Open Source 101 Columbia an Overwhelming Success – Here are the numbers

A lot of hard work and long hours went into Open Source 101 Columbia, so it makes us really happy to report the event was a tremendous success.

While “tremendous success” can admittedly be defined in many ways, we’ll attempt to sum the conference up in numbers, so you can judge for yourself.

The context is also important to consider – last Tuesday was the first OS101 ever held in Columbia, so new relationships and networks had to be formed. It matters a good bit when attempting to evaluate the outcome.

A few numbers to consider:


Nearly 500 officially registered for the conference – 498 to be exact, and we’re sure we missed a few eventual attendees. At any one time 375-400 attendees were onsite and participating, which is a tremendous number.


Nearly 200 organizations were represented – 197 to be exact, and we’re again sure we missed a few. These included private companies, nonprofits, start-ups, government organizations, and start-ups. And it’s worth mentioning, the numbers were distributed across many organizations. No entity was overly represented.


Total number of sessions featured. This included 4 keynotes and 35 traditional 30-40 minute track sessions across 6 tracks.

34 | 19 | 10 | 16 | 21

The distribution, or “type” of attendee was also diverse and distributed. *Note these were self-reported numbers and not subject to outside third party assessment.

  • 34% – Developer / programmer / designer
  • 19% – Engineer / scientist / system/database administrator
  • 10% – Executive / C-level (CTO, CIO, CEO) / IT manager
  • 16% – Community / start-up / “other”
  • 21% – Technology student from university or coding school


Fourteen (14) universities, coding schools, and high schools were represented, which included:

  • Benedict College
  • Claflin University
  • Clemson University
  • Columbia College
  • Columbia International University
  • ECPI
  • JRS Coding School
  • Flatiron School
  • Marvin Ridge High School
  • Midlands Technical College
  • University of South Carolina
  • Training Concepts
  • University of South Carolina – Aiken
  • Wofford College


Attendees, speakers and sponsors represented 10 U.S. states, which included:

  • South Carolina
  • Georgia
  • Florida
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • California
  • Oregon
  • Maryland
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Colorado
  • Washington, DC (not officially a state but would make #12)

14 | 9 | 37 | 25 | 5 | 5 | 5

Level of attendee open source experience. *Note these were self-reported and not subject to third party assessment.

  • 14% – Newer to tech and to open source
  • 9% – Seasoned tech professional but new to open source
  • 37% – Seasoned tech professional with some open source experience
  • 25% – Some technology experience but new to open source
  • 5% – Student with good amount of tech and open source experience
  • 5% – Student with good amount of tech experience but little open source
  • 5% – Student with limited tech and open source experience

Coding Connections YouTube channel to interview aspiring and veteran developers at Open Source 101

Among the multiple podcasts and media outlets broadcasting from and capturing content at Open Source 101 next week will be a brand new YouTube channel called Coding Connections.

Started by Peter Estes, himself an aspiring developer, the channel is designed for aspiring coders who may need some motivation and guidance on what to learn and how to learn it. Breaking into the field and learning skills can be daunting and Peter wants to make the process easier.

Peter is actively looking for both aspiring and veteran developers to interview at the event. Anyone interested should contact him directly at or stop by his table Tuesday.

Open Source Systems to Interview OS101 Attendees for Podcast

We are really excited to announce Chad Cravens and the team at Open Source Systems will be interviewing attendees at Open Source 101 in Columbia on Tuesday, April 17.

The OSSYS team will be doing interviews at the company’s exhibit table for their podcast. The format will be a simple arrangement of two people sitting and discussing open source technology.

Who is the team looking to interview? Anyone fitting the following description:

  • Anyone involved with open source since the early days, to talk about its growth and why / how it has become the incredible ecosystem it is today
  • Leading/committers on open source projects, to discuss / promote the project
  • Open source community leaders, such as javascript communities or conference organizers

Anyone interested in being interviewed should contact Cynthia Westmoreland of Open Source Systems at to get the process started.

Volunteers Needed for Open Source 101 Columbia – Tuesday, April 17

Volunteers are an important and vital part of every event we host. Quite simply, without volunteers, the events would not be possible!

We’re looking volunteers for our upcoming Open Source 101 conference in Columbia and encourage anyone interested to answer the “call” and help out.

In exchange for working a 4 hour shift, all volunteers will receive free registration, which includes all-day programming, lunch, and access to all networking opportunities.

To sign up:

  1. Click here to head to our page
  2. Review the options listed
  3. Choose your spot and sign up

It’s that easy. You will NOT need to register an account or keep a password on

Note: does not share your email address with anyone. If you prefer not to use your email address, please contact us and we can sign you up manually.

Questions? Feel free to reach out to our Volunteer Coordinator, Jennifer Suber, via email at

Open Source 101 Featured on Good Morning Columbia

Sergio Aparacio from Columbia Economic Development and Todd Lewis from Open Source 101 appeared this week on Good Morning Columbia, a leading morning show on Columbia’s ABC affiliate WOLO, to promote the upcoming conference and why open source is important.

As Sergio states, Columbia has a diverse and global technology community that wants to contribute to Open Source. That community is working to make an impact on the software we use everyday.

Sergio Aparacio and Columbia Economic Development recognize the importance of open source, the role it plays in today’s technology environment, and its economic development potential. Their support is why we are bringing the Open Source 101 Series to Columbia, SC.

A special thanks to host Tyler Ryan, Good Morning Columbia, and WOLO ABC are in order as well. Tyler does a great job of setting the segment up and he provided the opportunity itself. That alone is huge and one of many reasons he’s one of the best in the business. Good Morning Columbia and WOLO ABC have covered the Columbia community for years and are true friends.

To view the video, click here.

Four Open Source Thought Leaders at OS101 – Speaker Spotlight #1

We’ve talked a lot about the speaker lineup at the event this year, and rightfully so. It’s full of experts from all over the U.S. representing some of the most influential companies in technology.

We’d like to use the first “Speaker Spotlight” of 2018 to highlight four. While we’ll feature more in the coming two weeks, we feel these four are a great place to start.

Danese Cooper – Head of Open Source @ PayPal

Few people in the world have had a larger impact on open source over the years as Danese.

Ms. Danese Cooper has been the Head of Open Source Software at PayPal, Inc. since February 2014. She has been Chairperson of the Node.js Foundation since June 2015. Ms. Cooper previously served as the CTO of Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., as Chief Open Source Evangelist for Sun, and as Sr. Director of Open Source Strategies for Intel. She concentrates on creating healthy open source communities and has served on the Boards of the Drupal Association, the Open Source Initiative, the Open Hardware Association and has advised Mozilla and the Apache Software Foundation. She also runs a successful open source consultancy which counts Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, SETI Foundation, Harris Corporation and Numenta as clients. She has been known to knit through meetings.

Mostafa Elzoghbi – Machine Learning Engineer, Microsoft

Mostafa might have the coolest job of any of our speakers. He builds secure, highly available, intelligent systems, predictive analytics and cloud based products.

Mostafa Elzoghbi is a Machine Learning Engineer at Microsoft. He is building new intelligent products at the Windows and Devices group. He is recognized as a SME in building secure, highly available, intelligent systems, predictive analytics, and cloud based products. His work is focused on building scalable solutions using Hadoop ecosystem, machine learning, OSS, and Microsoft data platform (Azure ML, HDInsight, Data Factory, IOT). Prior to joining Microsoft, he was awarded a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for five consecutive years. He holds a M.Sc. of Computer Science and holds several Microsoft certifications.

Erica Stanley – Engineering Manager, Salesloft

Erica is a leader in the Atlanta technology community where she leads youth coding programs and founded the ATL network of Women Who Code.

Erica Stanley is an engineering manager at SalesLoft – where she’s helping grow the product engineering team for one the Southeast’s fastest growing SaaS companies. She holds a B.S and M.S in Computer Science from Clark Atlanta University and conducted post-graduate research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Always eager to explore and push boundaries in tech, Erica has worked in various areas of technology, including web, mobile, augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence and human-centered computing.
Erica is active in the Atlanta technology community. She helps develop and teach youth coding programs, speaks at local hackathons, conferences, and user groups. She also founded the Atlanta network of Women Who Code, where she leads new developer workshops and organizes monthly tech talks, hack nights, and networking events for women technologists.

Jeremy Proffitt – Senior Site Reliability Engineer, Lending Tree

Jeremy is a rockstar in the IoT space and in the Charlotte area and has appeared on Amazon’s 3D Print the Future television show.

An accomplished “Renaissance Geek”, Jeremy has a broad background as a technologist. Serving as Lending Tree’s Senior Site Reliability Engineer, he has added processes which provide stability with self reliance and sustainability. Bring that into his own 3d Printing Lab, Alexa Skills creation or Arduino/ESP/Particle development, he builds to endure and prevent constant intervention. Jeremy has been featured on Amazon’s 3d print the future TV Show and had his Particle Home Automation Bridge published in Particle’s own newsletter. Some even call him a Rock Star – for Jeremy, it’s just about never stopping with the thinking or the doing.

Announcing Student Scholarships Made Available by The McNair Centers

Students can benefit tremendously from attending Open Source 101 via the educational content delivered by world-class speakers, and by networking with current professionals and those companies currently hiring and looking for talent.

Thanks to The McNair Institute for Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise at USC, we’re very happy to announce the availability of student scholarships to Open Source 101. We could not be more grateful for the support and partnership. Dirk Brown and Elizabeth Darden are doing world-class work and are major supporters of the technology and open source communities throughout South Carolina.

Students at the following schools can qualify for a limited amount of free registrations by simply entering the promotional code associated with each college when registering:

  • University of South Carolina – USC
  • Benedict College – Benedict
  • Midlands Technical College – MTC
  • Columbia College – ColumbiaCollege

If a current student would like to attend and does not see their school included in the list above, please contact the 101 team at

Registration includes lunch and all programming and networking events on Tuesday, April 17.

Why Should Students Attend Open Source 101? Skills, Knowledge, Jobs

Open Source is more popular today than ever before and is now nearly ubiquitous within enterprise and small-mid size company settings. As a result, having a basic understanding of open source technologies and processes is an absolute must for students to be competitive and maximize impact.

However, we have noticed that in many colleges and universities, the tools and processes required to effectively contribute and consume are being taught only on a limited basis, or in some cases not at all.

Learn the “What” and “How” via Real-World Examples at Open Source 101

We’ve hosted open source events for more than a decade now and one thing is for certain – attendees love learning from real-life case studies.

While stand-alone sessions are great for highlighting particular technologies and platforms, case-study talks demonstrate how these are actually applied in a real-world setting. And that’s what people are really after at the end of the day. There is value in the application.

The Case Study track at Open Source 101 is tremendous and will feature not only world-class experts, but sessions designed to demonstrate how they’ve applied many of the technologies you use on a consistent basis.

The Case Study track at Open Source 101 will include the following sessions:

Registration is just $29 for non-students and $10 for students, and includes all programming and networking socials. Register today before prices go up April 14th!

Underrepresented Scholarships Available Made Possible by SCRA

We’re proud and very excited to announce scholarships for traditionally underrepresented organizations and individuals are now available to Open Source 101, taking place Tuesday, April 17 at the Alumni Center in downtown Columbia, SC.

Diversity and inclusion remain a priority for the Open Source 101 team, and we want to do everything we can to promote and enable it at the event. Equal opportunity to education and networking is something everyone deserves, and we believe scholarships can make a big difference. The team at South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) is a partner and sponsor of Open Source 101 and is making the scholarships possible. We can’t thank them enough for the generosity and support.

Just a few of the organizations benefiting from the scholarships include:

  • Women Who Code Greenville
  • Women Who Code Atlanta
  • Google Women Techmakers
  • University of South Carolina Women in Engineering
  • Benedict College Society of Women Engineers
  • Benedict College National Society of Black Engineers

Anyone associated with a traditionally underrepresented organization is welcome to contact us regarding scholarship opportunities. Simply email us at for more information and we’ll respond right away.