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  • PTC


Over the weekend of January 9th and 10th, PTC Vancouver held the “Software Developers of Tomorrow” conference, attracting 55 attendees. This conference featured 2 keynote speakers and 3 panelists on day 1 and a career development Q&A session along with a workshop on day 1; a total of 7 wonderful guest speakers! Throughout the conference, attendees had the opportunity to ask the guest speakers any questions, and overall gained a deeper understanding of what a career in software development is like.



Peter Morlion

The conference opened with Peter Morlion’s presentation about the intriguing topic of legacy code. He goes over the processes required to keep legacy code readable, testable, and maintainable. His wonderful presentation is followed by a Q&A session where attendees inquired about his career choices and aspirations!


The amazing keynote presentation is followed by a panel consisting of 3 distinguished guests: Michiel van de Panne, Christy Lo, and Elisa Baniassad. Together, they draw from their rich experiences in the field of software development to insightfully discuss and answer questions asked by the attendees.

Michiel van de Panne is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science at UBC, with research interests that span reinforcement learning, robotics, motor learning, and physics-based animation. His group models robot, human, and animal movements and the motor skills that underlie their movement. His research has been applied to robotics, games, and visual effects for film, and has been featured in the MIT Technology Review, Engadget, and elsewhere. His former students and postdocs have gone on to co found startups (Element AI, Anomotion, VGC); have assumed key leadership related to AI, including at Tesla (Director of AI) and DeepMotion (Chief Scientist); and hold faculty positions at universities including ETH Zurich, Simon Fraser University, Leeds, and York University.

Christy is a third-year business and computer science student at the University of British Columbia. As a student, she is excited to continue learning and pushing herself to discover the unlimited possibilities of software development and its potential to shape the future. Christy is a hackathon organizer for Vancouver's all-women* hackathon, cmd-f, and am passionate about increasing accessibility through the use of technology. She has worked as an intern at Microsoft and looks forward to the amazing things to come in her future career!

Elisa Baniassad is an Associate Professor of Teaching in the Computer Science Department of UBC. She earned her PhD, working under the supervision of Dr. Gail Murphy at UBC, then went on to hold an NSERC Postdoctoral fellowship at Trinity College Dublin. In 2003, she began life as a faculty member, first at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, then at the Australian National University, and now back at UBC, where her research and practice has shifted to focusing on Software Engineering pedagogy. She was awarded the Killam prize for teaching in 2019. Elisa has, throughout her career, held a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion within computing. She was a founding member of the diversity committee (then called the focus on women in CS committee) in the CPSC department of UBC, served on the anti sexual harassment committee at Chinese University, was on the board of the Gender Institute at the Australian National University, and is currently the chair of the Status of Women committee for the Faculty Association, among other diversity-centric activities. Her research looks at inclusion and belonging within student teams.


Ivan Beschastnikh

Day 1 of the “Software Developers of Tomorrow” conference concludes with an introduction to distributed systems from Ivan Beschastnikh. Using easy-to-understand examples and references, Ivan gave a fascinating presentation about the complex concept of distributed systems. Attendees were able to take their first step into the vast world of distributed systems.

Ivan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of British Columbia. He completed his PhD at the University of Washington in 2013 and received his formative training at the University of Chicago. He has broad research interests that touch on systems, formal methods, privacy, and security: Visit his homepage to learn more:



Career Development Speaker

Erle Dardick

The next day opened with a Q&A session held by Erle Dardick. Erle is the Founder and CEO of Monkey Group, which comprises Off-Premise Insights, The Catering Institute and MonkeyMedia Software. As an entrepreneur, author, restaurant veteran and leader in his company, Erle published his own medium “The 5 Pillars of Successful Takeout, Delivery & Catering” in 1997. This medium was made after he found success in turning a struggling Vancouver deli into a flourishing restaurant. In 2019, Erle sold his group of companies to exCater in Boston. Erle is currently focused on mentoring young technology entrepreneurs.

During Erle’s time, we discovered a better sense of taking leadership, starting a business, and overcoming obstacles in the workplace.


Building a Weather App with Sarah Bornais

The workshop for ‘Software Developers of Tomorrow’ was held by current Computer Engineering undergraduate student from the University of British Columbia, Sarah Bornais. As the workshop director, she implemented a workshop which enabled participants to learn how software developers make computers cooperate to bring websites to life. The workshop taught participants to build a simple weather app. Through her webinar, she shared insights about her experiences working in the computer science industry, what she learned from them, and how she developed a passion for the software engineering specialization.

Sarah Bornais has a background building web tools and mobile applications, and she particularly enjoys using her programming skills to solve problems in the sustainability and health fields.


To conclude our two-day conference, PTC Vancouver held an engaging Kahoot! learning game featuring trivia questions about software development and computer science as a whole. This speedy yet exciting game ended our conference with joy.


A big thanks to everyone who was able to come support us!

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