head of development operations at Newcastle start-up Anditi and an organiser of the October 24-25 event, said a 20-strong team of Hunter tech workers attended the 2016 Sydney event and lobbied to stage it in Newcastle.

“We said, ‘Look, there's a huge technical community in Newcastle and we need to be doing more to be at the forefront of this specific innovation,” he said. 

DevOps refers to development (in software) and operations (hardware and infrastructure) within the IT space, and more specifically efforts to help the two work better together. 

“It’s the congregation of two traditional IT teams which normally wouldn’t talk - software developers writing code, updating websites, fixing bugs and, on the other side of your fence, traditional IT operations who focus on security, stability and performance in the business,” said Mr Milgate.

“The idea of Devops is to break down the wall and have everyone work together but it’s grown to be more than that, with the spread of agile [development methodology] and proliferation of cloud computing, software and operations people now working in cross-functional teams, incorporating user experience design, automated testing as well as traditional development and operations.”

The agenda is still being finalised, however keynote speakers include US author and journalist David McRaney and New Zealand businesswoman and Eiara Ltd founder Aurynn Shaw.

“Tech is traditionally middle-aged white guys like me but we want it to be more than that – how do we get more women in tech, for example,” says Mr Milgate, pointing to Google research demonstrating that the  more diverse a team, the better the results. 

The format dictates that the first half of each day is curated talks from the tech community, including global speakers. The second part of the day is dedicated to open discussions on topics that have won the highest amount of votes of those in attendance as being topical. 

 Mr Milgate said it was exciting for Newcastle to host the event in the interests of growing a bigger, more cohesive and collaborative community not only for startups but the broader tech community.

“Startups do this stuff because they have to whereas older companies have more traditional bases where they have an operations team and a development team and they are not aware of it,” he says.