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Tech Talks @

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We, at, believe in continuous learning along with the product development. While working on similar projects, an engineer, at some point of time feels his knowledge is limited, that there is not enough technology information in his life. The tech talks are small informal presentations that help us stay updated with existing and new engineering trends and implement new things in the right way. And as they are internal, the experience that comes from speakers aligns directly with projects.
Why we need Tech Talks
1. Stay Updated – We need to stay updated with emerging technologies e.g. if you are an android developer and working on a health domain application then you will be fully aware of the android components that you have used but not the ones like, Maps, NFC, in-app purchase etc. that you haven’t. Tech talks introduce us to them and help us expand our horizons.
2. Right Approach – Everyone is busy developing a great product. But are we using the right approach, are we using the right APIs. How to get a bitmap from SD card into phone memory in a way that there is no memory leak. We talk about broader aspects as well as extremely specific subjects.
3. Knowledge Sharing – Talks act a great platform to share knowledge and experiences with others. A difficult problem that John solved, a new experiment that Sally performed, a new technology that Allen tried. The value addition becomes tremendous when all this gets shared. being a huge product in itself, with lot of small teams operating on various modules/components of the website; it becomes all the more necessary to share the research/learnings one did. This helps others get start directly and absorb the new approach, technology. It saves a lot of rework/research for other teams.
Topics of discussion
We cover a wide spectrum of topics from frontend to databases to mobile apps. A few broad categories include,
1. Tools/Frameworks/Libraries – We have conducted talks on Node.js, Composer, HTML5, Lucene, Hadoop, AngularJS, Docker, Android Wear, Android M, iOS Swift and many others.
2. Performance (Complexity/Speed/Memory) – Be it a website, a mobile site or a mobile app, performance is utmost important. How fast can you download a page, how much memory does it take. Have you rendered a bitmap but haven’t checked the memory it takes in the heap. All this and much more is covered in talks under performance track. Some of us also undertake courses available online and share learnings with everyone. 
3. Basic data structures – While coding, an engineer should always use the right data structures as it greatly impacts the application performance. Sometimes going back to class books is refreshing. We discuss data structures and how to use them effectively in common situations.
4. Design principles – Software design principles help us avoid having a bad design. A design is perfect if it avoids rigidity, fragility and immobility. We have started a practice within teams in which we share the design of every upcoming module to which anyone can give inputs and propose changes. On this aspect, tech talks act as a great starting point for freshers and new joiners.
5. Testing/Automation – There is no point of doing a task again and again if we can automate it. We have automated almost every application and we try to improve it by exploring new tools, discussing the performance of automation suites and increasing automation coverage.
How are we doing it?
So, every team decides internally and comes up with a list of topics that they would talk about. A calendar is prepared and meeting invites sent. This makes a cycle of discussions and no one feels overloaded. The frequency is once in a week so that we have enough time to read, research and discuss.
The teams can shuffle their lists depending upon the interests and needs of the applications. 
Benefits of doing Tech talks
1. Sharing experiences to help others see what worked and did not work for you
2. Stay updated with latest technology trends
3. Stay updated with APIs even if you are not using them in your application
4. Arrive at the right approach
5. A training exercise for freshers
6. Knowledge sharing and better team collaboration
7. An opportunity to improve presentation skills