You may have seen some of Graham’s comments previously on the Canadian IT Managers blog. Having read through them, I decided to invite Graham to become a regular feature here.
As IT Managers are you encouraging your employees to go to Code Camps. If not, why not? Sure they are "geek fests" but they are also valuable learning opportunities organized by the "community" for the "community". Code Camps are becoming increasingly popular and have been well supported by Microsoft. The upside is that they are completely free and usually a good investment in time. The downside is that, since they tend to be all day events, they typically take place on a Saturday. The IT Manager can play a part by offering encouragement to attend these events, perhaps by offering time off in lieu or some other recognition. It is easy to take the stance that employees need to take care of their own training and personal development needs. Indeed there is a degree of truth in that but I would encourage you to at least learn more about the value of Code Camps.
This last Saturday we had our first Code Camp in Vancouver (well technically in Burnaby but you may not have heard of Burnaby), which, for a first time event, was a great success. We had about 130 people come out, despite the distraction of a great sunny day, to listen to an excellent, and varied, program (16 presentations split between 2 parallel sessions) largely put together by Rob Chartier MVP. Rob is to be greatly commended for being the major initiator of the event and making it such a success. As the leader of VANTUG I was part of the organizing group and it was very satisfying to see everyone's efforts come to fruition. One of the most encouraging aspects was the number of people from the local "community" who came out to speak, which is one the aims of a Code Camp and can be a great PR opportunity for local companies. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Microsoft for their support and BCIT (BC Institute of Technology) for providing the facilities complete with WiFi for the speakers and the audience.
We will be aiming to make Vancouver Code Camp 2007 an even bigger and better event. Please think about lending your support to your local Code Camp.