Last year it was thrilling enough that we even had this sort of event in Fort Worth; everyone in tech in DFW knows Addison, Irving, Frisco, Plano, Richardson and North Dallas are where you go for software and related events. It’s a circle of cities that has held tightly to this honor for years, and facilitated a self-fulfilling situation. Developers go because that’s where the events are, and the events are held there because developers go. Breaking into that cycle, even for a single occasion, was special in and of itself.
We’re part of engineering, so even from our geeky perspective IT is still a THEM. Sure, I do some coding when I have the time but it’s just not under IT auspices. And when our coffee talk turns to IT, as it frequently does, it’s laced with the usual fear and suspicion. IT guys don’t play well with others.
As a fringe IT guy myself I know it’s a mistake to paint all software developers with a brush as broad as “coder culture”, but there are some stereotypes that I’ve seen generally run true.
Q: “What should I work on?”
This isn’t always easy to answer specifically, because a great deal depends on the skills and interests of the person asking. But there is an easy general response:
A: “Solve a problem for yourself.”
I’ve found that the developers not asking that question tend to do exactly that. They have a need, see no available solution, and jump right into solving it for themselves. Often enough, that tends to work for others as well.
We decided to take a traditional brainstorming approach, throwing ideas on the board and carefully guiding them toward a refined, useful set of actionable items. TECH Fort Worth is the right facility for it! But first, I shared a presentation on the subject. I’m sure I violated some unspoken rule by launching a Prezi from a PowerPoint deck, but at least it worked!