Capital One’s Journey to Hosting One of the World’s Largest DevFests

Ever Heard of a GDG DevFest?

If not, you are definitely missing out. GDG stands for Google Developer Groups, local groups of developers interested in Google products and APIs, whose interests are not necessarily limited to just those topics. Each local group is called a GDG chapter and can host a variety of technical activities for developers; from small groups getting together to discuss technical topics, or contributing/competing in a hackathon, or larger conference-style gatherings with demos and tech talks (these are called DevFests).

There are 950 Google Developer Groups across in the world, and in 2018, they hosted 608 DevFests.

screenshot of blue, green, and white map with large clusters of red tags scattered all over the map

To find your closest Google Developer Group chapter, check out the GDG Worldwide Community Directory. This will help direct you to the closest meetups or DevFest.


Capital One and GDG

Over the last several years, Capital One and the local Washington DC area GDG chapter (GDG-DC), have had a rich, symbiotic relationship. At Capital One, we build everything in the cloud, we're proud advocates for open source technologies, use DevOps processes, and we're leaders in our industry in using data science and machine learning. As a tech-driven company, we're interested in the latest patterns and innovations from all disciplines, and one way to get that is from being an active community member. Our culture and belief in community engagement aligns well with the Google Developer Group's charter. In just the last three years, Capital One’s Northern Virginia campuses have hosted at least 50+ GDG events, workshops, and hackathons. As such, it only made sense to consider hosting the annual GDG-DC conference (DevFestDC) at the Capital One headquarters in McLean, Virginia.

Each GDG group is encouraged to host a large DevFest conference annually. These events are supported by Google, but led by the local community, including partners like Capital One. Personally, I love that part about DevFest. These events are run independently by and for the community with hands-off support by the Google GDG Program team. This organizational structure provides the local GDG organizer teams much flexibility and freedom when determining the direction and content of the events. This balance ensures the community has basic support and, creative freedom to create an event that truly reflects the needs of their local community.


This summer, Capital One will host the largest North American DevFest - DevFestDC. This event will be hosted at our brand new Headquarters in McLean, Virginia on June 14th. This is the 8th DevFestDC, and the expected turnout should exceed 1,000 engineers, developers, data scientists, product managers, and even C-suite attendees from all over the DC metro area and beyond.

Keynotes -The opening keynote featuring Eric Martin, a Capital One managing vice president of engineering, will be fantastic. Eric was one of the original engineering leaders and architects responsible for Amazon’s AWS infrastructure, as well as a former CISO for eBay. I don’t want to reveal too much about what he will share, but it will be entertaining, inspiring, and impactful. Then, at the end of the day, we will be closing out the event with a keynote by Machine Learning expert and Googler Sara Robinson. Sara has a deep technical Tensorflow background, is a lover of music, and is a Taylor Swift fan. Yes, you read that right, she once built a Taylor Swift detector with the TensorFlow Object Detection API, ML Engine, and (of course) the Swift language. If that doesn’t get you jazzed (pun intended) for her talk I am not sure what will.

Speaking Tracks - Alongside the keynotes, we will have four separate speaking tracks that will be a mix of local and worldwide experts on cloud, data engineering, machine learning, augmented reality, and mobile, as well as a variety of other topics.

Hands-On Learnings - We will also have four special hands-on DevFestDC codelabs where attendees will learn how to build chatbots, Kubernetes containers, and Angular frontends

And, of course there’s the incredible Google Cloud Derby. In this afternoon workshop hosted by the Google Cloud team, attendees will build self-driving robots designed for BATTLE. Then, after the closing keynote by Sara Robinson, there will be a winner-take-all Robo Derby during the post-event happy hour.

2 photos - photo on left is of yellow, green, and black wire robot pushing blue and green balls, with group of men and women holding black laptops and cheering in background. photo on right is shot of male and female developers standing around white square with blue, red, yellow, and green cloud in middle

In Closing...

This year is going to be even better than ever! The six separate tracks will have the most diverse content, code labs and competitions of any DevFestDC to date. There will be tons of giveaways, and even a final drawing at the closing happy hour for a collection of premium swag. Capital One is beyond excited to invite you to their facility and grow with the community. We can’t wait to see everyone on the 14th!

Tickets and other Resources:

Also, make sure to check out the DevFestDC Mobile Application:

Jared Sheehan, Director, Software Engineering, Capital One

I am an Engineering Leader at Capital One, leading a large segment of the flagship mobile application (iOS and Android) aligned with the Credit Card Line of business. Additionally, I lead four separate DC area meetups with 5000+ members in aggregate, along with supporting our DCTech startup ecosystem as an advisory board member to several energetic tech companies.

DISCLOSURE STATEMENT: © 2019 Capital One. Opinions are those of the individual author. Unless noted otherwise in this post, Capital One is not affiliated with, nor endorsed by, any of the companies mentioned. All trademarks and other intellectual property used or displayed are property of their respective owners.

Related Content