Confident Coding Report

Last week I had the pleasure of speaking at Confident Coding in San Francisco. This was a one-day event for mostly front-end developers, covering the things everyone seems to know but which seem like silly questions to ask – and it has an all-female speaker lineup.

One interesting thing about the all-female lineup is that it causes men to assume this event is aimed at women. Which makes me wonder who they would assume an all-male speaker lineup is aimed at! There were a few men in the audience but a tiny minority, and do you know what happens when women organise an event (apart from crazy long lines for the bathroom)? Food that is not pizza! The food was definitely a highlight :)

The speakers themselves were fabulous, and since I was on the other side of the world from my usual hunting ground, they were all new faces to me, other than Estelle who dragged me into this in the first place. These women were knowledgeable, engaging, and passionate about their topic – which made them great speakers and I felt like I got a lot out of it myself.

Perhaps the best part of the whole thing was the open and supportive atmosphere. Nobody tried to blind anyone else with science, and I got a good number of questions, which might not have got asked in another setting. My favourite questions were:

  • Can you explain git rebase without the use of complicated diagrams? Since I didn’t have any diagrams of any kind to hand, I tried my best with a spot of arm-waving instead. This question serves as a reminder not to drown people in talks (I hadn’t included rebase because I don’t think I explain it well, but I keep getting the question!
  • What’s the difference between a fork and a branch? I began by explaining that these were very distinct concepts. Then I carefully recapped what a fork is and how we do that. Then I started explaining what a branch is … then I realised all the same words go in both explanations and why I was getting this question! Again, eye-opener for me and I teach these topics often

Did I do a great job answering the questions? I’m not sure I did but I think I helped a few people pick up a few new things … here are my twitter highlights from the day:

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Thank you all, it was a great day!

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