I recently had the opportunity to talk at my local DevFest event. After racking my brain for ideas I came up with the perfect topic for a Google-sponsored event: Amazon. If you’ve read enough of our blog posts you’ll notice that most of the work I’ve done is in the AWS ecosystem. In my first blog post where I introduced KiQT, I discussed some complexities of building Kinesis Analytics Applications. In this talk, I wanted to walk attendees through the entire process of designing and building a streaming data pipeline. The dilemma became: how do I present technical content in a way that is engaging and digestible to people with a diverse set of backgrounds and experiences? Here are my takeaways from designing the talk:

  1. Set an enticing context. In the talk, I walked through building out a data pipeline in Kinesis from the context of building an app that tells you where you can park. Several people came up to me after to commiserate over the shared frustration resulting from not being able to find parking spaces. If only I had actually written the app…

  2. Look at the big picture. Forty-five minutes isn’t enough time to build a data pipeline, but I wanted the audience to leave with a framework for how to approach building a data pipeline. I thought back to when I first began learning about the Kinesis ecosystem as well as streaming data in general and distilled down the technologies we used, the process we took, and the issues we faced.

  3. Do a dry run. Practicing in front of my team helped me get a sense of how long the presentation took end to end, improve some of my slides, and work out some transitions.

  4. Get feedback from a new perspective. When my team and I first started implementing a data pipeline in Kinesis, we spent hours throughout the project drawing scenarios for how streaming data may enter the system and how it should be grouped. Yet I was lacking that content in my slides. Asking for feedback from someone who had no experience with Kinesis gave me the chance to add a few slides on what “windowing” means when it comes to streaming data.

  5. Soak up new information. During the event, I attended some talks about technologies I’d never heard of, interesting applications of technologies I knew, and building up the tech community in Upstate New York. As someone who is proud of and excited about the region I live and work in, I don’t attend enough of these events. Speaking at this one got me reconnected.

If you are interested to see what I presented, feel free to check out the slides and let me know what you think!