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Asking the Experts: 3 Reasons for Data Pros to Attend Current 2022

This October, Confluent is hosting Current 2022: The Next Generation of Kafka Summit, gathering industry experts, influencers, and thought leaders from across the data streaming ecosystem.

But what’s in it for the developers, data scientists, and architects who are bringing data streaming use cases to life? We connected with three breakout session presenters to find out how they think data professionals will benefit from attending Current 2022:

  • Jay Patel, Software Engineer at Snowflake, technical lead for Snowflake Connector for Kafka, and machine learning enthusiast
  • Sanjana Kaundinya, Senior Software Engineer at Confluent and part of the original team to build Confluent’s Cluster Linking capabilities
  • Viktor Gamov, Principal Developer Advocate at Kong Inc and author of Kafka in Action

The data streaming space has changed rapidly in a relatively short time. Companies are racing to develop the real-time capabilities that customers and end-users have quickly come to expect. “The idea of waiting for results in 2022… it’s just ridiculous,” Viktor said. “[Imagine] if your bank tells you, get your statement tomorrow – you cannot see real-time transactions or notifications when you spend your money. You would probably switch your bank.”

The rapid rate of innovation is making it a very exciting time to be in the data streaming space, which is why all three presenters are looking forward to contributing to the conversation at Current 2022.

There’s More to the Data Streaming Story than Apache Kafka

Each year, more and more organizations turn to data streaming to build real-time applications.

As we learned from talking with Jay, Sanjana, and Viktor, realizing the value of data streaming is all about uninterrupted performance. Integrating and connecting data streams inherently requires collaboration that goes beyond the Kafka community, which is why Current 2022 promises to be such a valuable experience for data professionals.

“Current 2022 is geared more around streaming ingestion and how companies are using it in their production workloads,” Jay said. “I don’t think there is any better place to attend to broaden your horizons, to learn and absorb as many things as you can.”

On October 4-5, 2022, the in-person event in downtown Austin, TX will feature presentations from visionary keynote speakers like Confluent co-founders Jay Kreps and Jun Rao. The event agenda will also feature:

  • Fundamentals of Apache Kafka® training, both mornings
  • Breakout sessions, including technical deep dives and lightning talks
  • Ask the Experts sessions
  • Data in Motion GameDay hosted by Confluent and AWS
  • Networking opportunities at the Meetup Hub and Expo Hall
  • Live music and fun activities during the Current 2022 Party at Austin City Limits on Day 1 and the Data Streaming Celebration to close out Day 2

Register for Current 2022 with code PRMBLG.

3 Reasons to Connect with Data Streaming Peers at Current

Current 2022 promises to be an informative, exciting time for attendees interested in becoming more engaged and active in the data streaming world.

For years, Austin has been home to incredible local community groups, which have brought together users of many different data streaming technologies. Beyond the powerful keynote and breakout presentations at Current, the Meetup Hub will provide a welcoming venue for many of these community user groups. This community area will have talks from top experts in the data streaming spaces, and local Austin leaders who helped shape incredible communities way before Current was in town.

Technical practitioners will have the chance to connect with and get inspired by their peers and industry luminaries alike, hearing from innovators at companies like Netflix, Red Hat, New Relic, Twilio, Decodable, AWS, Databricks, and more.

Here are the topics and sessions our three interviewees are most excited about.

  1. Sharing Learnings Across Organizations and Disciplines
  2. For software engineers Jay and Sanjana, they’re eager to see how other companies are applying the streaming technologies that they work on every day.

    Sanjana noted that after presenting at Kafka Summit 2022, the people who asked questions after her session gave her plenty of helpful insight into the operational burden and overhead Confluent customers are facing every day. “At Kafka Summit, it’s all about the specific pros and cons about Kafka specifically.” Sanjana said. “I think that Current will be a much bigger conversation.”

    Jay echoed those thoughts, while also mentioning his interest in learning more about change data capture and the Apache Iceberg project, a tool open-sourced by Netflix. “I’m super interested in how change data capture (CDC) and Apache Iceberg work together, of which, Iceberg Tables were recently announced by Snowflake,” Jay said. “So I’m really looking forward to Netflix’s talk.”

    When we spoke with Viktor, he told us that he’s particularly looking forward to sessions from Tim Berglund and Adi Polak on real-time analytics and chaos engineering, respectively.

    He also shared how much he values the benefit of in-person learning:

    “I’m excited to be there for the keynote and for the party obviously, to talk to people and enjoy the conference and live conversation about all things event streaming and Kafka. You know, we can do as many Zoom calls and virtual conferences as we want, but that will not replace actual conversation with real people exchanging ideas.”

    Check out more sessions on the agenda at Current 2022.

  3. Finding Priceless Opportunities for Career Growth
  4. During our conversations, all three presenters discussed how beneficial these kinds of industry events are for career growth. Not only do attendees have the chance to be exposed to new ways of thinking and potentially unfamiliar technologies, but they also have the opportunity to network and build professional relationships.

    Sanjana’s already eager for followup questions on her session on multi-region replication. While telling us about how she arrived at that topic, she explained what led to her interest in first presenting at Kafka Summit and now at Current 2022.

    “When I was working on Cluster Linking, it kind of dawned on me – you know, we can build this more natively within the clusters itself. And I think that lends itself to a lot more use cases and opportunities within the data streaming realm … That’s where I became a lot more passionate about how we build a system that is truly ubiquitously everywhere,” she said.

    Being able to have those conversations beyond a single company or even the Kafka community should help attendees build useful professional connections. “It’s not about who you know or what you know – it’s about who knows what you know,” Viktor said. That certainly holds true in his career trajectory, as he also shared with us that every previous job he’s had started with a conversation at an industry event like Current.

  5. Discovering New Use Cases, Tools, and Resources
  6. Industry events have helped all three presenters discover resources, tools, and methodologies that have then applied back to their day to day work. Now, Sanjana’s looking forward to learning from how the USPS uses data streaming, from Jun Rao’s keynote with the CIO of USPS as well as a separate session led by USPS data scientist Murali Kannan. She’ll also be checking out a session led by fellow Confluent engineer, Justine Olshan: “What’s Up with Availability in Kafka.”

    Explore the Current 2022 agenda.

    Both Viktor and Jay noted that these kinds of events can be especially helpful for beginners who are looking for ways to connect with and learn from more experienced practitioners. According to Viktor, it’s important to learn from both “the companies who will be building [data streaming] tools and the companies who will be using those tools.”

    Jay noted: “If I was talking to my younger self, I would [say]: don’t try to learn everything, focus on learning the fundamentals, and explore new areas as well. And don’t be shy – ask questions and then meet new people.” For those new to data streaming, he recommends checking out the Fundamentals of Apache Kafka training session.

    In Jay’s opinion, however, getting back to basics isn’t just for beginners. He also plans to attend a session led by fellow Snowflake engineers Dan Sotolongo and Tyler Akidau. Their session, “Streaming 101 Revisited,” is a refresh of Tyler’s well-known 2015 O’Reilly article of the same name. But as Jay puts it, “A lot of things have changed,” so he’s looking forward to exploring new insights about the emerging data streaming landscape.

Join the Data Streaming Community at Current

That’s why industry events like Current can be so powerful. Bringing together the people building data streaming platforms, tools, and applications alongside the leaders mapping the long-term vision and strategy can help the surrounding community align around the same challenges, helping everyone learn and grow together, faster.

Ultimately, that leads to accelerated innovation that increases opportunities for you to put your data streaming skills in action. Ready to start planning which sessions you’ll attend?

Register now – and use the code PRMBLG for 25% off the registration fee.

Zion Samuel is a writer on the Brand Marketing team at Confluent. Prior to Confluent, Zion has spent several years writing for organizations in various technology and healthcare sectors.

Joe Shore is part of the Community Team at Confluent as a Senior Community Associate. In his four years at Confluent, he has dedicated himself to running, creating, and supporting programs and initiatives which make a positive impact on developers learning Confluent and OSS technologies.

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