CodeMash 2017 Recap: Conference Talks, Day 1

For the first day of conference talks, I had some things I wanted to see and others that I ended up not seeing, due to a turn in events.  I may have been checking out topics I’ve been interested in, as well as scouting for speakers for Stir Trek (as our call for speakers opens January 15).   These are the adventures from conference talks day 1.

Data-Centric Encryption in Practice

I wanted to see data-centric encryption presented by Wolfgang Goerlich, as I’ve enjoyed his talks in the past and wanted to see what he had to say in this talk.  He is quite the storyteller, including Batman in his story.  For an 8am talk, there was laughter and sitting on the edge of my chair, waiting to see where the story would go.  It was great to see the cast of characters trying to get data as well as where the vulnerabilities lie.  I now have a list of more tools to play with.  One of my favorite words of advice in this talk is – encrypt everywhere, decrypt on use.  Overall, I really enjoyed this talk!

Leadership Journey: From Software Developer to Leader

During the event, my conference family was shaken by a tragedy.  Of all of my friends at the conference, there were a few in particular that I was really concerned about, including my friend Mike Eaton.  When I saw that he was doing a talk on leadership, I suspected he’d reference Jim Holmes’ The Leadership Journey book, and after this event, I wanted to make sure all was well.  Also, knowing Mike’s story about going independent and knowing that he took a job full-time with Quicken Loans, I was curious to see how he brought all of his adventures together in this talk.  Sure enough, I was right in that he mentioned Jim’s book as part of his presentation.  Mike did a great job of keeping himself strong throughout the talk.   One of the questions that Mike mentioned in his transition from consultant to employee and management was What is your ‘why?’  I know my whys for going back full-time and taking the opportunities presented.  I will always have whys.  Another running theme in his talk was People are hard.  I am in the process of transitioning back to management (after years of being away), and it was good to hear Mike’s adventures to remind me of the path I’m getting back down again.  He’s right – people are hard.  But oddly enough, I enjoy those challenges.  And as always, I was glad to catch one of Mike’s talks, as it had important lessons.

TechHappy: Hacking Positive Communities

After I heard that my Microsoft MVP Community Project Manager (CPM, formerly referred to as our MVP leads) was going to be at CodeMash, I made it a point to catch at least one of her sessions.  I wanted to meet her in person, as I missed the MVP Summit last November and end up missing our regional gatherings due to work or family obligations.  Lisa Anderson did a great session on hacking positive communities – taking ideas from positive communities and how we can use them in our own communities and lives.  There was a lot of leading with positivity and happiness.  She mentioned two different leadership styles – resonant vs dissonant.  She mentioned How Full Is Your Bucket by Tom Rath, which is now on my list of books to check out this year.

One of the things I really enjoyed about this talk was the reference to Tina Fey and the improv exercise of “Yes… And…”.  Lisa mentioned Second City in Chicago, and this made me think of the improv sessions I’ve seen or gone through in the past with Mike Hagesfeld at Stir Trek and with Jessie Shternshus at a past CodeMash.  I also had to think of Bob Coppedge – one of my favorite people to talk business with – and his improv background and how he recently retired from Point of No Return, a local improv group.

I also enjoyed how she brought in the discussion of Hacking Your Flow State from a guy from Shots of Awe.  She asked us for how we felt when we feel we are at peak performance.  She also mentioned the Flow Genome Project and Flow Dojo.  Finally, she mentioned positivity and play – and she brought play dough!  I took 2 containers home to my boys, and they really enjoyed playing!

My boys playing with play dough from @LisaAnderson312

Have Your Best Season Yet: Becoming a (Microsoft) MVP

After meeting Lisa, she convinced me to join the MVP panel in the afternoon.  It was great to join in on the panel of what is a Microsoft MVP, what do we do, how do we get to become one, and all of the other details around the MVP community.  The panel was made up of a bunch of Visual Studio MVPs, all of us with varying backgrounds:

One of my favorite questions was about what we’re looking forward to this year.  After having presented Microsoft technologies on non-Microsoft platforms in my past (IronPython on Linux at PyCon 2009… with Jim Hugunin and the IronPython team in my audience!) … I am beyond thrilled to see .NET Core on Linux being an official stance.  I am looking forward to .NET Core, seeing its possibilities, helping talk about it on a non-traditional platform, and see how it gets adopted.

I really enjoy my adventures as a Microsoft MVP, and I am thankful that they renew me.  I am also thankful for the privilege to be on this MVP panel with such a diverse group of techies.

Bringing Up Our Future – On Mentoring Junior Developers

Last year, I had a standing room only talk on mentoring junior developers. This year, they moved me to a bigger room, and I had a lot of fun presenting many of my mentoring experiences and lessons to a larger group.  (For the record, I was wearing my Sadukie Squadron shirt that my Akron Java September 2016 apprentices from The Software Guild created to represent our group.  My apprentices rock!)

Representing #SadukieSquadron

The thing that got me the most excited about my talk was seeing Melinda Walker of One Squiggly Line come into my room with the tools of her trade.  I had seen her in action last year, and when I saw her walk in, I knew what was going to happen in my talk – Sketchnotes!!

SketchNotes from Mentoring Junior Developers, courtesy of DevCoaches

Long story, short – I really enjoyed sharing my lessons on mentoring – both with my interactions with my own mentors and with my apprentices.  I will be writing a couple blog posts in the future to talk more about my mentors and my relationships with them, as well as how to find mentors.

Laser Pong 2 – Taking Back the Record

Last year, they had a record setting laser pong challenge.  Apparently some guys claimed the record after the CodeMash record.  So this year, we came back with a vengeance.  I was hanging out with some of my DevCoaches friends – Dave, Victor, and Matt – and figured this could be quite an adventure for us.  We were seated in section R3 – probably the most united section.  Lots of cheering, lots of competition… however, in the end, Team Bitchin lost to Team Rad 11-7.  While there was a winning team and a losing team in terms of the competition, the main point of this exercise was to reclaim the world record.  Our independent witnesses counted 380 of us to hopefully take the record back!

Conclusion from Day 1 of Conference Talks

Overall, it was quite a busy day.  I really enjoyed the sessions that I caught and even in the ones I participated in.  CodeMash has been exciting, enlightening, and really inspiring… and there was still one more day to go!  I am thankful that my husband encourages me to go to CodeMash every year, and I’m most especially thankful for being able to go this year, as there are more friends to make and more things to explore.

Polyglot from the Microsoft Realm

Recently, I joined my friends Dave and Victor on creating a podcast called DevCoaches.  In our first episode, we talk about our adventures with The Software Guild, where the 3 of us are instructors.  Dave and Victor are currently focused on our .NET curriculum, whereas I spend time in both .NET and Java curriculum and currently teach a Java cohort.  These guys lovingly refer to me as “a traitor”, since I’m a Microsoft MVP yet not teaching on the Microsoft stack.  So… I wanted to talk about my interesting position and why I shouldn’t be seen as a traitor. In the computer programming system, the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important groups – the people who write the code and the people who teach those who write the code.  These are their stories.

Microsoft & Other Platforms

First of all, just because I’m not on the Windows platform doesn’t mean I stop caring about Microsoft and their technologies.  From my early days in computing, I believed in Microsoft and their cross-platform dreams.  At PyCon 2009, I presented on running IronPython (a Microsoft .NET implementation of Python) on Linux through the help of Mono.  Why?  More like… why not?!?  I’m in technology because I love to play with tech and see the capabilities.  Running Microsoft technologies in a non-Microsoft operating system intrigued me, so why couldn’t I play?

Fast forward to today, where Microsoft isn’t only able to run on other platforms, but they’re bringing in other platforms too.  From .NET Core to bringing bash into Windows, it’s astounding to see where Microsoft is venturing.  Further more, it’s great to see the community embracing it – even those of us who grew up in a Windows world understand that there is more out there and it could be possibly the right mix for us.

Microsoft was once seen as an evil empire, but is it still that way?  It looks a lot like they’ve changed their tune.  Hopefully that image is changed as well.

C# vs Java?

If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s never one programming language versus another.  It’s never “my semi-colons are better than yours”.  It’s all about knowing which tool is to be used in the appropriate situation.  Thankfully, I think Microsoft realizes that as well.  While I’m not specifically talking about C# anymore and took an opportunity to teach Java, I still recommend that my apprentices learn both.  If you can learn one, the other isn’t that much more difficult – though Java’s namespaces are still awful to the file system. So many folders… (I digress…)

As a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional, I am aware of the tools that Microsoft has and am able to give them the feedback they need to hear from those of us in the field, using their tools.  Armed with this knowledge, I actually do use a Microsoft technology in my class.  When it comes to web development and managing my apprentices’ sites, I have them organized well and use Visual Studio Code to look at their CSS, HTML, and JS.   Work has me using a Mac – which is a blog post of its own – and Visual Studio Code works fine on it.  I’ve also used Visual Studio Code in an Ubuntu virtual machine without issues.  (And yes, I have used other text editors as well.  But did I mention that I have a lot of chaos going on?  Sometimes, it helps to have one UI with a familiar layout to keep me grounded.)

Also, little do they realize that even though I’m teaching Java, I’m still looking at the C# curriculum and have to make changes to things.  So I need to keep my C# skills on point if I want to write relevant lessons.

The Power of a Polyglot

Let’s face it – I’m a polyglot.  I have a problem – if A&E had a Hoarders episode for those who hoard programming languages, I would be on that episode.  I’ve always enjoyed various programming paradigms and switching between languages – yes, even when my apprentices ask me about a perl script they’ve found and what it could look like in the languages we’ve shown so far.  I like that I’m not tied to one IDE, one platform, one programming language, one train of thought.  I like that I have the flexibility to change platforms and tools as needed.  And I’m thankful that Microsoft still keeps me as Most Valuable Professional – with involvement in the community being key – and is supportive of those of us living a polyglot life.  It’s definitely an interesting realm.

Programming languages… gotta learn them all! 🙂

Coding 101 on TWiT!

One of my college friends – the ever-so-awesome code warrior Lou Maresca – mentioned that he is a cohost (with Robert Ballecer, SJ- the Digital Jesuit also known as Padre) on a netshow called Coding 101 over on TWiT.  Now I have to admit it … up until this point, I really hadn’t heard much about TWiT, let alone shows.  Anyhow, Lou asked if I would appear on one of their wildcard episodes, and I figured why not!

So I did some research before the show to see what I was getting myself into.

What is Coding 101 all about?

From what I can tell….

Basically… this is my cup of tea!

So… what is TWiT and Coding 101 about?

Well, first of all, we did a live recording on September 21.  I hadn’t realized just what all that entailed on the TWiT side of things.  They have a studio that’s live recording all the time, complete with an IRC chat channel of a lively bunch of people.

The best description of what they do is on their site: What is TWiT.tv?

I’m not going to lie – the first time I logged into the live site, waiting to go live, I had a fan girl moment while talking with Lou.  I had done research on Coding 101 but not enough on TWiT to know that it’s Leo Laporte’s baby.  I had no idea that our live session was following his segment.  I nearly lost it – the “OMG! That’s Leo Laporte! That’s the guy from Screensavers on TechTV when I was much younger!  Wait… we’re following him?!?” moment. *facepalm*

So anyhow… we were recording live on September 21.  I was nervous, as this was the largest Internet recording – podcast or netshow – that I had done, and I hadn’t worked with such a big crew before.  At one point, one of the TWiT crew had said something to me about moving my microphone, and that was the oddest experience ever – having someone else’s voice in my head besides the voices of the show really messed with me. Did I really hear that?  Was there a guy’s voice talking to me to ask me to adjust my mic?!?

Overall, how was the recording live experience?

Introverted me was terrified going into this, but Padre and Lou are awesome hosts who keep things moving along conversationally, which put me at ease a ton!  The chat channel was great too – very much an interactive bunch.

From the feedback I’m seeing so far, I look forward to returning and probably speaking on PowerShell!

So… where is your wildcard episode?  How can we see it?

Check it out: Coding 10184 – Wildcard with Sarah Dutkiewicz

What do MVPs do?

Yesterday, I got the news that I’ve been renewed as a Microsoft MVP in Visual C#! Thanks to those who’ve thought I’ve contributed to the C# community and developer community in one way or another and are giving me another year of showing what it takes to be a Microsoft MVP!

I was asked by fellow Clevelander Steven Testa the following question:

.@sadukie any tips on becoming an MVP in the first place? Local dev communities are looking like the best way to start.less than a minute ago via Twitter for Windows Phone Favorite Retweet Reply

Getting Nominated

Our Microsoft Most Valuable Professional program has a page on becoming an MVP. As they say on the site:

Potential MVPs are nominated by other technical community members, current and former MVPs, and Microsoft personnel who have noted their leadership and their willingness and ability to help others make the most of their Microsoft technology.

While getting involved in the community is one thing, it also helps if you’re active enough in the community and recognized by those who are already MVPs or Microsofties who can recommend you. The more noticed you are, the more people can recommend you to the program, the more your name gets out there, and the more likely you may get evaluated.

MVP Activities

MVPs are some of the most active people in their communities – running user groups, organizing events, speaking at user groups, blogging, writing training programs, writing books, host podcasts, answering questions in forums…. doing what they can to spread the word on Microsoft technologies and products. Here are just a few examples of what my fellow MVPs are doing:

  • Zune MVP Marques Lyons runs these MVP Meet-and-Greet events called MSMVP. It’s a great way to meet the MVPs in their communities and for the MVPs to meet their fellow MVPs. Marques held one of these at the Microsoft Store in Bellevue, WA earlier this year at the time of our MVP Summit, and it was a great way to meet other MVPs and experience a Microsoft Store.
  • Visual Studio ALM MVP Steve Andrews is one of the MVPs behind GeekGive, community projects at community events – where MVPs take time to help with community projects, be it food pantry or Habitat for Humanity or other adventures.
  • Other events where MVPs are involved – be it in planning, running, staffing, or even speaking – include DevTeach, VS Live, MIX, CodeMash, devLink, StirTrek, MADExpo, Kalamazoo X, GiveCamp, and Day of .NET.

Learning More from the MVPs

Each MVP has a different story on how they became an MVP. Ask them how they go there, and they may give you better insight as to how to get there. You’ll find many of us love talking about how we got here and how we can help you get on the right path to becoming an MVP if you’re interested in going that route. You can find MVPs through the MVP Search Site. Your local Microsoft evangelists may also be able to help you if you’re looking to talk with an MVP, as many evangelists are close to their communities and know who to go to. You can find your local evangelists via this Microsoft site.

Want to hear more?

If you want to hear more from me and are in the Cleveland area, drop me an email at sarah at codinggeekette dot com. I enjoy meeting up with people over coffee and talking about how to get involved in the community more and how to put your passion for technology to work in the community!