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ACR: A Recap From A Non-Dev Perspective: Why It’s Worth Going Even If You Can’t Code
Written by Administrator on 26th April 2016, 10:22 PM
In a team meeting late February, co-founders Johanna and Juha brought a big surprise to the Wyncode team: we were all going on a road trip to Hashrocket‘s Ancient City Ruby conference!
Two full days of learning new things, talking about code, meeting cool people, and family road trip shenanigans? Sign us up! What follows is a highlight of the best moments we had at the conference. You’ll get the inside scoop from Bianca Monaco, one of our logistics ninjas Campus Directors!
Thursday April 7th, 2016
I reached into my bag to get my Ancient City Ruby packet. Inside was the golden ticket, the breakfast voucher. We went to the Cafe Cordova at the Casa Monica Hotel, the scene of the conference. As I waited for my fuel for the day, I looked around and saw them coming into the cafe: The backpack’s with at least three pouch/pocket options, a cross over bag or two held by some outliers, comfortable shoes, jeans, t-shirts that served as badges of other conferences, languages, and companies that typed this foreign language; and the parachute rope tied around their necks with the perfectly designed booklet with the blue top and Ancient City Ruby logo printed on the front. These were the developers. And and most of them had beards. They weren’t the kind of pirates that once traversed this city, but they seemed pretty badass too me.
First thing’s first, I’m not the realist when it comes to being technical. My name is Bianca, I am the Campus Director of Wyncode, and I don’t have a technical background. Yet, there I was with the Wyncode Team at Ancient City Ruby, a Conference hosted by Hashrocket that brought together Ruby developers to share knowledge, build alliances, and showcase the Ruby World.
Now, let me translate that sentence for anyone who is like me.-
Wyncode is a bootcamp where people become developers. Developers make software and apps. We were in St. Augustine, known as the Ancient City, with Hashrocket, a company that you would hire to build software, applications, and have technical assistance in all things Ruby. Ruby is a language in the coding world. In fact, all code is a language, and at this conference, we spoke Ruby. And by we, I mean not me, but everyone else. Thus, this is my account of how I infiltrated the scene and, faked it till I made it, and didn’t even need to know how to code.
Thursday April 8th 2016
The room is set for presentations:rows of chairs are in the front, and large long tables, set to be like desks are in the back – for the developers and their computers of course. The first session starts-, “Shall I Compare Thee to a Line of Code?”, led by Lauren Scott, full stack developer and poet. Slide by slide, she pulled me in, and it wasn’t code on her screen, it was prose and stanzas, Shakespeare and friends, all being compared to code.
I sat there realizing, I could contend with this; it’s not over for me yet, and we just got started. Maybe I can strive at this conference because Lauren just pointed out that a line of code is like a line of poetry, and prose is something that I can write. Then she dropped the key point “code is a language.” That’s it. Although we call it languages in this space of tech, we never really have taken into consideration how aligned it is to authors. These creatives, these intelligentsia of the tech world. They are simply authors of the internet. Their books are websites. Their libraries are web browsers. And I was surrounded by some of the original authors of what I take for granted everyday in this seemly science fiction world in which we live. Except, it’s not science fiction. And that is kind of cool.
Lauren ended her talk on a note that related all too well, developers aren’t always around to defend their code, because it exists elsewhere to be used and built upon, and interpreted. Just like some of the greatest novels of our time, it’s the work that stands by itself and exists, not the authors. A profound observation.
I was in the midst of authors, painters, mavericks, and creatives.
The intimidation of the word “tech” faded…
And then it was time for Paolo Perrotta, reigning from the foreign land of Italy. We went from poetry to questioning whether this hardware we use for their craft was really the best surface we could be typing in? Was there a better material that we could be using to make a computer? As a descendant of Italian heritage, I could only understand too well how one could leave it to an Italian to question the quality of a material that could be used for something so essential. Why aren’t we exploring outside the realms of what we consider being materials to make something we know so well, but with more potential? There I was, along with developers, being pushed to think outside the realms of reality…
Maybe I wasn’t as out of place as I thought.
After being left to question the world of materials we use- I walked into a session with Ben Lovell. As any savvy person does, you go for the Twitter follow. Right before the talk started, Ben tweeted, “Always great when one of your keynote’s has your best jokes in it.” Like a new kid in a high school lunchroom, I wanted to be Ben’s friend and he didn’t even present yet.
Ben spoke of a little something called Open Source. Open Source, open source is the software where the source code is made available for people and developers, developers, to see your projects and be able to contribute and add to it. It’s a space that is essential for innovation and is maintained and protected by developers for free. It’s important to keep it open because, well, it’s the hub of sharing, collaboration, building, and -innovation. And, even more so, it’s important to be appreciative of the people who are maintaining it, because they are doing it for no reason other than knowing its existence is important to this world. These developers that are like the librarians of the interweb. Maintaining the space of novels, encouraging people to read or even write new ones, all the while never really getting the glory they most likely deserve. I was in awe, but even more so, I was laughing because Ben was able to express such important ideas through a presentation of at least 25 meme’s and gifs – and narrated with his British accent and wit. Man, how was I going be Ben’s friend?
This was my chance to be EVERYONE’s friend.
There was a scenic boat cruise and we were given two golden tickets, and by golden tickets this time I mean drink tickets. Plus, who was on my boat, but none other than Lauren, Paolo, AND Ben. My problem was that although they all gave talks that I was able to digest without being a developer, the intimidation was real. These individuals were casually speaking in the language that they typically type. How was I, Bianca Monaco the muggle, going to infiltrate the conversation and make friends? My lunchroom high school problems were very real.
Until they weren’t. Because, in reality all I had to do was remember that these people were humans too, who have other interests outside of coding. Which is where I come in. All of a sudden I realized my competitive advantage was that I wasn’t going to talk about coding. Something that everyone did all day long. “Hey Paolo, you had a wonderful talk, I noticed you are from Italy. Where specifically?” And just like that I made friends. Paolo, Ben and all.
Friday April 9th 2016
Needless to say after getting over the fear that I wouldn’t be able to contend in such a world, I was feeling a bit more confident this time around when I was ordering my breakfast and, watching the crowd come in for the next round of discussions.
Although admittedly, this time around I was only able to keep up with one discussion in particular – Cameron Daigle, a Hashrocket Designer and speaker at this year’s event.
Cameron discussed the elements of how, within understanding your team, you can manage your meetings better. What people don’t seem to realize is that in a world that many think is a lonely one, it’s actually one full of community and teamwork. So this discussion did not fall upon deaf ears. What was more interesting is that Cameron presented parallel archetypes used in game theory to help people better understand personalities and motivations….Very similar to how I compared paralleled the developers at this conference to the greatest authors of our time.
The conference came to an end and so did the notes I took to write this account. Yet, if I dig into the trove of my mind or revisit the website of events that can be found here: http://www.ancientcityruby.com/speakers/ and follow all of my guest speakers here:
I can keep the experience going until the next time. Right? Gotta love tech man.
Until Next time.