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October 26, 2018

Tech experts gather for Google DevFest

Liese Klein CEO Tom Nassr and COO Christy Wilson at Checkmate Digital in New Haven.

Southern Connecticut State University is slated to host the state’s biggest-ever gathering of Google developers on Saturday, a milestone for New Haven’s tech community.

New Haven firm Checkmate Digital sponsors the gathering, the second annual GDG DevFest. About 200 people are expected at Saturday’s event — weather permitting —nearly double last year’s attendance.

“This year’s DevFest is focused around some of the biggest achievements of this past year and some of the most exciting technology of next year, particularly around Google’s tools,” said Tom Nassr, CEO of Checkmate. “Layered on top of that is the fact that the New Haven tech community is growing very quickly and is just very strong.”

DevFests, which Google organizes nationwide, are designed to stimulate innovations in the developer community, Nassr said. Workshops are centered around Google tools like Flutter, Firebase, Google Cloud and Google Assistant.

As opposed to a hack-a-thon, in which coding is the focus, DevFests are more about learning. “A DevFest is more of an education day. It’s really a collection of different labs and talks and theories and different strategies,” Nassr said. Other topics at Saturday’s event include machine learning, the mobile web and Blockchain technology.

Tech novices are welcome to attend DevFest to help understand how technology can help their companies or nonprofits, said Christy Wilson, COO of Checkmate. “The other thing that gets me excited about this event is that it’s bringing both learners and experts. You’ll hear experts talking about the actual use of the technology, making it accessible and interesting,” she added.

The energy in New Haven’s tech scene is likely to spark events similar to the GDG DevFest going forward, Nassr said. He expects developer conferences soon at spaces like the District, Yale’s Tsai City and Quinnipiac’s Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship.

Tech events like DevFest are helping to build the startup scene in New Haven. “The entrepreneurial community is leveraging the growing tech community,” Nassr said. “We’re seeing a buzz of startup activity.”

“It’s a great way to bring developers and tech talent into the state,” said Don Tirea, vice president of partnerships at Checkmate. “As we’re trying to brand New Haven as ‘the city that codes,’ this is an effort that really helps us to do that.”

For more information about the GDG DevFest, click here.

Contact Liese Klein at

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