Social Dev CampThe Social Dev Camp logo took place here in the Windy City this past weekend, and I had the pleasure of attending. First off, many thanks and congratulations to Tim Courtney, Andy Angelos, Veronica Ludwig, and Heidi Massey (and many others that I didn't talk to) for their hard work in organizing and pulling off this event so smoothly.

There were some wonderful presentations, but the best part was just having so many members of the Chicago tech community in one place. I ended up missing a few sessions on Saturday simply because great conversations kept running over.

Off the top of my head, here's what stood out:

  • Mike McGee and Neal Sales-Griffin of Code Academy. Responding to the shortage of Ruby on Rails developers, as well as the desire to make programming more accessible, Neal and Mike have recently launched a twelve-week program for coding noobs to get their feet wet and learn to build web apps.
  • Heidi Massey and Eric Lannert of I.C. Stars. I.C. Stars teaches tech skills to people who didn't have a chance to go to college. Their stats are outstanding: The average participant starts the program earning $9,000/year; the average graduate makes $30,000 their first year out and $80,000 by their fifth year; and 81% of all graduates stay in the tech field.
  • Dave Kadavy, author of Design for Hackers. Dave's on the front end of a national tour pimping his recently published book. He's got great tips for aesthetically challenged left-brainers.
  • Alexis Ohanian, cofounder of Reddit. Though his plane from New York was cancelled due to Irene, he managed to Skype in for his keynote. For a guy who created something so huge (a top 50 site on the internet in terms of traffic), he was very humble, and very funny. Seeing him speak was like seeing a celebrity. He's since gone on to cofound Hipmunk and Breadpig.

I'll be posting more about individual sessions in the coming days, so check back here if you're interested.

Did you go to Social Dev Camp? What were your top picks and takeaways?

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