My ACCU Conference Story for #12DaysACCU
The ACCU Conference is one of my favourite conferences. For the 2016 edition, I happen to be in the conference committee. So of course I had to write a piece for the #12DaysACCU campaign just before Christmas, explaining to people what's so great about that conference. This is what I wrote:
In a previous life, I was a software developer, dabbling in C and C++. I knew I wasn't the greatest programmer ever, so in an attempt to improve - and on a hunch - I joined this mysterious ACCU organisation that I found people mentioning on Usenet groups (did I just give away my age?).
Gobbling up the magazines that ACCU publishes and learning a lot, a new goal emerged: I wanted to attend their conference! But, alas, it was in England and I was in far-away Germany and it was all way to expensive.
When I found myself working at a startup, way back just before that first big bubble burst, my chance came when they introduced an education fund for each employee: They gave us some money and complete control over how we wanted to spend it, as long as it helped us get better at our job. So I blew my entire year's worth of funding on attending my very first ACCU conference, at that motor museum somewhere in the English hinterlands.
And what a blast I had! I met Bjarne Stroustrup and lots and lots of other people whose names I only knew from the books on my bookshelf. And it turned out that they were all nice and approachable people. Not to mention that I learned a lot and came back to work, my head brimming with new ideas, concepts, and ways to improve myself and our code.
Alas, the aforementioned bubble burst and the company went bankrupt (good thing I had used up all that education fund money before that happened!).
So when the next ACCU Conference came around, I found myself out of a job. But since I've had such a great time, I decided to use my own money to attend again. Which later helped convince my next employer that I was really taking this software development thing seriously; not only did they hire me, but they also paid for me attending the conference for as long as I worked there.
Attending the ACCU Conference is highly addictive but also highly rewarding, in more ways than you may imagine at first.