Operation Code Visits Github Universe

As one of the 400 members of Operation Code, I compulsively check our Slack channel where there is always engaging conversation happening around learning to code and getting started in the tech industry. When scholarship chair Nell Shamrell announced that Github was donating 10 tickets to Operation Code members I excitedly applied to be one of the recipients and arranged my travel from Seattle to San Francisco.

This would be my first technical conference so I read some articles on how to get the most value from attending like this one about how to rock a tech conference. I learned from listening to the JavaScript Jabber podcast that the value is received not only from watching the talks but also by interacting with other developers and having discussions in between the sessions. I excitedly boarded the flight to San Francisco and traveled by BART and bus directly to the conference venue at Pier 70.

It just so happened that when I walked up to the registration line that I bumped into the one and only David Molina, founder of Operation Code. It was fantastic to meet David in person because I had been corresponding with him online and over the phone for more than two years. I soon met several other members of the Operation Code community from across the country like Conrad, Karla, Adam, and Matthew.

A Giant Octocat Greeted Attendees

The Github Universe conference itself was very impressive. The food was surprisingly good for a conference, there was a gigantic Octocat made of balloons, and there were several excellent speakers that covered topics from government open source to the Electron platform for writing desktop apps with JavaScript. There were several lounges to collect swag from vendors and recharge your figurative and literal batteries. There was even a concert with the award winning performing artist Common who rocked the Masonic Auditorium to support Black Girls Code.

There were developers from all over the country in attendance although a lot were from the Bay Area. There were people from Google, Facebook, Slack, the government, and even Free Code Camp. Everyone I interacted with were really friendly and helpful. I was sitting alone for lunch on the second day and I was relived when Keith offered to join me. He provided some really helpful advice about focusing on networking to land the job you want. Other developers I talked to suggested moving to the Bay Area and embracing support positions as a stepping stone to the role you want.

David Molina Takes the Stage

On the second day David Molina took the main stage to make a call to action to the open source community to volunteer to help veterans gain coding skills and close the tech talent gap with military veterans. Afterwards, more than one developer I talked to raved about the talk and how they would like to help the cause. As I headed home, I was encouraged to know that there is a supportive developer community willing to help veterans like me get started in the tech industry.

If you would like to get involved with Operation Code or just learn more about it, check out the website at OperationCode.org.

Charles Sipe is a frontend developer in Seattle and volunteer for Operation Code. He blogs at CharlesSipe.com and shares his projects at his portfolio at http://portfolio.charlessipe.com/portfolio/.