Alright, fellow coders, let’s face it - in the ever-evolving world of tech, we can’t afford to sit still. Continuous learning is not just a good idea; it’s practically a survival strategy for developers (Not only that, but I’d argue it’s a survival strategy for life really). Thank
$your_favorite_deity for coderetreats!
In the latest episode of the programmier.bar podcast I had the opportunity to speak about code retreats and why I think they are a fantastic tool to level up your game. Hence, I thought I should take some time and elaborate in more detail here.
What’s the Deal with Coderetreats?
So, what’s a coderetreat, anyway? Well, think of it as a coding dojo where you can kick back, code, and perfect your skills. These events usually span a day and revolve around cracking coding challenges - often times Conway’s Game of Life is choosen because you can basically implement it in various levels of complexity but still get fast results and thus can iterate quickly. The day is divided into rounds, each focusing on different coding aspects. It’s like a video game with levels, but instead of slaying monsters using ever changing gear, you’re slaying a coding problem with ever changing constraints.
All the goods
Coderetreats are the perfect playground for honing your coding skills. They provide a platform to practice problem-solving and delve into algorithmic thinking. And they really remove all the excuses to not be embracing test-driven development (TDD).
In coderetreats, collaboration is the name of the game. You’ll find yourself working closely with other developers, which enhances your communication and teamwork skills. Effective communication is often more critical than pure coding prowess - that’s a hill I’m willing to die on.
One remarkable aspect of coderetreats is the opportunity to explore new technologies. It’s a risk-free environment to expand your tech stack beyond the confines of “real-life” projects. Learning to adapt to different languages, styles, libraries and frameworks is a valuable skill every developer should master - remember: only bad crafters blame their tools!
Most people love to experiment - and many coders are curious by nature. And coderetreats are the ultimate lab. Participants can embrace creative problem-solving by challenging themselves. Whether it’s avoiding if-statements, loops, or primitive data types, or writing only stateless code, coderetreats are your place to push the boundaries. Plus, there are different types of pair programming to spice up the experimentation.
Find a retreat
If you want to find out more on the topic, I recommend you check out coderetreat.org! And also, don’t forget that every November there is the Global Day of Coderetreat. The opportunity to find virtual or in-person events (often hosted by generous companies in a meetup-like fashion) to connect with like-minded people and enjoy some coding together. For a list of events check out the website.
You don’t need much to get started. Make sure to have your laptop, charger, and coding environment ready. Mental preparation involves an open mindset and a willingness to embrace new challenges … and have fun!
I attended my very first coderetreat in 2017 at the SoCraTes conference - it was a wonderful experience and I would like to thank the organizers, facilitators and of course the fellow attendees for making it so. It is one of the reasons I have kept coming back to that event every year since then.