Mastering the Developer Career Journey

Thought leadership, career track strategy and technology trends for Software Developers and Engineering Leaders.

Friday, April 28th, 2017 | 8:30am – 3:00pm
SURF Incubator in the Wells Fargo Building
999 Third Ave Suite 700, Seattle, WA

The Code Writers Workshop is for Developers and Engineering Leaders in pursuit of a great life in software. We go beyond code to the hard bits of building a strong personal brand and rewarding career journey.


During this one day, hands-on event, you’ll learn practical and technical skills to boost your career, methods to hone your tech-specific leadership and teambuilding abilities, plus insight on current industry trends. You’ll also have the chance to meet speakers from leading Seattle companies and network with some of our community’s most innovative engineers and thought leaders.

Join us for a day of insights, inspiration and actionable ideas.


Cynthia Tee

Keynote Speaker: Cynthia Tee

Executive Director, Ada Developers Academy
As Executive Director of Ada Developers Academy, Cynthia is responsible for training women from diverse backgrounds for software development jobs and expanding Ada's programs. She joins Ada from Microsoft where she spent 20 years building and managing highly effective teams in program management. Cynthia earned her Master’s Degree in Computer Science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She was born and raised in the Philippines, and currently lives in North Seattle with her husband and 2 children. She is an avid aerial hoop and pole dancer and instructor.
Nick Peddy

Opening Keynote: Nick Peddy

CTO, Capital One Investing
Nick Peddy leads Capital One’s effort to transform Investing technology. Previously, Nick was steeped in the odyssey that is California’s Silicon Valley startup world, building furiously and wearing many hats as the CTO/Head of Engineering for startups in the ecommerce and on-demand spaces respectively. Prior to that, Nick spent eight years at PayPal as a developer, architect, and leader, building highly available and highly scalable payments transaction systems. His passion is thriving engineering cultures and code craftsmanship.
Deborah Dubrow

Deborah Dubrow

Senior Development Manager, Zillow
Deborah is a Senior Development Manager at Zillow and with roots as a Product Manager. Zillow has been repeatedly recognized for our strong culture and core values overall, including being named as one of Fortune Magazine's "Best Places to Work for Parents." Over her career, she's helped shift the culture of existing teams, built teams from scratch, and led as both a peer and a manager. Her current team is leading the charge for home sellers at Zillow and has a strong, supportive culture that is paying off in terms of both velocity and the sense of responsibility each developer has towards our work.
Lucy Liang

Lucy Liang

Software Engineer, Health Cloud Insights & Analytics Team, Microsoft
Lucy Liang builds platforms to generate personalized data-driven health insights for the health-conscious as a Software Engineer on the Microsoft Health Cloud Insights and Analytics team. She holds Bachelor's degrees in Computer Science and Psychology and is a rapid learner with an obsession for improving one's physical and mental fitness. A lover of technology, psychology, health, and cats, she is never without some kind of book, side project, and/or feline companion.
Pete Erickson

Pete Erickson

Founder, Modev
Pete is a serial tech entrepreneur and after organizing a successful Meetup community in 2008, turned the hobby of bringing people together into his full-time vocation. Modev focuses on building software communities and producing unique events to satisfy unmet needs in the market. Events and communities that Pete has developed include ModevCon, MVPConf, Code Writers Workshop, EXO Summits, and Behind The Scenes. Modev also works with select clients to develop community including Capital One, Amazon, Google and VMWare.

Pete was awarded U.S. Patent #5600937 for retail security and serves as the on-air tech expert for Fox 5 DC. He lives in Arlington, Virginia with his wife Sabrina and their two children.

Follow Pete on Twitter @peteerickson
Rob Duffy

Robert Duffy

VP of Engineering, Content Distribution, Platform Engineering and Video, Time Inc
Robert Duffy, is the Vice President of Engineering for the content distribution, platform engineering and video teams at Time Inc. He is responsible for the creation of platform technology, supporting over 30 brands. He is the head of the Seattle  Time Inc. engineering office, the company's dedicated platform engineering center. One of the main things he is passionate about is creating a diverse workplace and an environment for his team that fosters ingenuity, creativity, and fun!
Rebekah Bastian

Rebekah Bastian

Vice President of Product, Zillow
Rebekah Bastian is Vice President of Product at Zillow. As one of Zillow's first employees, Rebekah spearheaded the company’s mobile apps, monetization strategy and social impact product initiatives. She has been recognized in the Puget Sound Business Journal 40 Under 40 and the Inman 33 People Changing the Real Estate Industry. Rebekah earned her Masters of Mechanical Engineering at UC Berkeley. She is also a writer, a mother to two boys, and an aerial acrobat.
Dell Wolfensparger

Dell Wolfensparger

iOS: Virtual and Augmented Reality Developer, Really Big Pictures
Dell Wolfensparger is a software developer who has worked in early stage technology his entire career. He developed an early Oculus VR prototype of "Pirates of the Caribbean" for Disney, was Creative and Technical Director for Forest Ackermans Virtual Museum of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror, Lead Developer of "Thomas The Train", a children's iOS app using external audio for input instead of the touch screen, and has developed software for Virtual and Mixed Reality technologies from Oculus, HTC and Microsoft before, during and after launch.
Jacqueline Sloves

Jacqueline Sloves

Lead iOS Engineer, Vida Health
Jacqueline Sloves is the lead iOS developer at Vida Health. She holds a bachelor’s in Philosophy and Environmental Economics & Politics from UC Berkeley. She turned to learning the language of computers after a sudden return from her Peace Corps service in Ukraine in 2014. When she's not coding, you may find her running ultra marathons, baking, or listening to Fleetwood Mac.
Tony Wilson

Tony Wilson

Director of Software Engineering, Capital One Investing
An engineering leader with a track record of growing teams who execute and innovate.  Passionate about building well-rounded, poly-skilled engineers how have a customer backed delivery mindset.  And one bad ass Jedi.
Nicolle Merrill

Nicolle Merrill

Founder, Fab Women Series
Nicolle Merrill is a former Yale School of Management career coach where she worked with career changers who landed roles at leading companies like Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, as well as startups. She launched the Fab Women Series to deliver future-oriented career training that motivates participants to take action.  She's obsessed with the future of work and researching how to train workers for a future career where algorithms are our coworkers. Find her at @pdxnicolle.
Jeremy Foster

Jeremy Foster

Senior Software Engineer, Microsoft
Jeremy loves his family, the outdoors in the Pacific Northwest, writing code, and (even more) talking about writing code.
John Bender

John Bender

Director of Engineering, TUNE
John is a former research scientist with little formal training in software engineering. He transitioned into the Seattle tech scene through aptitude, focus, and luck. John started his engineering (second) career as an iOS developer, taught iOS programming in several venues, and then came to TUNE as a lead engineer. He has led teams ranging from 2-40 people, interviewed countless engineers, and managed development in all parts of the stack.
Eric Osborne

Eric Osborne

CoFounder, HERE Seattle; Account Director, Aquent
Eric is an avid networker known for connecting people together from Seattle to Florida. In just under 4 years, Eric helped build HERE Seattle, one of the most successful networks focused on helping Seattle become more diverse in the Tech and Creative industries.  Eric has 14 years of Sales and Management spanning across 3 industries.  Originally from Florida, he brings a southern charm to the way normal people look at networking and building relationship.
Tammarrian Rogers

Tammarrian Rogers

Engineering Manager, Windows Division, Microsoft
Tammarrian brings nearly 30 years of engineering leadership experience in the tech industry in both hardware and software at Microsoft, Apple, and General Motors.  When not collaboratively creating the next cool product, Tammarrian enjoys inspirational speaking.  She has a BS in Physics from Tuskegee University and a MSEE from Stanford.  Tammarrian also enjoys the outdoors, spending time with her family and their standard poodle, traveling and playing racquetball.
More speakers announced soon


* Schedule additions coming soon. Schedule subject to change.

8:30am – 9:00am – Check In & Light Breakfast

9:00am – 9:25am – Opening Keynote: Code Craftsmanship

with Nick Peddy of Capital One

Writing well-crafted, robust code isn't just about producing code that runs and does what it was intended to do. It also includes all of the critical, unsexy things (CUTs) that make well-crafted code extensible, iterable, shareable, understandable, and, well... pleasant to work with. Nick Peddy, CTO for Capital One Investing, will discuss the critical concepts of code craftsmanship that apply across all development environments and the ever-changing technology landscape. Regardless of whether you're a seasoned developer or just starting out in your career, attention to code craftmanship will help set you apart from the crowd and build your reputation as an outstanding contributor.

9:30am – 12:00pm – Break Out Tracks

Career Skills & Strategy

The Art of Rapid Disambiguation

with Lucy Liang of Microsoft

Technology is exploding, and we are scrambling just to keep pace. When you're constantly in a state of "emergency learning," how do you confidently pick up new technologies and learn on the spot in what appears to be a never-ending, ambiguous space? Discover the minimum effective dose for learning, precision questioning, and other productivity hacks to strategically disambiguate any problem, unblock progress, and just plain learn things quickly.

A$k for it negotiation workshop

with Nicolle Merrill of Fab Women Series

This is where negotiation meets motivation. This negotiation workshop will get you comfortable talking about money, give you the language needed to make your next ask, and give you a framework for doing it. This is the perfect workshop to prepare you for your next promotion, salary negotiation, or help you set prices for your freelance gig or side hustle. Expect to move around, get loud, and make a professional friend or two.

Relationship Action Plan: Yes, it is all about who you know

with Eric Osborne of HERE Seattle and Aquent

Have you ever worked so hard to get the skills you need, only to find that you can't get a job? Have you ever wondered why someone who does less work than you always seem to get the promotion? No matter how you want to slice it, getting ahead is about knowing the right people. With my workshop, 'Relationship Action Plan, Yes, it is about who you know," You will learn how to build your goals in a way that aligns you with a network that supports you. A Relationship Action Plan is my secret sauce to fast track getting what you want.

Developer Life Skills - What You Don't Learn in School

with Jeremy Foster of Microsoft

I know it's heretical, but there's more to life than writing code! You live, breath, and think code, so how do you go about applying your propeller brain to the rest of life? Let's take some time to talk about the relationships, babies, hobbies, vacations, faith, and finances, and how these aspects of life might be unique or different for software developer types. It's tempting to call such topics an aside, but as a matter of fact, it's pretty much central. Try as you may, you will not be successful at neglecting the rest of life no matter how much you love typing semicolons. What is it that makes developers different? What life hacks can you apply to improve efficiency in the build process and continuous delivery of life itself?

Teambuilding, Leadership, and Technology Trends

Building a strong & supportive team culture

with Deborah Dubrow of Zillow

We all want to work in a team that feels dependable and encouraging, but so often that goes by the wayside when things get busy. How can you build a strong culture that respects team members with different strengths? How do you build trust that weathers bumps in the road? Is it possible to change the culture when you're not a manager? In this talk, we'll review some strategies for building great respect, transparency and support whether you're a team member or a leader.

Hiring quickly & still meeting diversity & quality goals

with Rob Duffy of TIME

Hiring based on any one characteristic, whether it be diversity, education or likability, can provide shallow results. Robert Duffy will explain how he successfully hires both diversely rich and uncannily bright developers, on a deadline.

Gif vs Jif and how to solve other unsolvable conflicts in the workplace

with Jacqueline Sloves of Vida Health

Interpersonal relationships are hard. And better yet, they're unavoidable. The Non-Violent Communication (or NVC) methodology can be used to establish a workplace environment of mutual respect through empathy, and honest communication. At first glance, it may seem that 'non-violent' is a superfluous adjective to put before the word 'communication'. In reality, it is the most effective way to empower everyone in an organization to be heard, and to have a voice. This workshop will take a deep dive into a concrete problem you are experiencing at work, and will give you a tool to approach workplace conflict in a constructive manner. (Bonus: NVC can also be applied to relationships outside of the workplace).

12:00pm – 12:45pm – Catered Lunch Break & Networking

12:45pm – 3:00pm — Plenary

45-minute Expert Panel

One step ahead: what developers need to know to prepare for Seattle’s changing tech scene.

Ted-style Lightning Talks

Finding Opportunities to Lead

with Rebekah Bastian of Zillow

While early roles in a technology career may be as clear as applying for a job that fits your background and taking on assigned work, the path to leadership is often not as well defined. The biggest step functions in my career – from entry-level program manager to technology executive – have come from finding opportunities and filling needs that were not yet discovered. Examples of this include creating the initial Zillow mobile apps when the iPhone was first released, and building out Zillow’s first social impact product, Community Pillar, through a series of Hack Weeks. Creating opportunities that leverage my passions and interests has been a great way of growing in my career, and having a lot of fun along the way.

On the Edge: Developing for the tech of tomorrow

with Dell Wolfensparger of Really Big Pictures

How to spot technology that will disrupt industries, develop software for it and integrate disparate software/hardware into a seamless product. As a developer where do you look for future tech trends which will increase your chances of success?

What if you were one of the first developers for the mobile, voice recognition, Perceptual Computing, Virtual Reality, and Mixed Reality? An investigation into developing for future technology before mass market acceptance.

Closing Keynote

Hacking Your Career: Becoming an Authentic Leader

with Cynthia Tee of Ada Academy

What do you want to be known for? Success and self-fulfillment come from so much more than writing great code and keeping up with technology. Many things form who you are as a leader: how you contribute to team culture and foster inclusion, mentorship, sponsorship, ally skills, and yes - even activism. Being the kind of leader people follow takes planning, practice, self-awareness, and the help of community - just like learning how to write great code. Let's talk about how you can take action towards discovering your own authenticity and leadership style as you grow your career.

3:00pm – 5:00pm – Casual Networking at a Nearby Establishment

What People are Saying


It's like a high-octane dose of mentoring!

Brook Riggio


The sessions on interviewing tips and building a strong developer culture were incredibly helpful and insightful for early-career devs.


SURF Incubator

SURF Incubator is a Seattle Coworking & Shared Office Space that supports startups, entrepreneurs and larger companies looking for office space, co-working options, meeting space or shared working facilities in the Seattle area.

Located in the Wells Fargo Building

999 3rd Avenue, Suite 700, Seattle, WA


This event will sell out, as we're capping attendance at 100 participants. Get your tickets early for the best price. *Are you a student? Contact for a student discount code


Early Bird Price

March 15 - April 14


*Are you a student? Contact for a student discount code

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