My first Sitecore Symposium

Last week I had one of the most amazing experiences in my professional career. So much that I’m still reeling everything in. For the first time since becoming a Sitecore developer two years ago, I finally went to my first symposium, this year in Orlando, Florida.
If you read my previous post, you know that although I’ve been a Sitecore developer from some time, my overall experience with Sitecore has been not that much, and that in my former workplace, they stopped using Sitecore for the clients altogether. In that time, there were talks about going to the symposium event, but it stayed at that: only talk. When I moved into my current job, right of the bat I was told some of the developers were going to Symposium and was asked If I wanted to go.

I was a little bit reluctant to go, to be honest. I’ve never been to Symposium, and didn’t knew what to expect. Also, since I was kind of out of practice with Sitecore, I felt that it was an event for people more advanced in Sitecore than me; in other words, I didn’t felt worthy. I know it sounds stupid, but it can be overwhelming and intimidating, when you have a lot of impostor syndrome thoughts in your head (dealing with them at the moment).

So I decided to go and I’ll say I’m glad I did; because it was a blast! From the Pre-Symposium seminars, to the keynotes, to all the different talks I attended. It was exhausting but nevertheless a unique and awesome experience. I’m not very good at words or at describing at detail things (and I might not remember everything), but I’ll try my best to describe the whole experience the best I can:

Day 1: I enrolled to one of the pre-Symposium courses (SXA to Accelerating UI Developmemt) that was on the afternoon. I chose this one since were looking to work heavily with SXA in my job. It was really good, I got a better understanding of SXA and will be working on it hands-on in the next weeks!

Day 2: Opening keynote with Sitecore’s CEO Mark Frost and Sitecore’s CMO Paige O’Neill was right on for what would be the atmosphere through the whole Symposium. After that we got to hear awesome stories and motivation from Mick Ebeling, Founder & CEO of Not Impossible Labs. Seriously, after hearing this guy, I feel that I waste my free time.

And after that… to the session! These are the sessions I attended on Day 2:

  • Headless CMS and the great uncopling.

  • Sitecore in the cloud with Microsoft Azure
  • The Sitecore headless revolution
  • Working with JSS Gold Master and Marketing Automation

And to end Day 2, closing keynote with Daymond John! I admit I was looking forward to hear what he had to say on Symposium, being a fan of “Shark Tank”. He was honest and funny, and some of his words stayed with me through the whole symposium.

After a day of keynotes and sessions, I was really tired. To a point that I went straight to the hotel room and didn’t even got dinner! Stayed in bed and slept a lot to have energy for the next day.

Started Day 3 with sessions as early as 8:00 am:

  • Helix and JavaScript Services (JSS)
  • Beyond the SXA toolbox

  • JSS in powerful ways
  • Experience the development workflow of your dreams with modern JavaScript and Sitecore JSS
  • … and the last one!

After another day full of awesome sessions, we got to see the Sitecore Experience Awards Ultimate winners and then go to Universal Studios for the Symposium Party. And it was amazing! I was surprised that they got a big area just for us to eat and drink and then have Island of Adventure and a lot of the rides just for us! I confess I was reluctant to go to the party since I was tired. But having the chance to be at Universal and get into some of the rides was something that I couldn’t miss. And it made more sense since the last time I was at Orlando for the parks was 28 years ago!! Even if my flat feet were hurting as hell, I got to enjoy rides like Spiderman, Kong, Jurassic Park, and Harry Potter. I even got my wife jealous showing her pictures of me having a great time with some of my coworkers and Sitecore colleagues.

Unfortunately, I didn’t got to go to the last day at Symposium, since I got to leave back to Houston early. As you can see, most of my sessions were around JSS and SXA, the first being, to me, the new biggest thing in Sitecore, and the one a lot of developers want to get their hands on. Also SXA since it combines what it’s already know of Sitecore in terms of development, but more easier and faster. And both will be used heavily in my current job.

After three days being at Symposium, I got really motivated to retake my goal of becoming a Sitecore MVP and to focus my career as a Sitecore developer. And that’s my friends is the power of Symposium! Thanks for reading this far. I hope that you’ll continue to follow me in this journey to become better at Sitecore, and that with the knowledge I gain and share you too, will become better at Sitecore.


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