conference, Development, Self-Improvement, Self-Learning

SocratesBE ’19 unconference diary

This weekend I had the opportunity to visit my favorite work event of the year: a socrates unconference. This is a quick brain dump of the things I learned in sessions, hallway discussions or over a drink. My goal is not to give a full overview of the topics covered during the sessions, but rather showcase what a typical day at a Socrates unconference could look like in case you are on the fence about attending one in the future.

Socrates unconferences use the open space format, this means that there is no predefined schedule. People just show up & share their own ideas for sessions in the morning. After some self-organization we end up with the schedule for the day. The next day this pattern repeats. It’s amazing to see how sessions and discussions during the first day often result in totally fresh session proposals the second day.

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Best practices, Self-Improvement, Self-Learning

Starting in an ongoing software project

Monday morning, 6 AM. You vault out of bed and into the shower, pick out your nicest outfit and leave for work. Finally, a new project. A breath of fresh air. The excitement of starting on a new team. The joys of digging into an unfamiliar codebase! 

In this post I provide some techniques I use to get a grasp on a new codebase fast. It’s always fun to start a new green-field project, but let’s be honest for a moment and acknowledge the fact that most projects you will work on as a software developer will start from an existing codebase. These tips and tricks will help you hit the ground running, even when you land in a muddy brown-field mess.

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Best practices, Self-Improvement, Self-Learning, Testing

Legacy code retreat

Have you ever worked with code that literally brought tears to your eyes? Not in the good sense, mind you. I’m talking about code that is such a hassle to work with it makes you rethink some of your career choices. If that’s the case, a legacy code retreat might be just what you need to stop your fear of legacy code and instead start to appreciate the opportunities for improvement it provides. Legacy code can be a joy to work with, if you tackle it the right way.

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Self-Learning

Global day of coderetreat 2012

While everyone was sleeping out last saturday, groups of software developers worldwide assembled to participate in this cool event called global day of coderetreat. The concept of a coderetreat is simple: whereas the only way for other professions like musicians to get better is to train their skills by regular practice -just for the sake of practice-, software developers never seem to really “train” their skills. They get dropped in one deadline-prone project after another, but never really take the time to perfect their skills (or as Corey Haines likes to call this, get industry best practices under their fingers). Software developers can train their skills individually by performing code katas, or they can do so in group by attending a coderetreat.

Just as musicians get better by practicing scales and jamming with other people, developers can improve their skills by performing code katas and attending coderetreats.

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