Last year I took a lot of training. In the past, my employers would usually send me to one training event. Sometimes I would get to go to two if times were good. Other times, there was no training budget.
In 2007, I was self-employed as the sole member of Happy Apps LLC. So being in charge of the training budget (well actually the entire budget), I went to six training events:
- Rails Edge in Reston, VA
- Advanced Rails in Chicago, IL
- WWDC in San Francisco, CA
- RailsConf in Portland, OR
- Advanced Ruby in Reston, VA
- RubyConf in Charlotte, NC
So that’s 2 Ruby conferences, 3 Rails conferences, and one Cocoa conference. I actually was scheduled to go to another Cocoa conference, C4 over in Chicago, but had to cancel due to personal reasons.
So which ones were good and which ones were bad? I think they were all quite good. Obviously, if you want to make Mac applications like I do with WebnoteHappy, you’ll want to go WWDC.
In terms of being a good Ruby on Rails developer, I’d have to say that assuming that you already have a good background in object-oriented programming and web development, have worked through a beginning Rails book like Agile Web Development with Rails, then you really should take both the Advanced Ruby course by Pragmatic Studio, followed by the Advanced Rails course. Both taught me quite a lot of things that I hadn’t known before.
Once you’ve got that though, I think its important to keep up with the latest in techniques and also be involved in your programming community. I think The Rails Edge Conference is top notch in keeping up with what’s new in the Rails world. I hope that a date is announced soon though – I don’t see one for 2008 as of today.
RailsConf is also good for keeping up with Rails, but I think is maybe even better for just being involved in the Rails community. There were a lot of opportunities, scheduled and unscheduled, to get together with fellow RoR developers and you could sense that Rails is really changing the way that web development is being done.
RubyConf on the other hand reminded me that Ruby is not just about Rails. There’s certainly been a lot of growth of Ruby use because of Rails, but there is a deep and wide pool of talent that has fallen in love with Ruby. It was interesting to see all the different uses that people have made of Ruby. And it was definitely an honor and a pleasure to meet Matz in person. In the end, it does seem like most people who are doing Ruby full-time are making their money with Rails.
I’m trying to plan out my training in 2008 now. So I’m curious to hear what good conferences or classes other people went to in 2007. Also if there were any bad ones.