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Anya Brun
Anya Brun

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My first tech conference

On June 16th, I attended CodeLand 2022 – my first tech conference. I was a bit nervous but it was a great experience!

The convention was streamed live on the CodeNewbie Community platform. Nearly every speaker also had a post on CodeNewbie where you could watch their talk on-demand and post comments for them to respond to during the live questions panel.

CodeLand markets itself as a convention for early-career developers, and I definitely felt comfortable and welcomed as an individual relatively new to the tech industry looking for my first job. The talks were geared perfectly to the audience and I learned a lot.

What really impressed me about CodeLand 2022 was 1) the diversity of speakers and 2) the amazing captions.

Seriously, though—it’s shocking how bad captions can be for popular streaming services like Netflix or even live television. Not only are they poorly formatted so that it’s difficult to tell which person said what, but they often completely omit sentences or paraphrase instead of transcribing the dialogue.

In contrast, CodeLand’s captions were clear, accurate, and any mistakes in the transcription were corrected promptly.

I almost always have captions on because sometimes it’s difficult for me to interpret the sounds people make into words (weird, I know), especially when I’m not used to how they speak or I’m not with the person face-to-face. That’s part of the reason why I absolutely hate phone calls, lol.

The importance of diversity, accessibility, and inclusion was a major theme throughout the conference and it’s clear that the organizers of CodeLand 2022 practice what they preach.

My favorite talks were definitely Kelsey Hightower’s keynote speech and Silvia’s España’s talk on pseudocode. I’ve yet to watch the on-demand videos from Friday’s speakers, but I plan to do that at latest by this weekend.

Here are some particularly wise tidbits gleaned from my notes:

Kelsey Hightower — Fireside Chat

  • “Opportunities are not given; they’re taken”
  • “Make me respect me tomorrow morning”
  • Become a T-shaped developer: breadth of knowledge, depth in one area

Tracy P. Holmes — Redefining Your Programming Purpose

  • “I decided to be myself and people responded to it.”
  • “If what you want doesn’t exist, create it… Sometimes people don’t know what they need.”

Joe Glombek — Celebrate Your Misteaks

  • Turn mistakes into a learning experience
  • Share your mistakes with other people as often as possible

Haimantike Mitra — Next-Gen Inclusivity: How Gen Z Can Make Real Change in Tech

  • Be (or initiate) the change you want to see
  • Reach out 1:1 on social media to network and look for mentors, even if you’re shy or hesitant

Derek Binkley — Live Q&A Panel, in response to my question about getting feedback on your code as a solo developer

  • Get into a community, develop relationships, and ask if people are willing to look over your code
  • Open up a pull request and give yourself a code review. Just the act of explaining what you’re doing out loud is helpful

Raymond Chung — A Programmer’s Guide to Mental Health

  • When you get stuck, take a break! (emphasis mine, lol)
  • Make a list of positive affirmations and keep it visible
  • Take the initiative to reach out to your mentor / tech lead

Silvia España — I Think, Therefore I Code

  • Pseudocode allows you to think through the algorithm before you code it
  • Don’t “contaminate” your pseudocode with the language you’re going to use to code the solution

I’m glad I was able to attend CodeLand 2022. Definitely check out the on-demand talks on CodeNewbie Community if you’re just starting out your career in tech, or if you want to learn more about facilitating diversity and inclusion within the industry.

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