Oredev 2011 reflections

Last week I attended the [Oredev conference][oredev] for the second time, and thought I’d share some thoughts about the experience. I wrote a bit about last year’s conference a year ago (which at the current snail’s pace of this blog is just about 4 posts ago). [oredev]: http://oredev.org

For anyone who doesn’t know, Oredev is a software development conference that brings in speakers from around the globe and from a wide range of fields. There are expert programmers focused on particular platforms, there are process people focusing on agile practices, there are testers, designers, and plenty more. Almost anyone doing modern software development will find something of interest at Oredev. The conference has several parallel tracks (you can switch between them at will) focusing on different fields and technologies, and there’s a quite high ratio of attendees to speakers (about 10% of the attendees are speakers), so there are lots of experts around all the time.

That may all sound a bit dry. But apart from the basic facts, there is an overall vibe running through Oredev that I haven’t really felt at any other conference I’ve been to. Attendees and speakers, in general, all seem to be open to learning and curious about what everyone else is thinking about and working on. There is a pervasive feeling that everyone there is really interested in honing their skills and improving their knowledge, for themselves, for their employers, and more broadly, for everyone. A rising tide raises all the boats, so to speak.

Beyond that, Oredev is also a true nerd kingdom, and I mean that in the best way possible. I’m not the biggest nerd I know, but I consider myself a “nerd’s nerd” and am most happy in the company of other nerds. Going to Oredev the first time was a bit like finding a home I didn’t know I had, and going a second time was like a “nerd homecoming”, but without the dance and the football game (whew!). Both times I’ve been there, I’ve befriended some great people, and had good times all around. Huge thanks are in order to Emily, Kathy, and Mattias for arranging a great event this year!