Thursday, May 4, 2017

Codegarden. A first-timer’s manual

We could tell you it’s the biggest annual gathering of the global Umbraco community. We could charm you with the plethora of high-quality sessions from qualified speakers, in-depth workshops, exclusive masterclasses and, basically, the opportunity to influence the future of Umbraco. We could. But it’s oh, so much more than that.

What is the number one thing a Codegarden first-timer should know?

Our chief Unicorn and Codegarden ‘17 keynote speaker Niels Hartvig is giving you that precious answer. Straight from our newly established Unicorner:

Yes, we know it can be overwhelming to attend something unfamiliar, especially if it’s a few-days-long conference with hundreds of participants from all around the world. But worry not, we’ll get you through the perks of Codegarden and we are sure you’ll feel less like a newbie.

Are you ready?

The munching part of it. Food.

Let’s start by giving attention to the topic that is often overlooked at conferences. Food. Usually at conferences food... how to put it delicately… well, sucks.

Codegarden is not your typical conference. Year after year it has been known to provide quality food. In fact, that is one of the top feedback compliments given to us by attendees.

The best part is that lunch and dinner are included in the ticket, together with coffee, water and snacks. More than you can handle. So munch away people, munch away.

The inspiring part of it. The talks. The vibe.

We cannot stress this enough: Codegarden is not just code talk! It is 3 full days of Umbraco and non-Umbraco, bursting with inspiring talks not just from speakers, but among attendees as well.

Just to give you a grip of what will be going on this year:

Day 1. Keynote by our chief unicorn, Niels Hartvig, sessions about security, e-commerce and editor experiences. Oh, and Umbraco Awards - a confetti-type-of ceremony to reward the very best projects done using Umbraco. Maybe you will be the one enjoying the spotlight and the eye-catching, newly designed Umbraco Award?!

Day 2. Sessions about happiness in community, collaboration and stuff “beyond web”. This is also the day that ends with Umbraco Bingo. And no, this is not the type of bingo that happens in retirement houses. This one is… special. (Honestly, I keep hearing all sorts of scary legends. They’re almost impossible to believe. But as they say, what happens in Umbraco Bingo, stays in Umbraco Bingo. So I’m going to have to wait and see, just like you guys.)

Day 3.  This is the day that will treat you with the notorious Open Space sessions. You will have the chance to contribute with your own ideas, suggest topics to discuss and hear feedback from  fellow attendees right away.

It goes without saying: all of this program is complemented with food breaks and social activities. You know, tons of beer and a bit of dancing. If you feel like, of course!

From the lips of other Codegardeners.

We are blessed with active community members spreading their love for Codegarden all over the World Wide Web.

Below you can see some of the blog posts written by fellow Umbracians about going to Codegarden:

“This conference really fills you with so much inspiration. I’m sitting in the car on the way home, already thinking about all the cool new stuff I learned and want to use in my next project. It really is nothing like a regular conference, and I'm already looking forward to next year’s Codegarden.” Dennis Adolfi, System developer, Webmind.

Dennis attended Codegarden for the first time last year and wrote a very cool blog post sharing his experience as a Codegarden newbie in detail.

“These weren’t ubergeeks – but a bunch of fun, friendly and interesting people who happened to do a similar thing to me. This was a community I wanted to be part of!” Lotte Pitcher, Director, PAM internet.

Lotte’s blog post is about the lessons she took away from Codegarden. Last year Lotte even became a speaker herself! Read about it here and maybe you’ll be inspired to speak at one of our future Codegarden conferences yourself.

“For me Codegarden is the centrepiece of the Umbraco community, it is a place where like-minded people come together through knowledge and sharing of their favourite CMS.”  Lee Kelleher, Technical Director, Umbrella.

Lee is a hard-core Codegardener and he has things to

“Tech conferences can be really intimidating, particularly when you are one of the only girls in the room, but after the initial "Oh my god, I don't know anyone!" moment, Codegarden was a really relaxed and welcoming environment.“  Carole Rennie Logan, Senior Web developer, Equator.

Last year was Carole’s first time at Codegarden and this year she’s among the speakers!

Carole has written another inspiring blog post about gender diversity in tech community and has given great advice to Codegarden old-timers, newbies and especially women attending the event.

”I sent out a tweet just stating how I’d love to go this year but maybe next year I’d make it. I had no idea that it would turn out to become a hashtag on Twitter, #getblaketocg16.” Blake Clerke wrote on her blog post after Codegarden ‘16.

Read her
amazing story about how, thanks to friendly fellow Codegardeners, she finally made it to last year’s Codegarden.

And if these testimonials aren’t enough - Twitter exploded after last year’s Codegarden.
Just have a look at a few heart-felt tweets from fellow Codegardeners ❤️

Tips and tricks from old-timers.

As a tasty dessert for you, we asked around our community and collected a few main tips that are worth to know when attending Codegarden for the first time:

  • Get plenty of sleep beforehand, dress comfy and keep hydrated.
  • Bring a positive attitude.
  • Don't worry if some sessions overlap - they are all recorded, so you can always watch it later.
  • Don’t be shy - just go out there and talk, discuss your ideas and issues, everyone is friendly and willing to help. Socializing and networking at Codegarden is just as important as the sessions.
  • And while we’re on the topic: get rid of your laptop - it will only get in the way and distract you (okay, fair enough, unless you’ve signed up for one of the CG17 workshops or the Vitaly Friedman masterclass, then you’ll need to bring a laptop 😉 )

Need more practical tips on what to bring, what to consider? Dive in here, we have prepared a Codegarden Checklist.

The Codegarden community is full of friendly faces and the old-timers are always willing to help and guide the newbies. In fact, you will never be alone.

Have we removed the mysterious cloak from Codegarden? At least opened a gap? If you’re craving for more, visit the official website for Codegarden ‘17. There’s a ton of info on sessions, speakers and more. And of course, in case you haven’t yet, get your ticket there as well.

We are looking forward to see you in Odense! And who knows, maybe we WILL plant those petunias together? With Codegarden, you never know.

P.S. In case needed (and we know sometimes it is), we have collected a bundle of great tips to Convince Your Boss.

P.P.S. Did you like the Codegarden pics? They're by the talented Douglas Robar. Check out for more here.

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