Thursday, April 27, 2017

Twin Cities Code Camp 2017 - After Action Report

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend Twin Cities Code Camp for the first time. Actually, despite being in the industry since before the Code Camp concept had even started, this was the first one I'd ever had the opportunity to attend. At the urging of a coworker who had attended a number of these events for the past few years, I loaded up my trusty steed and made my course north-east towards Minneapolis.

While the ride up and back is beyond the scope of this discussion, I do want to note that this was the first trip longer than a single tank of gas that I've made on my motorcycle. At almost two hundred and fifty miles each way, this made a good shakedown run for some of the longer rides I've got planned for later this year. I came away with a couple of items that I definitely want to adjust for next time, but overall the ride went well.

For code camp, I attended five sessions: Building C# and iOS apps with Xamarin, Augmented Eyes = Azure Cognitive Services + Hololens, Scratch: Programming for Kids (and Adults), The Importance of Networking (human, not computers), and Cool SQL Features Everyone Should Know About. Having previously worked on HoloStudio and Robo Raid, the Hololens talk was a personal highlight. The post talk Hololens play session where people were trying on the devices for the first time and experiencing Robo Raid was great. Watching other people have those "Whoa!" experiences for the first time is fantastic.

The Xamarin talk was another excellent one for me. I've been hoping to work on a personal project for mobile devices later in the year, and Xamarin is sounding very promising as a technology for me to use. Since I'm primarily a C# developer these days, the promise of being able to use what I already know to develop for multiple platforms sounds like a great time saver.

The most humorous moment for me came at the start of the Networking panel. Let's be honest, most of us in the software industry are introverts to one extent or another, and it was never more obvious than before a panel about talking to new people, when literally no one in the room was talking to each other! No wonder we need an extroverted placement specialist to help remind us why we need to be talking, making new friends, and keeping our personal networks up to date.

This isn't meant to slight the other two panels I attended either. While the SQL talk was a bit over my head (I'm still working on better understanding SQL), there was some excellent advice there. The Scratch panel was also fantastic, introducing me to a programming language I'd never heard of before,that it sounds like some of my kids will really enjoy.

It was a great use of a Saturday. I met some new people, learned some things, and came away with a cool new t-shirt. I'll definitely be back next year. If you're even tangentilly involved in software development, or interested in writing code, I highly recommend finding out if there's a code camp near you.

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