Amplified Learning at TrailheaDX

This post is a contribution by Daniel Peter, Lead Applications Engineer. @danieljpeter on Twitter.

Earlier this Summer I attended the first Salesforce TrailheadDX conference in San Francisco.

What is Trailhead?

For anyone unfamiliar with Trailhead, it’s an interactive learning platform that provides online tutorials for Salesforce users, admins and developers of all levels that allows people to test their knowledge, win points and proudly display badges and accomplishments on their Salesforce community profile.

What is TrailheaDX?

TrailheaDX was the inaugural Salesforce Developer conference. It was great to see an event that included sessions for all levels of developers. It is no longer the case that you need to have 15 years of programming experience to be an active participant in a developer day, at least at TrailheaDX. There were sessions dedicated to Salesforce Admins who do a little development, declarative developers and advanced developers.

TrailheaDX and the Trailhead platform embody a cultural shift in software development that Salesforce is leading. What stands out in the Salesforce developer culture to me?

  • Inclusive: Anyone can be a developer
  • Free: It’s important to make interactive learning accessible
  • Supportive: Encourage and support others in becoming better developers and furthering their careers
  • Fun: Keeping with Trailhead themes, there are camp decorations, animal mascots and really a high level of attention to detail at events and in online training that make you laugh and keep you engaged

Rising tide lifts all boats. The effect of this cultural shift is growing the developer community with diversity and at an increased rate to fill the growing need in the market for Salesforce developer talent.

Values align, purpose aligns and we all blaze new trails together.

 

My TrailheaDX Experience

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I set off on a journey to find out! Hosted at the unique San Francisco venue, the Warfield Theater, the event had more of a local, community conference feel than Salesforce’s larger annual event, Dreamforce. While the Warfield hosted larger sessions in the theater, there were also smaller sessions and activities across the street at The Village. It was fun to bop back and forth between the two venues each day depending on where the action was at the time.

My favorite session was “JavaScript Security with Lightning Locker Service” with Josh Birk and Doug Chasman. It’s a really advanced topic that isn’t well documented yet, so this was an early opportunity to get more information about it before the rollout of Salesforce Summer 16. It was great to see Salesforce demonstrate such thought leadership on JavaScript and browser security and I’d recommend that developers keep an eye out for more related content from Salesforce this Summer.

I appreciated the opportunity to listen to subject matter experts and attended a great selection sessions given by Salesforce team members. The fact that we had the opportunity to interact and have in-person conversations with speakers and attendees made the session content even more valuable.

The small venue, and potent concentration of the brightest minds in the industry made it literally possible to rub elbows with the best of them. For example, I had the opportunity to have a long conversation with two of the main engineers who are building Lightning, Doug Chasman and Jean-François Paradis. I was able to get all of my highly technical questions answered from perhaps the only two people in the world who knew the answers! It was also fun to learn Doug is a fellow sailor and we shared some sailing stories.

It’s hard to capture the excitement I felt with the number of people I met at the conference. In many ways, TrailheaDX felt like the center of the universe when it came to meeting people in the Salesforce community. I ran into people, people ran into me, people sent me direct messages on Twitter to “turn around” to meet them. Frankly, I found it exhilarating to meet these online connections in person and build relationships with so many new people who are also passionate about Salesforce development.

 (© Photo by Jakub Mosur)

(© Photo by Jakub Mosur)

While making connections is always good for your career, the collective expertise of this highly engaged and innovative Salesforce community makes these connections even more valuable, especially when you’re trying to get things done in the best way possible. Virtual communities do a great job of initiating and maintaining connections, but the chance to build new relationships and strengthen existing ones in person is still valuable, important and incredibly engaging.

TrailheaDX was off the charts at giving the attendees opportunities to network amongst themselves.

My high level takeaway about is that TrailheaDX was a natural extension of the Trailhead platform as an in person event focused on community engagement, encouraging interactive learning and making content accessible for people across skill sets. The entertainment was Dreamforce-caliber with a performance by Lenny Kravitz and a fireside chat with Steve Wozniak. If Dreamforce, Trailhead, and a community conference had a baby, it would be TrailheaDX. It also had Dreamforce-level, high value content, the learning spirit (and decor) of Trailhead, and the intimate, in-person, local goodness of a community conference.

I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for this conference next year. It sold out quickly, so if you want to go I highly recommend keep it on your radar!

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