Looking For Help In All The Right Places

The next part of this story begins with TechColumbus. My current company, Fireproof (which is one of the many reasons for my Twitter name, if you were wondering (-:), was speaking about them one day, and so I looked them up. Through my search, I saw that there was going to be a code camp hosted there, specifically Columbus Code Camp. My interest was still high at that moment, so I decided to go. I’m now completely grateful for that day, because that was the day I realized how awesome development is!

First and foremost, I’d never been in TechColumbus’ building, so I was intrigued by both it’s design and the owner’s willingness to allow their place to be used for technical things for free. Then, as I was bouncing from talk to talk, I had my first realization that developers are really great people! (for the longest time, I was only part geek. I was a jock for awhile, so please pardon my ignorance :P). There were so many people there that were just like me: eager to learn and excited to create.

The talks were based on a wide variety of topics, which was a great thing, since I had pretty limited knowledge of what was possible. From Arduino programming by Guy Royse to rewriting code in an orderly fashion by Matthew Groves, I received a very broad sense of what I could do in this field, and it made me feel great! I’m also very glad that these speakers were willing to chat with me after their talks so I could get a better understanding of where to learn this stuff. Also, many of these guys had Twitter accounts where they updated with good information on at least a fairly regular basis, so I followed them. Soon after that, I followed pretty much anyone that spoken to these guys about anything worthwhile and took any opportunity to go out to lunch and rub elbows with them.

Through Code Camp and conversations with developers on Twitter, I learned about Meetup.com, which is a great place to find groups that anyone can join to talk about most any topic you’d want. I hadn’t made a choice of what language or library I’d start using, so I pretty much joined any and every group I could find, from .NET to JavaScript to PHP. After going to some of the meetings, I ended up sticking with .NET, because there’s lots of support for it and my company uses nothing but Windows (I do as well at home).

There were a couple of groups that outshined the rest and did a lot of good for my growth, but I’ll explain more about them later.

If you’ve gotten this far, thanks for reading! I’ll be posting the next part of my story around the same time next week.

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