Rafael Dohms

Rafael Dohms

Architect @SurveyMonkey. Builder of simple code, streamer of data and communicator.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands


A graduated Computer Engineer, Rafael Dohms has vast experience in the PHP ecosystem as a Developer, Speaker and Contributor. Addicted in building communities he has founded various groups where ever he lives, currently he is to blame for AmsterdamPHP. Developer by career but teacher by vocation he travels the world sharing interest in quality code, innovation and building careers. In his free time you will likely find him gaming or contributing to open source projects.

His contribution hit list includes many projects, from PHP itself to frameworks like Symfony, Zend and projects such as Doctrine and Composer. His hobby is mentoring new Speakers that eventually take speaking slots away from him in future events, a strategy he still thinks is not very smart. Not one to listen to himself he keeps mentoring and suggesting developers everywhere create their own User Groups to grow their networks and knowledge.

Area of Expertise

  • Information & Communications Technology


  • PHP
  • object calisthenics
  • Data Streaming
  • Kafka
  • composer
  • ADRs
  • Architecture
  • Communication
  • Career Growth

How'd we get here? A guide to Architectural Decision Records

Every day developers will make an uncountable number of decisions while working or run into past decisions that we do not fully understand. How can we organize all this content and simplify the sharing of architectural knowledge?
Let's explore ADRs and how they can support decision making and sharing on various levels.

Application Metrics (with Prometheus examples)

We all know not to poke at alien life forms in another planet, right? But what about metrics, do you know how to pick, measure and draw conclusions from them? In this talk we will cover various Site Reliability Engineering topics, such as SLIs and SLOs while we explore real life examples of defining and implementing metrics in a system with examples using Prometheus, an open-source system monitoring and alert platform, to demonstrate implementation. Let's get back to some real science.

A Journey into your Lizard Brain

Languages and syntax are the easy part of programming, the real challenge is in knowing how to solve a problem and how to find and understand which paths can take you to the solution, the moving parts. This talk will dive into this thought process, give you insights to train your lizard brain and expand your knowledge base.

“Writing code that lasts” … or writing code you won’t hate tomorrow.

As developers we write code everyday, only to frown at it a week after that. Why do we have such a hard time with code written by others and ourselves, this raging desire to rewrite everything we see? Writing code that survives the test of time and self judgment is a matter of clarity and simplicity. Let's talk about growing, learning and improving our code with calisthenics, readability and good design.

Communicate like a tourist

Have you ever been a tourist in a foreign land where you did not speak the language or understand the culture? You still found your way, didn't you? Let's explore the topic of communication, learning strategies, and concrete tools we can use in everyday communication applied to Engineering and Product teams.

How can ideas like Domain Design and architecture diagrams impact the information available and how it flows across our organization? Can we improve our decision-making and facilitate onboarding and sharing? In this talk, we will explore new concepts and understand why they can better help our brains assimilate data and why, ultimately, we crave communication.

This talk focuses on inspiring engineers to communicate more outside their direct teams, creating stronger cross-team relationships that will help them become more senior Individual Contributors and impact the quality of work in companies overall.
It also offers concrete options and techniques engineers can apply to make communication more effective.

The Individual Contributor Path

For most of my early career, I was told the only path up was through management roles. Our market has since evolved, and Staff+ engineering roles are more common and offer us a different path. But what is a Staff/Principal engineer? What do they do? How do they work? Are they just managers who can't admit it?

Let's explore all these topics, the skills you need, the role you may play, and the different flavors of Individual Contributors you will discover while we figure out how to hotwire your growth in this career path.

This is a work in progress; some variation may happen. As a Principal Engineer focused on mentoring our Staff Engineers, I have seen how much lack of information there is on this path and how often people put themselves in boxes that limit their ability to impact the engineering organization. This talk will try to draw a clear path and help them see potential opportunities while we outline the overlaps with managers and directors.

Dutch PHP Conference 2024 Sessionize Event

March 2024 Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Rafael Dohms

Architect @SurveyMonkey. Builder of simple code, streamer of data and communicator.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands


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