My First Dip into Conference Speaking at JSDayIE

Reflecting on my experience speaking about monorepos and Nx at JSDayIE

October 16, 2023

This is a cross-post of my article on the Orbital Witness Tech Blog, where we're building software that thinks like a Real Estate Lawyer. Check out our current open roles on our Careers Page!

Last month I had the opportunity to speak at JSDayIE in Dublin, Ireland — a 1 day conference featuring speakers giving talks on a wide range of topics related to JavaScript. This was my first time giving a conference talk, and after the initial trouble of deciding what to speak about, it went remarkably smoothly!

The First Steps

After much deliberation about what the topic of my talk would be, I decided to speak about building fast, maintainable JavaScript monorepos with Nx, a tool that I'd been using extensively and getting huge value from — so wanted to share with others how useful it can be for improving developer productivity! I wrote up a summary of my proposed talk and submitted it. Given that this was my first time going through a CFP (Call for Papers) process I was shocked and excited when I found out a few months later that I'd been selected to speak!

The Conference

I arrived in Dublin the day before the conference, and after a little bit of sightseeing, some last-minute tweaks to my slides, and a final run-through in my hotel room, it was time for the speakers' dinner. This was a great opportunity to meet the organisers in-person for the first time, as well as all of the other speakers who I'd be sharing a stage with the next day — like-minded JavaScript developers that had travelled in from all around the world. It was awesome getting to know everybody, and the other speakers, many of whom were conference speaking veterans, gave me some brilliant advice as a first-time speaker which I was very grateful for, most notably: "Everybody in the audience wants you to do well". This really helped my mindset and confidence!

The next morning, after a rainy journey to the venue and a quick tech check, the seats were filled and the conference kicked off with the first of the day's talks. Soon enough it was my turn to take to the stage. Immediately, any nerves I had disappeared and I got into the flow of delivering my talk, just like when I was practicing. I explained some of the problems solved by monorepos, and the ways that Nx can help in maintaining them with features such as distributed task caching, executors, generators, and lint rules to enforce module boundaries — all demoed with some live coding! The 25 minute slot went by so quickly it wasn't until I returned to my seat that I had a chance to really take in what I'd just achieved, as I was congratulated on giving my first talk by the other speakers.

With my own talk out of the way, I could settle in for all of the other great talks for the rest of the day. The topics of the talks ranged widely from state machines, to passkeys, to web audio APIs, and more. Listening to all of the talks left me with lots of new ideas to bring back to London and explore further.

Giving my talk

The room was packed, but the whole experience was much less daunting than I expected!


Overall I was really pleased with how my talk went — all of my demos went as planned (phew!) and it was well received by the audience, even managing to get a couple of laughs! It was great to be able to chat with people in more depth about some of the things that I mentioned afterwards, and hearing people say that they had already messaged their teams to tell them about Nx as something to look into made it all feel very worthwhile. I don't think I could have picked a more welcoming, friendly and well-organised conference to make my speaking debut at; everybody there made it such an enjoyable experience.

It was also extremely validating to receive some extremely positive messages from members of the Nx team shortly after the recording was posted online saying what a great intro it was! All of this considered I'm definitely going to be seeking out more conferences to speak at in the future, and I'd say to anybody that is considering doing the same — just submit that proposal — you won't regret it!

The full recording of my talk can be viewed below, and videos of all the amazing talks from the conference are available on the JSDayIE YouTube channel.

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George McCarron

I'm a software engineer based in London, UK. I'm currently building software that thinks like a Real Estate Lawyer at Orbital Witness. Sometimes I write. Sometimes I speak.

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