uncodebar, a codebar unconference
Here at codebar we run over a hundred workshops a year for people underrepresented in the tech industry - 52 in our Central London chapter alone. All this is possible thanks to our dedicated coaches who volunteer their free time to come and teach our students week after week. While codebar is all about the students, we wanted to acknowledge the hard work our coaches put into codebar to make it as successful as it is.
With this in mind we devised uncodebar, the codebar unconference. We wanted to run an event that focused on our coaches, a platform for them to come together and share knowledge with each other. We wanted this event to be an informal, casual space that encouraged collaboration between coaches and strengthened the already vibrant community we built in the two years of codebar’s existence.
So on the 10th of October 2015 we all gathered in the GoCardless offices in London for a day of talks and workshops, all given by our coaches. For those not familiar with the format, an unconference is a participant driven event, a loosely structured conference emphasizing the informal exchange of information and ideas between participants. At an unconference, the schedule is open ended and is put together on the day by the participants, who fill in the spots with talks or workshops they have prepared for the event.
We were floored by the eagerness of the attendees to contribute to the event and by the kind way everyone treated each other. We had an amazing array of talks, with topics ranging from Data Visualization with D3.js, Intro to Docker, Regular Expressions for the Strong of Heart, BEM and SMACCS, Behavioral Economics for Developers to Introduction to Property Based Testing in Haskell. We participated in a Failure Swapshop and had a fun Arduino session making LED’s blink. We had plenty of breaks where attendees could break out into smaller groups and get to know each other better. We had amazing food and plenty of beers to keep the conversation flowing. We finished the day with a quick round of lightning talks that included a groundbreaking talk on Taylor Swift Driven Development by our very own Denise.
We were exceedingly happy that the attendees had the same impression of the day as we did. We received nothing but positive feedback, this quite from @ThisIsJoFrank particularly explains well why we think the event was a succes:
Every talk that I went to was interesting, engaging and well presented. The coaches are a talented lot, the wealth of information shared was proof of that, but it wasn’t just shared knowledge, it was the encouragement and enthusiasm that everyone brought to the day and the feeling of positivity and mutual respect that really made uncodebar stand out from other conferences that I’ve attended.
Of course none of this could’ve happened without the support of our sponsors. Thanks to 8th Light, Codurance, and Crowdmix for their generous donations and GoCardless for hosting us in their offices.
All in all we had an amazing day filled with inspiring workshops, talks, conversation and good food. The event had a great energy and we walked away after the day feeling inspired to continue our work with codebar and thankful to be part of such an inspiring community of technologists.