The Best Sitecore Symposium Sessions for Sitecore Beginners

There are so many great sessions available at Sitecore Symposium this year! It’s great to see the Sitecore Community put together such a wide variety of topics to learn from. Our XCentium team has put together a few blogs to help highlight sessions that are helpful depending on what you’re looking to learn. Our blog series includes session tips for beginners and seasoned pros, as well as sessions where you can find XCentium.

If you’re new to Sitecore, the choices may seem entirely overwhelming. Having been in these same shoes several years ago, I wanted to write this blog to help point you in the right direction. Here are eight sessions that would be well worth your time to attend.

Technical Track Keynote: Are we there yet?

Who Is Speaking? Emily Freeman, Technologist and Author of DevOps for Dummies

When Is It Happening? Tuesday, Nov. 5th at 11:30 AM in the Southern Hemisphere 1-3, Dolphin.

What’s It About? When DevOps surfaced as a concept 10 years ago, the economy was struggling, AWS was a toddler, servers lived in office closets, and deploys were a monthly — or quarterly — Saturday exercise. DevOps was a novel concept, focused on breaking down silos and reducing conflict between developers and operations folks. It was simple, yet difficult to understand and implement. A decade on, I find myself like a kid in the backseat asking, “Are we there yet?” And even if we were, how would we know? This talk explores the state of DevOps, cloud expansion, the growing interest in SRE, and what’s next for modern operations.

Why Attend? This should be a good overview of DevOps for Sitecore. DevOps might not be the primary area of focus for developers, but it’s definitely good to know how a Sitecore implementation goes from “dev” to “ops.” (Development to operations = living and breathing site.”

What’s New In Sitecore Land?

Who Is Speaking? Pieter Brinkman, Senior Director, Tech Marketing, Sitecore

When Is It Happening? Tuesday, Nov. 5th at 1:30 PM in the Swan 10, Swan

What’s It About? Join us for a ride through the land of Sitecore, and we'll show you all the new bits and pieces introduced in the latest releases of our software. This session is a must for anyone who wants to get a good overview of all the new and improved functionality. You'll learn exactly what's new, which improvements were made, and the reasons behind them.

Why Attend? Whether you are a developer for a partner or a company, it’s important to stay on top of the latest and greatest Sitecore offers. What better place to learn than right from Sitecore!

Balance for Better: Building a Mentoring Community with Sitecore

Who Is Speaking? Kelly Brennan, Solution Architect, EPAM. Amy Winburn, Sitecore Architect, Focus Brands.

When Is It Happening Tuesday, at 1:30 PM in the Swan 6, Swan.

What Is It About? “It’s hard to be what you can’t see.” We set about creating a mentoring program for the WoS community to help provide support and opportunities for those new to Sitecore and long-term members of the community on new adventures. We created a structured program using SC Forms for user management, SXA to create a dynamic and interactive website, and SXM for sending communications about activities and program management. Marketing automation features are used to encourage participants from enrollment to mentor/mentee matching and throughout the program. In this session, we’ll walk you through the details of how we got the site up and running and show you how Sitecore can be used to build and engage with a diverse community.

Why Attend? Finding your mentors when you are starting out can make a big impact to your career. Not only can it help you progress in your development better and faster, but mentors can give sage career advice you may not see.

Building Our Next Generation of Female Leaders

Who Is Speaking? Allison Abraham Simpkins, SVP, North America, Valtech. Blair Roebuck, Practice Lead, Marketing & Data Science at Valtech. Adrianna Shulman Talent Acquisition, Valtech.

When Is It Happening? Tuesday, Nov. 5th at 2:35 PM in the Swan 6, Swan.

What is It About? Today, only 26% and 15% of college graduates in computer/mathematical sciences and engineering, respectively, are women. What can the industry do to address the scarcity of women with the technical chops for developer roles? Valtech has one great approach: Tech Girl. Join Allison Simpkins, Sr. Vice President, North America for Valtech, as she discusses how Tech Girl exposes elementary and middle school girls to the amazing opportunities of the developer world and sparks their interest in technology and programming.

Why Attend? In a career field that is predominantly dominated by men, it’s important to encourage and mentor women to help build our next generation of female leaders. There are some very talented women on this panel and I am looking forward to hearing the wisdom they have to share.

Simplifying Sitecore for Mid-Size Organizations: How to achieve your digital goals

Who Is Speaking? Jeff Dusing, Senior Manager of Digital Marketing at WillScot. Matt Kloss, Vice President of Client Services at XCentium.

When Is It Happening? Wednesday, Nov. 6th at 11:35 AM in the Southern Hemisphere I, Dolphin.

What Is It About? Mid-market organizations face similar challenges as larger organizations, but they need to optimize budget, resources, and existing technology investments to achieve their goals. In this session, we will address how these organizations can leverage Sitecore to create an enterprise-class digital customer experience and stay competitive.

Why Attend? This is a great session for those new to Sitecore. Depending on company size, a Sitecore implementation can be incredibly complex. However, for midsize companies, it doesn’t have to be. To be able to garner tips and tricks to simplify Sitecore from seasoned pros who have gone through an implementation would be very beneficial.

Nonprofit Commerce: Why commerce is important when profits are not

Who Is Speaking? Phil Bui, Vice President of Commerce at XCentium. Yassine Alahyane, Senior Sitecore Commerce Developer at XCentium.

When Is It Happening? Wednesday, Nov. 6th at 11:35 AM in the Pelican, Swan.

What Is It About? Joyce Meyer Ministries’ story is the story of all non-profits that start as a small, grassroots organization and grow over time. With this growth, it is common for non-profits to piece together their digital solutions, which eventually handcuff organizations into a process that is disjointed and non-productive. Having leveraged the Sitecore Digital Experience and Sitecore Experience Commerce platforms to deliver engaging and relevant experiences to their customer around the world, join the XCentium and Joyce Meyers Ministries teams to learn best practices for non-profits in the commerce space. Even for non-profits, customer satisfaction doesn’t need to be a hard sell.

Why Attend? For those new to Sitecore Commerce, this session will feature a great business use case. My colleagues at XCentium will share the business complexities to consider when building a Sitecore Commerce solution and how that magnifies when considered on a global scale. They will share best practices to consider, as well as important nuances to flush out when dealing with geographic areas around the world.

Sitecore Helix Patterns, Anti-patterns and Smells

Who Is Speaking? Derek Correin, Senior Technical Account Manager, Sitecore. Nick Wesselman, PM, Developer Experience, Sitecore

When Is It Happening? Wednesday, Nov. 6th at 2:35 PM in the Swan 10, Swan.

What Is It About? Sitecore Helix is a collection of recommended practices that improve the long-term maintainability of your Sitecore solution, thus increasing the overall value created for Sitecore customers. In this session we will review development and solution patterns that can assist you in applying Helix practices, including solutions to common challenges such as Feature-to-Feature "communication" and module identification. We also will provide examples of common mistakes and other indications (smells) that you may be misapplying Helix practices incorrectly, and potentially increasing maintenance cost of your Helix-based solution.

Why Attend? This session would be useful to a Sitecore newbie because Helix is widely accepted today as a set of best practices for Sitecore development. This is a must see for new Sitecore developers!

Women Of Sitecore: Facing Key Challenges in the Digital & Technology Industry – And Winning!

Who is Speaking: Jacque Sebany, Vice President of Digital Content at the American Heart Association. Tanya Waldroup, Associate Director of Marketing Technologies at New England Biolabs. Sam Goble, Director of Client Services at XCentium. Olga Kogan, Sitecore MVP and Architect at XCentium. Moderated by Amy Macgowan, Vice President of Business Development at XCentium.

When It’s Happening: Tuesday, Nov. 5, 3:40 PM in the Southern Hemisphere 3, Dolphin.

What It’s About: Join our panel of Women of Sitecore leaders to learn about overcoming key challenges that women face in digital and technology careers. Panelists will speak about trusting your voice, being heard by the C-Suite, braving negotiations, and leading with confidence, as well as additional topics of interest to women in digital and technology. In an open and transparent conversation, these successful women will share anecdotes and advice on navigating potential project and career pitfalls, while becoming respected leaders in their fields.

Why I Am Excited: One of my passions is mentoring female developers, especially in Sitecore. I would be remiss if I didn’t share the session. The women I will be speaking with on this panel session are witty, wise, entertaining and have a lot to offer women in this industry. Consider joining us as we share experiences from our careers – and advice on how to face different challenges and overcome them. While this session is geared towards women, men can still garner career tips from this amazing panel.

I am excited to see you in Orlando next week at Sitecore Symposium! Stop by our XCentium booth and say hello. If you have questions on where to find our XCentium team while at Symposium, please visit this page.