June 6, 2013No Comments

Developer Education: June Table Talks

Software development is one of the fastest growing industries in the country, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting a 30% increase in jobs by 2020, more than double the average growth rate for all occupations. We’ve certainly seen a rebirth in Chicago’s tech scene over the past several years, as companies like Groupon, Career Builder, and Braintree have settled here.

Hand in hand with this explosion in the tech sector goes the issue of education. Who is going to train this next wave of developers, and what are the best teaching tools? How can we use mentorship to promote continued learning and improvement internally, and ensure current devs stay on top of the latest technologies and innovations? How will we reach groups typically under-represented in the dev world, like lower income individuals, certain ethnic minorities, and women?

At Table XI we’ve been thinking a lot about the role of education and mentorship in this community, and several of our team members are involved with organizations like Dev Bootcamp, Girl Develop It, I.C. Stars, and The Starter League, all of which are dedicated to teaching tech’s next crop of talent. For our June Table Talks: Developer Education, we’ll be hearing PechaKucha-style presentations from some of Chicago’s best: Ray Hightower, organizer of ChicagoRuby and WindyCityRails; Paul Pagel, CEO and Co-founder of 8th Light; Vince Cabansag, Director of Operations at The Starter League; Michael D. Hall, Founder of UGtastic; Mike Busch, Instructor at Dev Bootcamp; and Isaac Sanders, our very own summer development intern and mentor at Dev Bootcamp.

What: June Table Talks | Developer Education
When: Thurs, June 13 | 12 – 1:30 pm
Where: Table XI | 328 S Jefferson St | Suite 670

Interested in joining Table Talks as a guest? Request an invitation through our website, or keep up at #tabletalks. For past presentations, including May’s Data by Design, please visit the Table XI PechaKucha channel.

June Table Talks Poster: Developer Education

October 10, 2012No Comments

WindyCityRail’s Ray Hightower Talks Ruby Conferences

Last month all our developers took a trip to the south side of Chicago for WindyCityRails. It was a great conference, and afterward I talked to WCR organizer Ray Hightower about this year's event, what we can look forward to in 2013, and what other conferences Ruby developers should keep on their radars.

1. First off, how was Hawaii? 

Hawaii is wonderful! Aloha Ruby was a very well-organized conference full of smart people. I presented RubyMotion to a group of experienced iOS and Ruby developers. Some of the attendees produce the blogs, screencasts, and books that I use as reference materials. It was very challenging to have my teachers and mentors in the audience!

2. How did WCR 2012 compare to WCR 2011?

WindyCityRails 2012 was held on two weekdays, while previous years' events were Saturday-only. Last year's post-conference survey told us that attendees prefer to spend weekends with their families, so we shifted the dates to make that work. This year's attendance was higher than last year's even though we raised the price to cover two days of conference expenses. And of course, the venue was beautiful. The South Shore Cultural Center is in the middle of a golf course next to Lake Michigan. Since South Shore was so well received by the audience, WindyCityRails will return to South Shore in 2013.

3. What would you like to do differently for WCR 2013?

WindyCityRails 2013 will place heavier emphasis on the technical side of software development. For 2013, we've already confirmed two speakers who deliver large software projects on a regular basis. We will balance the increased technical emphasis with some creative ways for attendees to interact with each other. It would be great to make creative use of the golf course or the lake in 2013. Wonderful things happen when smart people collaborate, and WindyCityRails is a catalyst for powerful collaborations.

4. If you could recommend one non-WCR conference to a Rails dev, which would it be?

It's hard to recommend one, since I enjoy several conferences every year and each has special strengths. Aloha Ruby is exciting for the tech-cred of the audience and the speakers, plus the tropical island venue. MadisonRuby draws Ruby innovators from all over the world, and the organizers do a great job of bringing the local business community into the conference. If I'm giving a recommendation to a Chicago-area dev, I would lean toward MadisonRuby.

5. As a novice Rails dev in Chicago, what extracurricular activities should I be getting involved in?

Novice devs (and advanced devs too) will benefit from ChicagoRuby's monthly events. ChicagoRuby runs three activities each month, bouncing between downtown Chicago and the suburbs. Several strong groups can be found through Meetup.com, including Refresh Chicago, Rails Builders, and Chicago JavaScript. Finally, all devs grow stronger with practice. One great way to practice is to pair program with other devs.

Thanks for the tips, Ray!

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