In this interview, Marco Robles, Wizeline Software Engineer, talks about the Beam Summit 2022, his role at the event, and his biggest takeaways from the other speakers and the event as a whole.
Can you first tell us a bit about the Beam Summit?
The Beam Summit was a hybrid conference held for the Apache Beam community this year in Austin, TX. Apache Beam is an open-source model for unified data in batch and stream processing. The event was essentially a meeting ground for attendees to receive all the latest news, see how Apache Beam users (Spotify, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) utilize it, and all the changes being made by different contributors.
How did you become a speaker, and can you tell us what your presentation was about?
Currently, at Wizeline, my team works alongside Google to maintain Apache Beam. My team and I have been working on different features in Apache Beam. One of them was a connector between Apache Pulsar (software to process data in streaming using a mechanism called Pub/Sub (Publisher/Subscriber) and Apache Beam, which processes data in parallel.
I presented the development process, spoke on the challenges I faced, and discussed the next steps in the feature since my presentation was about the first version. We still have a lot of work to do.
Standing in front of so many experienced people speaking about our work at Wizeline was challenging. Funny thing, I checked my heartbeat like 1 hour before I had to present, and it was almost 120rpm! I was nervous, but I pulled through.
What did you want the audience to take away from your presentation?
I wanted them to grasp the challenges we faced in making the connector. It was also important that they understood why we went about creating the connector the way we did while driving home the amount of work that still needs to be done. With that last part, I wanted to open the door for people to contribute to this development since it is an open-source project, and everyone is welcome to contribute.
What stood out about the other presentations you got to witness?
Most of the presentations were client use cases for Apache Beam. They explained how they have been using it and what changes they made to optimize the performance and reduce costs by using other services from the Google Cloud Platform.
Other presenters showed important keynotes highlighting the new changes that have been implemented. For instance, a new online playground where people new to Apache Beam can learn how to use it, benefits you can get, and features such as new SDKs like typescript or scala, or new connectors like the Pulsar or Neo4j.
Looking at the other presenters, I felt they had more senior-level experience working with Big Data and streaming data processes. All of them had a high level of experience working with Apache Beam, but in my case, that was different since I have only been working with Apache Beam for one-year. In many instances, I felt like I was new in this world.
What were your takeaways from the Summit as a whole?
It was both a personal and professional growth-inducing experience. I had to prepare myself in different aspects. Developing the content to present, making sure it would be attractive to the final audience, practicing my speech, having a solid structure, and finally being able to stand in front of people with such high profiles in engineering.
It was indescribable being able to present the work we’ve been doing since I joined Wizeline. It is definitely something I will do it again if the opportunity ever presents itself.