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Codegarden First-Timer: Joke Van Hamme

H5YR Joke!

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Want to know more about what it feels like being a first-timer at Codegarden 2019? Read Joke Van Hamme's first-timer story right here!

About Joke

Full name: Joke Van Hamme

Company: The Reference
Job title: 
Project & Operations Manager 

Country: Belgium 

Twitter: @JokeVanHamme

Time working with Umbraco: +/- 3 years

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What made you want to go to Codegarden 2019?

I won my Codegarden ticket via Twitter on International Women’s Day. As a Gold Partner, I had been planning the travels and tickets for the team, but I hadn’t considered attending since I assumed it was more for developers.

When I saw the opportunity to win my ticket, I didn’t doubt for one second: I wanted to participate and attend Codegarden to see what the fuzz is about.

What were you looking forward to the most before arriving?

For a few months, I’ve been helping Damiaan in organizing meetups for the Belgian Umbraco User Group. I was looking forward to experiencing how friendly the community really is and get to know people that could share experiences with me about this topic.

I also really wanted to attend the talks of Emma Burstow & Carole Rennie Logan.


What were your biggest concerns/worries about you going to CG19?

My biggest concern was that the talks would be too technical for me and that I would feel "lost": not sure what talks to attend and who to talk to.

What did you think of Codegarden 2019? And can you name your 3 favorite things/takeaways from the conference?

My 3 favorite things are:

  • The yoga & mindfulness session from Kris: a great way to give all the emotions and impressions from Codegarden a place. The sessions also give you a moment of peace and quiet.

  • Winning an award for Best Cloud Solution. The moment where The Reference was announced as the winner was super, but the fact that during the rest of Codegarden – people I never met, congratulated me - is a perfect example of the friendliness of the community.

  • Emma and Carole’s talks didn’t disappoint: they were spot on and exactly what I needed to hear to get inspired on how I can improve my role as Operations Manager.


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Did you gain something unexpected from participating in CG19?

A new profile picture. Taking my picture always feels awkward, but when Douglas took my picture, I felt at ease. I think that’s reflected in the pictures he took.

Looking back, what do you wish you knew before going to Codegarden?

I wish I knew that you don’t need to be a developer or have a background in coding to attend Codegarden. My agenda was always fully booked with sessions to attend or people I wanted to talk.

What are your top 3 recommendations/tips for CG20 first timers?

My recommendations are:

  • Attend the first-timers introduction and talk to the uBuddies. It’s a great start and it takes away the idea that you don’t know anyone.

  • You must go to the pre-party. It’s overwhelming since you don’t know many people there, but it’s a great way to start and get introduced.

  • Dare to be yourself: don’t hold yourself back because you think "you’re too junior", "you’ve never been to Codegarden", … everyone at Codegarden will value your opinion and your contribution. You’ll get more out of Codegarden!

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Will we see you for CG20?

Yes, please! I’m so looking forward to seeing everyone again.

And lastly, anything else you’d like to add? 

To the entire Umbraco community: SuperTak! #H5YR doesn’t express my gratitude enough: I truly feel part of the community and I appreciate every talk/hug!

As an outsider, it’s hard to understand what makes the Umbraco community so friendly compared to other communities, but there's really a huge difference.


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A massive H5YR to Joke for sharing her first-timer's story - what an interesting read 😀! Make sure to read all of the other Codegarden 2019 first-timer stories.

Curious about previous Codegarden conferences and the experiences of other first-timers?

Find their stories right here: 

8 first-timers' perspectives on Codegarden 2018


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