One of Midwest's largest tech developer conferences kicks off in KC

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Developer Conference kicked off Wednesday, marking its 10th year.

Lee Brandt, came up with the idea, wanting a thriving tech scene in Kansas City.

“If I want my own tech scene, it's up to me to make one,” Brandt said.

He and a few other directors kicked off the conference 10 years ago and started off with 120 participants.

Now, that number has grown to roughly 2,000 attendees, bringing more people up to speed about the software companies in the area.

“The tech scene fills the need back to the conference in the fact that all these technology things that are going on in our city, most people don't know about them,” Brandt said.

Adaptive, an IT recruiting company states right now staffing is in high demand in this industry.

“And the technology's ever-changing too, so when the technology shifts, where it does very rapidly, the market has to shift because it shifts so quickly there's just a shortage of people that have that knowledge base,” Adaptive Owner and Vice President, Matt Twyman said.

Twyman says with Kansas City ever-evolving, the city is bringing in more tech businesses.

“I think today we have a more populated scene for the mid-size and small market IT space too which is always exciting - I think there's more venture capital money coming to Kansas City all the time,” Twyman said.

That’s why Adaptive and several other companies are at the conference, having sessions of that rapid technology changing, networking, and recruiting; also bringing more women to the developer table.

“We need to make sure that our technology and the ways we are solving it are helping everyone and not just a certain subset of tech-empowered people,” Kansas City Women in Technology founder, Jennifer Wadella said.

It’s one of the reasons Ruby Rios is here. She’s a recent high school graduate who plans on studying computer science at UMKC. She’s a first-time speaker at KCDC, hoping to get more women involved in STEM fields. 

"Our girls need to be brave and not perfect so when you come to events like this, you have to be willing to speak up for yourself and know you are a valuable asset to these technological communities,” Rios said.

Brandt says collaboration with the community will help tech businesses in the area thrive.

The conference ends on Friday.

For more information about the conference, click here.

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