Umbraco Spark (2)

Inside an Umbraco Conference - Umbraco Spark 2020

A story from an insider

Written by:

What is it really like to attend an Umbraco Festival or conference? In this new blog series, Inside a Festival, we'll pick an attendee and have them tell you everything you need to know. They'll give you all the details and hopefully it'll give you a glimpse into all the wonders an Umbraco festival has to offer ✨ In this first edition we're interviewing Ayse Busra Parnell, who attended the Umbraco Spark Conference. 

What is Umbraco Spark?

Umbraco Spark is a 1-day innovation conference, covering topics such as Umbraco Heartcore, .Net Core, Machine learning, AI, mobile apps and the like.

This year, it all took place on the 6th of March at the M-Shed venue in Bristol. For the second year in a row, our Gold Partner, Gibe Digital hosted this wonderful event and set a new record of 150 attendees - twice as many as last year!

One of these attendees was Busra, who will now share her story. 


Tell us a little about yourself? 

I’m a junior developer at Front Page LTD. I became a developer for almost a year and a half ago. Before that, I was a mathematics teacher in a high school in Turkey where I’m from.

I’ve been working with Umbraco as long as my career!! I'm still working with V4, V6, V7 and now V8 :)

Ayse Busra Parnell

What made you participate in the Umbraco Spark Conference?

Last year I attended the GLUUG October Hacktoberfest meetup. It was my first ever Umbraco related meetup and I really loved being there. It allowed me to meet some friendly people, who have turned into really good friends now. Besides, I learned some great things and made great contacts!

Next day of the meetup, Carole Logan asked me if I’d like to go to the Umbraco UK Fest! I literally just jumped to the opportunity 😁

The UK Fest was my first ever Umbraco festival as well. First day ever in this amazing community of Umbraco… I’m still in the process of implementing what I’ve learned at the UK Fest to my career and my life because every talk I joined was just great, super educative and also really an eye-opener for me!

Long story short, but that was when I first heard about the Umbraco Spark Conference.

For so long I’ve thought, "Spark is way too advanced for me with the experience I have"... but of course, I couldn't help but mention the existence of Spark to my manager 😁

In reality, I had no hopes of going to be perfectly honest, because Niels invited me to Codegarden 2020 after I beat him at the chilli challenge at the UK Fest and I was definitely going to Denmark 😊 (#HighFiveCoronaSucks now!!)

Spark and Codegarden would’ve been so close to each other time-wise for me to attend to Spark. But the Spark’s date came closer and I kept reminding my manager. You could call it insisting, but potato - patato, you know? :D

She checked the details of the conference and shared it with my lead developer. He was keen to go as well, so my manager arranged us a trip to Spark!!

I think I can be very persuasive some times 😆

Umbraco Spark Busra

What did you think of it?

Spark was a lot bigger than I was expected.

It was really well-organized thanks to Gibe Digital and Steve Temple again!

Most of the talks I’ve attended were about the future development for and with Umbraco.

Hearing them made me see that there are billions if not zillions of possibilities for the future technology world and so many of them are doable!

Even if it’s flying cars!! I mean it!!!! If you want to do it, you can figure out how and make it happen!

Before the talks started, Steve told us to tweet #sparkQA during the talks and the speakers would answer our questions.

I loved the idea of using social media to learn what we were wondering about while attending the talk.

This is the definition of innovation if you ask me!

Umbraco Spark Busra 2

Some of the people attending Umbraco Spark

What would you tell someone, who’s considering going to a Umbraco conference?

All of the Umbraco festivals, conferences and meetups are a great opportunity for networking, but especially at Spark. The organizers really did a great job in this regard. 

There was a gathering at a bowling place in Bristol as a pre-conference and another gathering after the conference! I didn’t join the bowling as I was too busy catching up with some of the awesome community members.

Later at night, however, I had so much fun doing karaoke at the same place with those great people again :D

Another idea that I liked was the ice breaker event before the conference - it's brilliant, especially for first-timers!

I also enjoyed the relaxing, chatty environment after the conference as well!

What really made the conference stand out for me was how all the speakers were really transparent in their subjects. They were open about their opinions of their talks after all the technical parts, which is actually really, really amazing!

Being this open and transparent just makes this amazing community friendlier. It feels like a family, but definitely not a cult!

What did you learn at this conference?

I’ve learned so much from all the talks I could attend. There is no way I can share them all here. But I can tell you some fun facts!

For example, I’ve learned that Switzerland had a 30th of February in 1712! There's a funny story behind this fact!

I learned that time is not only a relative concept in Einstein’s theory! It’s also relative in regards to every day, every second and everywhere in the world - all because of LOCAL TIME!!

I’ve learned a lot about .Net Core and the similarities and differences between .Net Core and .Net Framework. Also, I've gained an insight as to how hard it is to implement everything to .Net Core! #H5YR Unicore Team!!

Lastly, with Jon Skeet’s example of hearing the music differently after starting to play drums, I am now more aware of how important diversity is in our industry.

Thanks to my company, I never felt different or that people acted differently towards me because I’m a woman or the like!

It is really important to hear, see and live with as many diversities as you can in order to, first of all, have a better life and second of all, for our industry, in order to create a better product!

Umbraco Spark Busra 3

The View at the Umbraco Spark Conference

Anything else you’d like to add?

Lastly, this conference was not just a technical one in my opinion.

I think everyone can and should go to the Umbraco Spark Conference!

It didn’t just teach me different technical aspects that I can use in my career nor did it just let me have great networking and socializing experience - it also showed me that it is okay to have some bad days, weeks or maybe even months.

It is okay not wanting to work sometimes even though you love your job.

And it is actually NOT okay to expect people to do something just because they did once before! Especially when they are not obligated to do it.

I’m not the only one who feels this way and neither are you!

Also, be kind, before anything else.

Show more appreciation!

You’re not alone.

It was great to feel accepted…

Thank you, everyone, who contributed to Spark and made it happen! You’ve done a brilliant job!

Umbraco Spark Busra 4

And thank you Busra for sharing your Umbraco Spark story! 😍

We hope you liked this first edition of Inside a Festival and that it was able to warm your heart just a little.

Even though times are hard right now, we can't wait until the day where we finally get to interact with our community again and create more Umbazing Umbraco festivals and conferences.

Take care and stay healthy until then 💙

Loved by developers, used by thousands around the world!

One of the biggest benefits of using Umbraco is that we have the friendliest Open Source community on this planet. A community that's incredibly pro-active, extremely talented and helpful.

If you get an idea for something you would like to build in Umbraco, chances are that someone has already built it. And if you have a question, are looking for documentation or need friendly advice, go ahead and ask on the community forums.

Want to be updated on everything Umbraco?

Sign up for the Umbraco newsletter and get the latest news and special offers sent directly to your inbox