Reflecting on IT Camp 2015

IT Camp 2015

At this time, last week, I was getting ready to get on the stage at the fifth edition of IT Camp. I was starting to feel butterflies in my stomach. Even if it was the third time in a row that I was speaking here I was getting nervous. I remember a friend telling me, before my talk, that this is a good sign. That it means that I care, even if I am comfortable with the talk and the topic. I guess it is true. I do care a lot about these opportunities, I always prepare them carefully and I do my best to say something meaningful to the audience, to have something that sticks in their mind, to make a small impact.

This year I talked about refactoring. I’ve presented a pattern of refactoring that showed how we can get to lower coupling and to a better separation of concerns by trying to increase the cohesion of our classes. I hope that I have mange to transmit that refactoring is part of software development and we cannot code without refactoring. I would be glad to see now everyone from the audience with their hand up when asked if they refactor, knowing that refactoring is not a way they compensate for their mistakes, is not something that developers like and managers hate, but is part of what we do. It is normal for every good developer. At the end I was asked the question I always get when I talk about good practices: “How do I convince my manager that this is right? that this is something that is needed?” This time I answered that we should try to translate it in no technical terms by using metaphors and I pointed a short video, that I value a lot, where Ward Cunningham presents the Debt Metaphor. An answer maybe inspired by Dan North whom, I’ve recently met at Craft Conference.

What I love the most about IT Camp is that it manages to create this great learning and experience sharing atmosphere. Even if it is at its fifth edition, the enthusiasm is everywhere. It’s like the holiday we were waiting for. People are eager to comment the sessions, to share the good and the bad things from their work. I always get back to work with higher energy and with revitalized believe that small things matter and that we all can make a difference even when we feel too far from decision making. IT Camp has proven that if you stick to strong principles, and if you can learn from the past editions, you can constantly improve and you can keep high standards once you get there.

If I were to pick only two things that characterized this edition from content perspective I would say security and a track appealing to managers.

Security topics were very present. There were many experts on security among the speakers and it was the subject of many discussions during the breaks or at the beers at day ending. I think that creating awareness on security is much needed for IT industry of Cluj. We need this. There are too many cases where under the delivery pressure we stop thinking about security after we are done with the login screen and we take huge risks for us and for our customers without even knowing. Putting it on the top of the agenda at one of the most relevant conferences in our area helps.

From the business track, which targeted CxOs and managers in general, I hope to get more managers attending developers’ conferences and meetups. I believe that in general, we need to make a better team with management. We need to understand each other and to really work together to make a common strategy that leads us to achieve common goals. We need to close the gap between these worlds. I think that if managers come to developers events and if we get closer to the business, this gap may shrink. And I believe that community events can play an important role in this.

Mihai, Tudy and all organizing team, THANK YOU! for doing it again and I’m looking forward to the next edition.

UPDATE: You can see my slides on slideshare and the code demo on github.

Florin Coros

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