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Aaron McCollum
Aaron McCollum

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Codeland 2021 was a success!

This past week, I attended Codeland 2021 which is a coding conference organized by CodeNewbie and Forem. I first heard about Codeland in the middle of 2020 when they made the decision to go virtual due to Covid and were promoting it on Twitter. After attending the 2020 edition, I was very excited for this year.

This year, the 2-day conference was hosted on the CodeNewbie Forem community, which worked out really great for the videos. They had vendor pages for a few companies where we could go learn more about them and any potential job opportunities (this was an awesome part). They also had a “hallway” which was a message board for each day.

Below are some takeaways from my favorite talks!

PJ Metz gave an excellent talk called “You’re not an imposter, you’re a life-long learner.” We all struggle with it – go ahead and admit it! But PJ makes a really good point – There is a massive difference between imposters and learners. Imposters actively look to fool people over a long period of time, where learners recognize their own limitations but work to learn new things every day. Think about it – do you actively look to fool people is a mischievous way? No? Congrats, you are not an imposter. Also, 90% of developers Google when they don’t know the answer. Imposters will lie and pretend they know the answer, while a learner will say “I don’t know.” Lastly, failure is a part of learning, not lying. PJ’s talk was super encouraging with a great reminder that we are not imposters. We are learners.

Tulio Paschoalin Leao gave a fantastic talk called “Babystepping your way to becoming an Open Source contributor.” If you are like me and a beginner at contributing to open source, this is a great talk to check out! Tulio went through a few types of open source types (low, middle, and high effort open source contributions) and reminded everyone that you do not need to be an overthinker, an expert, or have to have amazing ideas to contribute to open source projects. Give it a try!

Lastly, Jonathan Yeong had a great talk called “The beauty of being stuck.” This one is personal to me, since I get stuck almost every day! Jonathan spoke about having the right mindset when you get stuck – a growth mindset. This is key when you get stuck. We can learn new things and become better developers when we get stuck and are debugging. Solving a bug is a lot like untangling a cord – you have to slowly follow the cord and untangle one thing at a time. Jonathan also suggested a troubleshooting method called “Rubber Ducking” which is when you go talk to someone about your program and bug who knows nothing about code. Explaining everything to that person can help you think through potential solutions. Without knowing the term for it, I’ve done this before with friends and it really does help.

Codeland 2021 was a success and I’m looking forward to next year already! If you missed it this year, you can go catch the reply and see all the other years of Codeland as well on CodeNewbie’s Youtube channel.

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