Back in 2007 when I was employed by Trifork (or “Eastfork Object Space” as they were called back then), I attended my first conference which happened to be the company’s own “JAOO” conference (which used to be GOTO’s name, even though it had not been a pure Java conference for years).
As a light green software rookie I cannot exaggerate how uplifting it was for me to start working with EOS/Trifork, and it was a profoundly inspiring experience to go to JAOO where they weren’t only talking about .NET from a Microsoft point of view – no, they would have speakers talking about open source hippie technology that weren’t even backed by any of the sponsors!
At the time Ruby was all the rage, and I distinctly remember attending Chad Fowler’s talk on Rails’ ActiveRecord which I would contrast with Hamilton Verissimo’s talk on Castle ActiveRecord, and – even though I’ve written something like 20 lines of Ruby code in my life – I’m pretty sure that I’ve come to know most of the Ruby syntax, and I’m also pretty sure that the Ruby way of doing stuff has been influencing my coding style ever since, just because I’ve been regularly and repeatedly exposed to these Ruby things.
See, this is what’s cool about going to conferences: You go to talks about wrestling DBs with Ruby, representing state with Clojure, or on how to visualize the internals of programs by doing “beautiful debugging”, and it ends up making you better at C#. You enter talks that show off visionary technologies or visionaries themselves, and then it widens your horizon. I believe the more ideas and technologies you’re exposed to, the less bound you will be to any technology in particular, which is always a good thing to strive after as a software developer.
Once again, I’m looking forward to having an injection of insight and motivation, even if it is only for two days this year instead of the usual three (I wonder what that is about?)
See you there? 🙂