2018 in a Nutshell

2018 was a great year for Vistaprint Prague Technology Center.

Our office opened in Summer 2017, with one squad. Fast forward to January 2019; we now have seven squads working on various projects, from Security to Big Data; we have product owners, agile coaches and software development managers.

In 2018, we participated in 11 events either as the organizer or the sponsor and we reached over 1000 people.

Architectural Kata

We started the year with an Architectural Kata, which is organized by our friends at Prague Software Craftsmanship and sponsored by Vistaprint Prague. 30 people registered to the event and the teams came up with their solutions to the given architectural challenge.

For those who are not familiar; Architectural Kata is a small-group exercise, where each group is given a project that needs development. The project team meets for a while, discovers requirements that aren’t in the original proposal by asking questions of the “customer” (the Moderator), discusses technology options that could work, and sketches out a rough vision of what the solution could look like.

Then, they must present their solution to the other project teams in the room, and answer challenges from the other project teams.

Winter Olympics

In February, there was 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. Ester Ledecká from the Czech Republic surprised everyone when she won the super-G gold medal and many news agencies missed it.

In March, we organized our next Kata and with around 35 participants we tried to come up with an application that will solve the mash-up in the Winter Olympics..

In this event, the participants were asked to design an application for sports events, which will allow news agencies to monitor social media and athlete’s online presence during the Winter Olympics; so that they don’t miss what’s trending.

Can you catch a thief using Big Data?

In May, we had a Big Data event. One of our Software Engineers, Jiri Adamek, led the event called “How to Catch a Thief Using Data Bricks“. 48 people registered to the event.

Jiri spoke about Spark, Databricks and the relation between the two. He then went on to explain how Spark processes big data sets using multiple nodes and how to use Databricks for a multi-source data analysis

After the presentation, the participants had fun solving a crime using Big Data skills.

PyCon 2018

In June, there was PyCon. Vistaprint was one of the main partners of the event.

PyCon aims to be the largest annual gathering for the Python community in the Czech Republic. It’s focused on honoring and supporting awesome people teaching, learning and innovating with Python in Czech Republic and surrounding EU countries.

Agile Prague

In September, there was Agile Prague and Vistaprint Prague was one of the main sponsors.

Agile Prague is an annual event organized by Agilni Asociace of the Czech Republic. The main purpose of the event is to bring together IT professionals from many fields, such as development, quality assurance and software engineering management. All of these professionals have one thing in common – interest in agile & lean practices and willingness to change their companies to the better.

Another Kata, this time with a real-life project

In September, as well as Agile Prague, we had the 4th installment of our Architectural Katas. This time the participants had a real-life project where they had to design a tool that will connect e-commerce site of clients to their accounting applications.

Authorization, resilience, latency and cost were the main challenges for the teams. Each team approached the problems in a different way.

At the end, Petr Ferschmann from Dativery, who actually wrote such an application, guided participants through working solution and picked the winners. The winners took home a custom-printed wine opener and a bottle of red wine.

Then came the October.

Where we had… 3 events!

Ask Me Anything with Agile Coaches

Two of our Agile Coaches from Vistaprint US, David and Daryl, flew to Prague and organized two events.

First, there was the AMA (Ask Me Anything) Session. Over 50 people registered to the event. Our engineer turned agile coaches answered the questions about agile, software engineering, coffee, miniature wargaming and anything else that comes to mind.

One interesting question was if the agile coaches use agile at home 🙂

Workshop with Czechitas: Adventures in Agile

Then, together with Czechitas, our Agile Coaches held a workshop at our Prague office.

Quoting from the blogger Alison A. Glitter, “… the buzz about the “Agile” software development framework has been making the rounds in the tech world for over five years. What was significant about Vistaprint’s workshop was the unlikely demographic of the attendees. The workshop didn’t look like a typical IT training because of one glaring difference: it was attended by a room full of women…

DevFest 2018: Knights, arrows, swords

Vistaprint Prague was the proud sponsor of DevFest which took place on October 26-27 in Prague. This was a community-organized festival of developers and is the largest technology festival in Central Europe with over 400 participants.

The attendees had a chance to join workshops on Friday, then return to Pragovka, the location of the event, on the Saturday for several talks and to stay for the after-party which went on into the early morning. Many topics were covered during the festival including: Web, Android, Firebase, Angular, Soft skills, Cloud, PWA and IoT.

This year’s theme was the middle ages and the participants had to finish 8 medieval competitions prepared by different IT companies to win the big prize.

Vistaprint had one of the most popular quests with an archery range.

Overall it was a couple of great days full of fun, networking and great talks which gave a brilliant opportunity to meet a lot of like-minded people.

Update Conference

In November, it was time for Update Conference.

Update Conference Prague is the biggest .NET conference in Prague, with participants from all over Europe. This year it had around 500 participants, and hosted conferences from industry experts and Microsoft MVPs from all around the world.

The list included names like Julie Lerman, who is known for her courses on Pluralsight on Entity Framework.

Vistaprint Prague was one of the sponsors of the event.

Introducing Julia: Let’s find out if she is really better than R and Python!

Who is Julia? What makes her interesting? What problems can she solve? What success stories can she already tell? What pitfalls should we watch out for?

In November, we had Introducing Julia. This meetup was organized in cooperation with Prague Julia Programming Group and software engineers from Revolt BI. With over 30 people we talked about the new kid on the block.

What about 2019?

We’re very excited about 2019. With our learnings from 2018, we have big plans that will bring excitement to Prague IT community.

This year we want to cooperate and get people involved in our events. If you have any topics or events that you think will be interesting for the Prague IT community, feel free to send us an email with your suggestions to prague@vistaprint.com. We’ll be happy to discuss.