Toronto Code Camp 2010: Lessons Learned

This weekend I had the great opportunity to attend Toronto Code Camp 2010. It was my first code camp and my first major dev-related event, so I was pretty excited all around. I’m happy to say it didn’t disappoint. Over the next few days I’ll post some of the notes I’ve made and/or links to slides if I can find them, but for this point I’d like to just list some of the lessons I learned.

In no particular order…

1. Having business cards on hand is important.

Every conversation I had in-between sessions ended with an exchange of business cards. The ones I had with me were employer-branded, which is better than nothing, but I think I will be making some of my own soon.

2. Talks that look irrelevant may turn out to be very enjoyable.

I’m primarily a desktop application developer just starting to poke my nose outside .NET 2.0. I was worried for a bit that the event was very focused on technologies I don’t work with. Well, lesson learned: that doesn’t matter. Learning something outside my normal work was perhaps one of the most valuable things I took home with me.

I would almost go as far as to say “go to talks on subjects you know nothing about”.

3. Bring food.

The code camp’s organizers, volunteers, and sponsors do an excellent job of bringing a free event out to the developer community and provide a free (!) lunch to the majority of the attendees. Alas, for a day full of thinking, it would be helpful to have some “brain food” on hand throughout the day.

I didn’t bring anything along this time and my afternoon sustenance was comprised of a Coke and a Bounty bar out of the vending machine. This is not a mistake I plan on repeating.

4. Even though they may work with different programming languages or technologies, all developers speak code.

I don’t think there’s anything else I need (or have to) say about this one. When in doubt, sketch out some code on a napkin. Maybe clarify the syntax. And suddenly you’ve explained a concept to someone even though you’re working in drastically different areas.

5. Don’t be shy.

I only recently began coming out to user groups and other dev-related events and I gotta say that writing code in isolation, no matter what you’re working on, isn’t nearly as fun as coming out and meeting other people with the same interests. So don’t be shy. Say hello to the person next to you, ask about them and tell them about yourself.


I came home from the camp both incredibly inspired and incredibly worn out. “Information overload” didn’t quite cover it. Now that I’ve had time to process, I can safely say that the event, for me, has been a blast. I regret being unable to stay for the afterparty and meet more people, but that’s something to fix for next year as well.

For now, I’m excited about the Microsoft Web Camp coming up on May 7 and 8. And after that… who knows?

Leave a comment

1 Comment

  1. Rayson Ho

     /  May 6, 2010

    Glad you enjoyed it!

    Some of the presentations are available at:



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: