First Conference Talk Completed And Whats Next For Code Schools

Jun 3, 2014

Got The First One Done.

A lot of questions were floating around in my head as I gave my first conference talk about teaching programmers. Would anyone show? Does anyone care about my topic? How bad will I fail?

It was scary, but my expectations were just about where I wanted them. Actually, Self Conference was probably the perfect conference for me to cut my teeth on. Small enough to be semi-comfortable, but large enough to have plenty of strangers.

I presented on Teaching Programmers Through Empathy. Really I wished I would have called it Teaching Programmers Through Experience, but I still think it went rather well. If you attended, I would love to hear what you thought. Shoot me an email at and let me know what you liked and disliked.

Talks are great and all, but it’s what happens after it’s done that really matters. At the end of the talk, I took a few questions. To my surprise, there were about 5 people interested enough to ask questions. But that wasn’t the coolest part. The coolest part was the dialogue. The attendees started to talk with each other and answer each other’s questions with their own experiences.

This dialogue was especially sweet because it’s part of what I presented on. Open dialogue and collaboration. I don’t know if it’s related, but I think I’ll hold onto the thought that it was.

What I Learned

I was pretty worried about interest in learning how to teach programmers. I know code schools are doing well. And I know other forms of teaching like apprenticeships and bootcamps are also doing well. What I didn’t know was if anyone is thinking about the environments these things are taught in. To take that further, I didn’t know if anyone cared about what comes next.

I think we are ready for the next steps. I think more programmers are asking themselves what comes after code schools. Have code schools peaked? What else can we do? How can we make it better?

I’m looking forward to answering these questions and exploring options. With any luck, some conference will allow me to talk about what’s next.

Speaking in Public is a Craft

You never forget how to speak in public, but you sure lose your mojo. When I taught a class every weeks, I was pretty good at speaking in front on people. Granted, it was a lot of the same people most of the time. But I got pretty comfortable and I even liked it a little.

I definitely lost that comfort. I’m looking to practice a lot more and see if I can grow speaking into something. It’s definitely a challenge, and who doesn’t like a challenge.

If you know of any speaking opportunities, I would love to chat. Shoot me an email at or reach out on Twitter at @scottradcliff