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Behind the Mic: An interview with our IT Days 2023 speakers

Wolfpack Digital's Dan and Florin on the stage of IT Days 2023 conference.
Wolfpack Digital
working class hero at Wolfpack Digital
Nov 24, 2023 β€’ 4 min

For the past 11 years, November has marked the arrival of IT Days, one of the most anticipated conferences in Cluj. This year was no different. 

On November 8-9, hundreds of experts and tech enthusiasts made their way to Cluj Innovation Park to learn from and connect with 60 local and international speakers who captivated the audience with talks, hands-on labs and panel discussions about the boundaries and directions between the AI revolution, morality, and technological development.

Since 2013, IT Days has brought notable experts and top voices in the field, from Mike Butcher, Editor-at-large at TechCrunch, to Sir John Dermot Turing, nephew of Alan Turing, and Danny Goh, Founder & CEO at Nexus FrontierTech, all the way to Peter Leeson, Founder and CMMI Specialist at Orchestrated Knowledge. 

During the 11th edition of the conference, our colleagues Dan - Head of Mobile - and Florin - Front End Developer - joined the lineup of local and international speakers, and now they're here to share their experiences with us. 

Let's meet them. 

Dan and Florin, please introduce yourselves briefly.


Hi, I'm Dan, a software engineer with over 8 years of experience specializing in mobile apps for iOS and Android. As head of Mobile Development at Wolfpack Digital, I focus on finding the right balance between development, research, and offering high-level guidance. I aim to continuously improve and bring innovation to our mobile department.


I started my web developer journey back in 2008, and later on, specialized in front-end and All Things Javascript. As a Software Engineer at Wolfpack Digital, I develop high-quality products at blazing speed and offer guidance on complex front-end-related matters. In my spare time, I try to focus on my other passions: photography, videography, and nature, while also finding some time to volunteer in the local Javascript Community.


What were your key takeaways from the IT Days Tech Conference? How would you capture the overall atmosphere of the event?


IT Days was a good experience all around! The diversity of content was something else; there was something of interest for everyone. We explored topics like Products and leadership, Automotive, Artificial Intelligence, Applied Tech, Metaverse, Startups, Security, and more. The presentations were engaging, and the breaks were the perfect opportunity to connect with developers and tech people. 


It was a big conference, with numerous speakers and interesting topics revolving around the proposed theme of 'Utopia.' The overall atmosphere conveyed a sense of excitement, both due to the large number of participants roaming around and the novel themes addressed by the speakers.


What motivated you to be a speaker at IT Days? Tell us about your presentation.  


I've been a speaker at IT Days in the past, and I enjoyed it, so it was a pleasure to retake the stage this year. I generally like sharing my findings and experiences with other people working in tech.

My presentation dived into two essential topics: Using AI tools to streamline the development process and Leveraging AI to enhance mobile app functionalities.

For the first one, I built an app from scratch, using AI tools as much as possible, starting from generating ideas for the app and functionalities, visuals, general app theme, the code and finally, the documentation and app store description. The main point I was trying to get across is that you can speed up the development process with AI tools.

As for the second topic, I explored some of the most common AI features in mobile apps, like Computer Vision and Natural Language Processing, and presented a few real-life examples of using them in apps. Then, I went through how to add these features step by step and integrated object detection into the app I created for/in the previous part of my presentation.


I wanted to share my thoughts at IT Days because I'm passionate about spreading knowledge and inspiring others in the tech community.

For my presentation, I drew inspiration from an article by swyx, which split the last 30 years of JavaScript into three distinct ages and wanted to take the audience through the language's evolution. 

From the early days of scripting for Netscape Navigator, I covered the Web 2.0 boom with AJAX, JQuery, and other important milestones. I then talked about how JavaScript has become the dominant language of the web and what is currently trending. Finally, I looked into the future and explored how emerging technologies like AI and ML shape "The Third Age of JavaScript".

During my prep for the conference, I played mad scientist with a giant whiteboard. I threw all my topic ideas up there and shuffled them around, grouping and ordering them for coherence. Then, I fleshed out what I wanted to say in each part and built my presentation with cool images and examples.


How does speaking at the conference contribute to your professional development and our team?


Speaking at the event was a great experience. It puts me and the company on the map in the tech world, showing we're doing cool stuff and good work - that we are active and innovating. Plus, being a speaker nudges you out of your comfort zone, making you prep hard and take charge of the narrative and direction of the discussion. But it's not just about the talk—it's also about inspiring others to step up in their work.


For me, the opportunity to speak at a conference the size of ITDays was a big step up from speaking at local meetups or company-hosted events. It aligns well with my professional goals; as for our team, I am quite proud to join the significant number of our colleagues who are speakers and who voluntarily contribute to conferences and technical workshops or accelerator programs.


Did your perspective on the industry or any specific trends change due to your participation in the conference?


Not so much on trends, but I got some exciting ideas about working with people from different generations (gen x, y, z) and why some software principles might become obsolete over time.


I learn new things with every conference I participate in and change my perspective on established concepts. 

At IT Days this year, AI took the spotlight in several presentations, offering me fresh insights into the potential future landscape, especially concerning Large Language Models (LLMs).

One talk by Daniel Terhorst-North really got the gears turning. He delved into the drawbacks of age-old methodologies and paradigms, pushing us to rethink our approaches. A standout quote from Admiral Grace Hopper stuck with me: "The most dangerous phrase you can use is 'But we've always done it this way!" This experience inspired me to challenge the status quo and embrace new perspectives.


In conclusion... 

IT Days 2023 was more than just a conference; it was a catalyst for inspiration, fostering a spirit of continuous improvement and adaptability in the ever-evolving tech industry.

Our speakers, Dan and Florin, not only shared their expertise but also highlighted the importance of innovation and collaboration within the tech community. As they reflected on their experiences, it became evident that participating in such events not only contributes to personal growth but also elevates our team's presence on the global tech stage. 

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