Codegarden 2022 marked my first time attending the event, after just over a year in the industry as an apprentice software developer at Carbon Six Digital. I was of course looking forward to the the experience, but I was really blown away and in this article I'll share why.
After a punishingly early morning, navigating the horror of Heathrow airport and somehow managing to get on the right train but with the wrong ticket, I arrived in Odense excited for the week. The schedule was busy, but passed even quicker than expected, from presentations on composable DXPs to a game involving a tree stump, some nails and a hammer.
On Tuesday evening we were welcomed to Umbraco’s offices, not far from the conference center, for the Codegarden pre-party and to get a sneak peak at what goes on behind the scenes. On Wednesday evening we celebrated some of the best and most innovative sites of the year with the Umbraco awards and on Thursday evening we played the infamous Umbraco bingo.
If you have been before, or spoken to anyone who has, you have probably heard of Umbraco bingo. I’d heard many stories from colleagues about Bingos of the past from Umbraco tattoos to a car being flipped on it’s roof? (I’d love to give some context on this but I have none) and this year did not disappoint. Prizes ranged from a life-size Abba cutout to a 50kg granite slab with an Umbraco logo on it, undoubtedly ruining somebody's baggage allowance for the return flight. I also got roped into building an Ikea Brimnes wardrobe with no screwdriver and I can only apologize to whoever received it.
All of the speakers did an incredible job making their talk informative and engaging. A few that have particularly stuck out for me writing this a few weeks later were Henk Boelman and Sherry List’s Building Inclusive Experiences, Kevin Jump’s Umbraco Package Development for Fun (& Profit?), Heather Floyd’s Developers + Content Editors + Umbraco Deploy = ❤️ and of course a special mention to Carbon Six’s own Paul Marden’s Building a Composable DXP.
For me, these talks gave a perfect balance as a developer where I could see both how others had implemented the topic, as well as recommending steps and tools for me to go away and implement those features in my day to day job. I left these sessions inspired and brimming with ideas of how they could help us improve our own customer experiences.
Given my experience in the industry, there were of course some events that were a little too complex, but even those were interesting and helped me learn, so nothing felt like wasted time. Additionally with normally 3 concurrent talks on there was always something for everyone.
There are of course lots of opportunities to socialise with people from all different backgrounds; I met lots of interesting people who spanned a range of different companies and roles. Codegarden isn’t just for experienced developers (a misconception I had going into it) and it’s nice to finally put faces to some of the names you see in the Umbraco Discord everyday!
I also thought I’d share some of my tips for anyone thinking about attending next year to make your experience as enjoyable as possible.
- E-Scooters are amazing, I wish I could ride one in the UK without being hit by a car so make the most of them in such a bike friendly city.
- DONT wear a new pair of shoes you’ve not worn before (I learnt this to my detriment).
- If you can, at the very least Google what the subject of a talk is to have some idea of what you’re going in to. Although all of the talks are really interesting, being able to pick what's most aimed at your level of experience allows you to get the most out of every session.
- Have loads of fun and meet lots of new people!
On the whole, the entire week was a fantastic experience, and one I’d really recommend to other new industry joiners looking to learn more and meet more people it really inspired me to want to do more within the Umbraco community. I was also lucky enough to feature briefly on the UmbraCoffee podcast and get Paul, my manager, on video agreeing to bring me along to next years event, so I hope to see you all in 2023!
A few special h5yr to a few people, firstly Neil Hodges, my colleague from C6D, for embracing the E-Scooter life and shooting around Odense with a complete disregard for our own safety, to Paul Marden, our director at C6D, for brining me along and introducing me to so many new people, and also to all of the Umbraco team who made the event happen. It was great!