Another Richmond Code Camp has come and gone, and I really believe this was the best one yet. I did something this year that I've never done before at another code camp, and that was hang out in the Open Spaces area. My first experience with an Open Spaces room consisted of myself and another person being the only people in the room. Let's just say it wasn't what I was expecting.
However, Alan Stevens was the facilitator for the Open Spaces section at Richmond Code Camp. This was one of the most greatest experiences I've had in my professional life. In the morning, our group started with 6 people, but in the afternoon it was standing room only. The unstructured, but structured format of Open Spaces really gave me a chance to listen to people with different experiences talk about technology in a way I've never been exposed to. I've changed my way of thinking on issues, had methodologies I've been following re-enforced, and I've picked up new concepts.
I would say though that the proper way of having an Open Spaces section is to make it an all day thing. The major problem with my first Open Spaces experience was that it was a single session during the day, and not its own dedicated track.
My session went very well. I had a packed room (about 30-40 people I would guess), which contained 75% students. I was surprised to see that the students were of varying ages, from 20 to 50. It's good to see people getting into the industry (or revamping their skills) at these community events. I've told people on more than one occasion that I've gotten more of an education at user group meetings and code camps than I did in college. The truth is you'll learn a lot more about what the direction of the industry is by listening to and hanging around industry people. Professors in academia don't have a clue.
A few of the speakers and attendees went out to dinner after the Code Camp. These are the hours that I really wish would never end. I've made so many good friends who share the same passion for their craft as I do. I just don't see that same passion in my day job. People do what they need to do and go home. Why learn the latest and greatest when there is no pressure at work to do so? User groups and code camps are great way to revitalize yourself. I really need to start bringing actual work with me to these events, because that's when I really have the urge to code.
NoVa Code Camp is right around the corner. Sign up today and be revitalized!