nor(DEV): was founded 9 years ago by local software engineer, Paul Grenyer, and we thought it was important to kick off our interviews with speakers and sponsors by talking to him and discovering more about the roots of the conference.
Back in the dark ages, when working in London as a programmer, Paul joined the ACCU and appreciated that he benefited from their conference and networking opportunities, he helped them set up local groups with speakers. He also used to attend Extreme Tuesday, an Agile based group which acts as a forum for developers to chat and learn.
A lively Norwich tech scene
On returning to Norwich Paul felt that this fine city could benefit from similar community based.enterprises and established some Agile related activities.
In 2012, Paul got together with John Fagan, Stephen Pengelly, Juliana Mayer & Seb Butcher, who, at that time, were involved in separate groups, and they formed SyncNorwich which, from its inception, was an immediate success. After six months, though, Paul had itchy feet but worked with the team at establishing a conference in February 2013. Estimating that 40 would attend, to Paul’s delight 180 rolled up to the sadly defunct Open, the event was called Sync Conf.
Norfolk Developers is born
Recognising the need for a forum for developers -
“at that time we didn’t know how many tech people and companies there were in Norwich, [but knew that] there was a real appetite for tech in the city,”
Paul aligned with Dom Davis and Ben Taylor and set up nor(DEV): in 2013 of which the annual conference was an integral part, kicking off in 2014, with a healthy 250 attendance. Paul remained as the primary conference organiser until 2019 when he handed over the reins to Alex Scotton & Shaun Church.
Reflecting on the conference
“Amusingly Paul made the comment, “your ego’s writing cheques your body can’t cash” (Top Gun) which is maybe, one of the reasons that the group has expanded so widely. As well as just addressing solely developer issues, the conference now has workshops, business talks and a whole host of related subjects. At its zenith the conference could boast an attendance of 640 people over 2.5 days. Activities for school children were also included where building and programming a robot was one of the stellar attractions.
Where it’s going
Talking about the conference, Paul said,”The whole point of Norfolk Developers was to bring good quality technical content to Norfolk.” With world class speakers, engrossing talks and the networking opportunities for the tech community, it looks as if Paul’s ambition continues to be realised.
We hope you’ll enjoy this year’s conference and look out for Paul’s speech which is the opening keynote on Thursday 16 June at 12.30pm.