I spoke with Daria, a Philadelphia local, PhillyCFUG member, and a past presenter at PhillyCFUG, about the conference because she went last year and is planning to attend again this year. Read on for the full interview.
Adam: Last year was the first year that NCDevCon took place, and it was called CFinNC. What was the single biggest reason you chose to attend?
Daria: It was, and still is, FREE!
A: That's always a plus, and even more so these days with the economy in such bad shape. Any way to get free training is definitely worth considering. You're attending again this year; what is it that's bringing you back?
D: Well, free is still a motivating factor, but it's also to catch up with all the friends I made there last year. As an out of town attendee, I ended up hanging out with all the speakers at the conference hotel.
A: So everyone there must be pretty approachable?
D: Very much so. The CF community is very open to newcomers, and that's what this conference is about! Their goal is to get attendees that haven't worked with CF or Flex and want an introduction into those technologies.
A: And I believe you said that you're also planning on volunteering a topic. Is that correct?
D: After last year's conference, I came back enthusiastic and encouraged to follow through on my goal of doing presentations. I volunteered to present at my local CFUG and made a goal to present at a conference in 2011. When they announced that they were looking for presenters willing to give beginner or intermediate presentations for NCDevCon I decided that now might be the time.
A: I know you also attended CFUnited for the last few years. Have you attended any other conferences? How would you describe NCDevCon to someone who has attended CFUnited or other conferences and is considering attending NCDevCon? What are the biggest differences, and what good things do they have in common?
D: I haven't been to any other conferences besides CFUnited and NCDevCon, but can say that the quality of the sessions from both conferences is the same. One thing that NCDevCon has over CFUnited is the morning long hands-on "getting started" sessions that cover the basics of ColdFusion or Flex. [ The tentative schedule is available online ] Even though NCDevCon is focused on beginners, there will also be intermediate and advanced topics for the people who are more familiar with the technologies. I think the biggest difference between this conference and CFUnited is the number of advanced sessions. CFUnited is also a bigger conference and will have more international attendees.
A: I had heard that NCDevCon had a bit of a slant toward introductory and basic topics. How do you think that affects the overall atmosphere of the event, and your experience there as an established ColdFusion developer?
D: There were plenty of topics that interested me, even though I've been developing ColdFusion for a while. There were several sessions on the new features of CF9, object oriented programming, ORM, and so on. [ Last year's topics are available online ]
A: Was there anything that you were not expecting from the conference but that you ended up really liking?
D: I guess the thing that surprised me the most isn't something about this conference in particular. I didn't realize how much my involvement in the ColdFusion Twitter community would enhance my conference experience, but it did. Not only did it inform me on the after-hours activities, but it also made me more familiar to the other attendees and made me more approachable. I definitely recommend getting involved with the CF Twitter community in general.
A: That is a really great tip. I'm pretty certain I would not have my current job, or the accomplishments it's helped me make, without the networking I've done on Twitter -- specifically in the ColdFusion community -- over the last year or two. It's really shown me how important relationship building is when you want to advance your career.
Aside from the fact that the conference is free -- so the only costs are travel, food, and lodging -- do you have any advice for someone looking to sell their boss on the idea of sending them?
D: The quality of the speakers was superb. Where else are you going to get to hear from the gurus for free?
A: Indeed. Do you have any final thoughts that you would like to add?
D: If you know of someone that is interested in CF or Flex and would be interested in free training, encourage them to come along! Be an ambassador and help spread the CF love!
A: Excellent advice. And hey, you could even share a room to push the cost even lower than it already is. Thanks for taking the time to tell us about NCDevCon, Daria.
D: No problem!