22 November 2016

Followup Global Day of Coderetreat 2016

This is an email I sent to all the participants of the recent Global Day of Coderetreat, Vienna. Because it applies to all participants worldwide, I repost it here.

Looking back at the Global Day of Coderetreat 2016
It is a month since you participated in the Global Day of Coderetreat. Let us look back for a moment. At the end of the day, during the final retrospective, you answered the questions
  • What you learned at that day?
  • What surprised you during that day?
  • What you planned to do differently?
Final RetrospectiveSome of you learned "new programming concepts" and that "it can be done in a simpler way". (These quotes were things you wrote on the Post-its on the picture on the right.) Others found new ways "how to split the problem". Several people discovered that pair programming was productive. You were surprised that there were so "many different ways to do the same functionality". But most important you decided to do things differently in the future. Here are some things that you wanted to do:
  • "Try TDD at work!"
  • "Learn more shortcuts!"
  • "Aim for simpler code!"
  • "Code more!"
These were just a few examples for the 21 things you wanted to do differently. Try to remember your personal plan. What did you write on your Post-it? In the last month, did you apply the things you learned? Did you do the thing you wanted to do differently? Did it work for you? We fall back into old patterns easily - changing habits is hard. If your first attempt failed, I encourage you to try again. Do not give up!

A box of things to take from the Coderetreat
At the end of the Coderetreat the facilitators, Houssam and I, talked about things you might want to try after the event. Houssam called it the "Box of things to take home".
  • Code Katas. Code Katas are exercises like the Game of Life. You can find many suitable exercises at codingdojo.org or codekata.com. If you like to crack some math problems I recommend Project Euler. It is a lot of fun!
  • Coding Dojo. A Coding Dojo is an event like a Coderetreat, just shorter. In Vienna there is the Coding Dojo Vienna. If you need for more practise this is the place to go. The dojo happens once a month. To get notified about upcoming events register at Softwerkskammer Gruppe Wien or follow #CodingDojoVie on Twitter. More information about Coding Dojo can be found in Emily Bache's excellent book.
  • Pair Programming. You can run your own practise session in a coffee shop or McDonalds. Talk to people in your company or at local meetups and find some like minded individuals.
  • Screencasts. Recordings of Code Katas, sometimes called Katacasts, are a great source for learning. This way you can (kind of) pair program with famous people like Robert C. Martin, J.B. Rainsberger, Sandro Mancuso and others.
  • For more details on how to improve your skills further, I recommend Houssam's (and Boris Gonnot's) article How to Boost Your Skills to Become a Better Developer.
Craftsmanship Community
Finally I want to point you to the Software Craftsmanship community in general. In Germany, Austria and Switzerland the local Craftsmanship communities are hosted by the Softwerkskammer. There is a group for Vienna and Linz. These communities run yearly conferences, the SoCraTes (Software Craftsmanship and Testing) unconferences. Currently we have SoCraTes conferences in many countries. In Austria the next SoCraTes will be autumn 2017 in Linz.

I wish you all the best for your future. You can do it!