I spent today at Codeland, a one day conference in NYC designed for developers in the early stages of their careers. Just as at CSTA, I was there with the GitHub contingent.
Codeland had talks and a keynote in a common auditorium, smaller breakout workshops and a couple of small vendor areas.
I spent most of the morning upstairs in the GitHub lounge so I onl caught part of one morning talk. Up in the lounge we, along with the other vendors - IBM, Flatiron health, and Command Line Hero were available to talk shop and hang out with conference goers. To be honest, not too many people came by. I attribute that to the fact that we were up on the ninth floor and the elevators didn't work very well. We were in a nice space with plenty of areas for conference goers to relax, schmooze, get a snack and even play games but it was too much of an effort to get to us.
I also decided not to attend any of the workshops and stayed up in the lounge. The workshops were targeted at new devs early in their career so while some looked interesting to me, I didn't want to take up a seat from anyone who really could benefit from them,
After lunch, I relocated to the downstairs vendor area. That was much better. Since it was right near both the snacks and the main auditorium there was much more foot traffic. I also got to hear and see all the afternoon talks since audio and video were available right near where I was set up. They were pretty cool.
For me, the best part of the conference was the ability to talk with the conference attendees. On the one hand, I was there to talk GitHub but I also had the chance to talk general tech with them. I got to talk to people at all stages on their coding journeys. There were undergraduate students studying CS, second career people either in code schools or self learning, Former CS students who's lives had gone in other directions but now they're looking to get back into tech and more. I got to hear about the excitement of their adventures and tried to give advice and encouragement to those having a hard time breaking in to tech. Having shepherded so many people from neophytes to professionals I'd like to think I could provide some guidance to some of the people chatted with.
I don't know if there are any other conferences like Codeland but if there aren't there should be. It can be hard to break into tech and Codeland created both a safe environment for tech newbies and also provided really valuable content. I wasn't familiar with CodeNewbie, the organization behind Codeland before but now I'll have to see if I can have a sit down with them to talk shop and tech ed.