Travel author Bill Bryson famously described Perth as the most remote city in the world, but it manages to maintain a vibrant IT industry and a very active IT community.
It’s host to one of Australia’s longest running and most successful IT awards initiatives - The Western Australia IT Awards (WAiTTA), for which 2014 finalists have just been announced. The winners will be announced at the WAiTTA presentation dinner on 20 June. This month it will also host its first YOW! Software developer conference.
The awards have been conducted annually since 1991 by the WA branch of the Australian Computer Society (ACS) ”to recognise outstanding performance and contributions by members of the ICT community in Western Australia”.
The WaiTTa awards are well supported and a key feature of the WA IT scene, as this photo of the 2013 WaiTTa awards presentation dinner shows. The event attracts strong support from industry with Amcom - a Perth based, ASX listed telecoms services provider - BankWest, the WA Department of Regional Development, Fuji Xerox, Kinetic IT and Telstra as platinum sponsors, and IT related departments of four WA universities as gold sponsors: Curtin, Edith Cowan. Murdoch and the University of Western Australia.
The WA IT industry is also keen to keep up with the latest in software technology and the first YOW! Australia Software Developer Conference, YOW! West, to be held 13-14 May, is a result of that enthusiasm.
Founder Dave Thomas said: “We were approached by some keen technical leads at BankWest about bringing the unique YOW! experience to Perth to support the growing local software community. They made a very convincing case and we’re thrilled to be bringing high calibre speakers covering the spectrum of languages and platforms to the West.”
The YOW! conferences were started in 2007 and continue to be organised by Thomas, chairman of Bedarra Research Labs, in conjunction with GOTO Conferences. Thomas was an adjunct professor at Queensland University of Technology and on the planning committee for the Danish JAOO (Java and Object Orientation) conferences when, according to the YOW! web site, “developers were complaining about the difficulty they had gaining access to top speakers... [So] Dave called Denmark from the pub and after some discussion it was agreed that he would run a similar event in Australia.” The first event was held in 2008 in Brisbane and Melbourne. Since then over 6,000 developers have attended YOW! events.
Speakers at the inaugural YOW! West Conference and workshops will include Thomas, Dean Wampler, functional programming specialist, author and Typesafe consultant based in Chicago; Jeff Patton, an Agile product specialist who works as a consultant and columnist with Stickyminds.com and IEEE Software and who is based in Salt Lake City.
Other national and local experts will speak on a wide range of technical topics including enterprise software development, mobile and the Internet of Things, Agile and Lean practices and functional programming.