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Code Camp Season Opener

March 15, 2010

Wow!  This past weekend was the 2010 edition of Roanoke Code Camp, and let me say what a fantastic way to start the season!  I’ve been jones-ing for a Code Camp for a while now since my last event was CMAP Code Camp back in November.

Over the last few years, Code Camps and similar events have become vital to my health as a developer.  Beyond the technical knowledge available at the presentations, there is a real sense of camaraderie that exists among the attendees.  This morning back at work someone asked me how the weekend went and I said “Great! It was a weekend full of Geekdom!” 

The Value of Geekdom

I’d be willing to bet that most of us aren’t surrounded by other geeks on a regular basis.  Even for me, working at an ISV where software is our business, I am alone in my geekness.  For others it must be far worse: stuck in an IT shop or on a business team where others don’t appreciate or understand the need for geek.  In most business environments, we stand apart.

But at an event like Code Camp, we are but one of many.  While we should all treasure and embrace diversity, it is nice once in a while to be among one’s own!  I had several highlights this weekend, like Alan Stevens’ wonderful presentation “Does your Code Tell a Story?”, but I want to share with you the unexpected high point of the trip for me.

Kevin Griffin and I rode part of the way together, and on the way back we had an awesome discussion about the database design for a new project I am beginning.  We were not in agreement on how to approach the problem, each one passionate about his viewpoint, so the conversation was very lively – and educational.  It really challenged me to rethink how I look at database design and confirmed something I already knew: I don’t know enough about SQL Server.

But the best part was at the end.  I came to the realization, and shared it with Kevin at the time, that THIS was why we need community.  That conversation would have never happened inside the walls of my company.  And it wouldn’t have happened on Twitter or on a forum because it was spurred by a random comment in a face to face conversation. 

And there it really is: we need to guard against cloistering ourselves in our own technology.  We need real, human interaction.  And we need to have those conversations, whether it’s about the tech du jour, or process, or what have you.  We need community time with fellow geeks.

More Geekdom!

I often write about why you should go to Code Camps and User Groups, and I will probably keep doing so as long as they keep having a profound effect on me.  And you know what?  So far I haven’t been let down.

As I said, this was just the season opener: there are plenty of community opportunities coming up this year.  Here are a couple coming up in the near future I plan on attending:

And of course, these don’t include all the possible User Group meetings!  So as always, this is my challenge to you: do yourself a favor and get involved. Find a User Group in your area and check it out. And while you are at it, be sure to join the newly created Mid Atlantic Developer List

So, what are you waiting for? Join a User Group, go to a Code Camp, see some great presentations and meet some great people. Immerse yourself in Geekdom for a day: I’ll bet you’ll like it!

Categories: .NET
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