Yesterday I attended to a coderetreat, hosted by ustream, organized by Athos and Devil. It was interesting how they added extra restrictions to the plain-old TDD + game of life so there was no chance to get bored. However, this isn’t what I want to talk about.
Last time I talked about a coderetreat to a colleague he asked what is it in for me to go there? He asked why somebody should attend to? I told him that he should attend because he could try there things that he can’t try at the workplace. Although it’s true, it’s not necessary the real reason.
The real reason
The real reason to attend to a code retreat is simple: you want to be better at programming. If you indeed want to be better at programming then a coderetreat is a great event: you can practice things that you wouldn’t do during your working hours. You can see how different approaches work out. You can learn from the successes and from the failures as well.
The real question
One could say: ‘OK, you go to a coderetreat to be better at programming. But why doing that instead of many other things, like, practicing at home, reading books, attending to conferences?’
So what can a coderetreat offer that many other things cannot? Let’s see:
1. You can learn a lot by practicing
By learning I mean you can gain tacit knowledge. You know, things that you can learn only by experience. I think they are more useful than lexical knowledge, e.g. answers to questions like “how to describe one-to-many relationship in JPA?”
2. You can write code with other people
You can pair-program with other people. This tells you more about their ability/attitude than anything else. You can learn a lot of tricks from them.
3. You get to know other people
Like it or not, a coderetreat is a networking event too. It can open doors for new colleagues as well as for new jobs.
4. The organizers will try to challenge your abilities
This is a great benefit over practicing alone: Somebody else will push you out of the daily routine and will push you out of your comfort zone. You will not only practice things but you will learn what to learn text. This is a very efficient way to improve yourself. You might not notice at first what a favor they do for you by making you pushing your limits.
5. It’s fun
It’s fun, unless you don’t like to code.
Basically, this is it. If you find a coderetreat interesting or useful, attend to one. You can get notified about Budapest retreats here.