Hi there, welcome back :)
So much happened today! I'm exhausted, but in a good way! I'll try to be brief.
Day 2 kicked off with the coolest presentation I think I've ever seen. I loved it so much that I know these words will not do it justice. Dr. Jeff Norris (from NASA) spoke about the importance of partnerships and playing nice with each other, for the greater good of benefiting others and society. He was an exceptional speaker who shared engaging stories about unsuccessful partnerships throughout history, in contrast to the successes of teams working together. His incredibly uplifting message was delivered using technology I have never even seen before; it blew me away. Promise me you'll come back to watch it once it's available?
Then this happened ...
That's me, standing next to Yukihiro Matsumoto, also known as Matz in the Ruby community. He designed the Ruby language so this is kind of a big deal. There's a saying in the community known as MINASWAN = Matz Is Nice And So We Are Nice, which I totally get now! He was so friendly even though I was totally fan-girling on the inside! The other handsome fella is named Youssef; he's nice too :) And no, I'm not wearing black lipstick although the lighting makes it appear that way! It's actually purple.
Because I took extra time to meet Matz, I was late to Kinsey Durham's talk, "Code, Culture, and the Pursuit of Happiness". Even though I only saw the end of her presentation, I could definitely tell that she's passionate about the subject of diversity and culture in the workplace. That's great to see!
Next I attended Maggie Epps and Nikki Murray's talk, "Making it on your own and the Pitfalls of Gem Dependencies", which included advice on assessing problems in detail, in order to find the best gems for your problems' needs. They spoke about the pros and cons to using gems, and included advice on how to create your own.
Then it was time for lunch. Today's lunch was a bust (for dietary reasons I won't get into) except for the fact that Michael Hartl sat next to me! He is the author of the popular Ruby on Rails Tutorial, which I have yet to read. But I know about it because it has been recommended to me on several different occasions. He later gave a lightning talk where he asked for beginners to help him on an upcoming project. I gladly volunteered and can't wait to blog about whatever that entails soon!
After lunch, I went to the following presentations:
- "Hacking Spacetime for a Successful Career" by Brandon Hays - This was a very entertaining talk that included singing with a guitar and game references. Takeaway: there is no one path or definition of success. Be kind and help others in their career journeys.
- "Nobody Expects an Inquisition: A Programmer's Guide to Asking Questions" by Amanda Quaranto - There are no stupid questions but there are poorly formed ones. Amanda explained how to construct meaningful questions and answers.
- "Communicating Intent Through Git" by Josh Freeman - Josh discussed best practices with git commit messages and pull requests. These messages should be intentional, detailing what changes have been made and why. He even suggests the creation of a git template that would also include any resources you've used, so that later it could be referenced by you, the team, and future maintainers of the code. Also, if you need comments to explain your code, you should probably refactor it. Programs should be eloquent and self-explanatory.
- "Messenger: The (Complete) Story of Method Lookup" by my guide, Jay McGarvin - This was a detailed discussion about how Ruby method lookup works. Even though this subject was well above my current level, I was able to easily follow along and understand the subjects of classes, superclasses, inheritance, modules, mixins and refinements. Jay's book will be available Nov 30th, but you can pre-order it now at a steep discount!
The final hour was spent on a series of 5 minute or less presentations called Lightning Talks. Anyone was able to sign up for slots throughout the day but unfortunately not everyone got to present. There were a lot of interesting ideas shared, such as one by @rtdp, who has made it possible to program with Ruby in other languages, such as Hindi. My favorite one was given by my roomie, Brit. You may call me bias since she gave me an amazing shoutout at the end, letting a room full of people know that I'm looking for a job, but I found her advice to be extremely encouraging nonetheless. She recently accepted her first jr. dev position and shared tips on how she did just that. She didn't spend thousands on bootcamps, and her undergrad background is the same as mine (non-computer related)! She has taught herself in just months, using the same online resources I've found. But she has a fearless, determined, go-getter attitude, shamelessly self-promoting her way to the right people, which eventually led her to a job. She makes it look easy! She also digitized the job board with the hashtag #rubyconfjobseekers... brilliant! She's a great speaker and exudes confidence. Knowing her has inspired me so much. I enjoy my experience with Learn-co so I don't want to quit learning with them, but I am definitely going to start applying her methods immediately and switch careers very soon. I cannot wait any longer. #yolo
Thanks Brit! <3