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NorDevCon 2016 was yet another resounding success for Norfolk Developers. With an impressive array of speakers and workshops we had more attendees than any previous year. This year, for the first time, we had students and teachers attending from some of the local schools and academies as well as the usual range of techies and business people. It was great to see them mingling and discussing the various sessions they’d attended.

This year my 12 year old grandson, Nathan, also came along for the first time. I asked him to write about his experience and this is what he came up with:

“The conference was very good. We met Michael Feathers when having breakfast at the hotel and he was very nice and then we walked to the conference with him.

The first activity I did was the android course by Paul Lammertsma. It was very well done and easy to follow. The tutorial he made explained everything really well and when there was something that was not working or was hard to set up he helped with it and knew how to sort any issues. By the end of the 6 hour course I had learnt how to make simple android applications. After this was the pre-conference dinner where I met a nice guy called Giorgio who was talking to me through dinner.

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Then the next day there was a keynote by Michael Feathers which was interesting but confusing. Then there was an OpenShift 3.1 workshop by Ed Seymour and Keith Lynch who work at Redhat. This was complicated but fun and did what it was meant to do; explained how to use OpenShift 3.1.

After this was the session ‘Fake it Until You Make it’ by Dom Davis. It was funny, interesting and easy to follow. After that was another talk by Michael Feathers called Collection Pipeline Design Techniques. I understood a lot more of this than his first talk and found it very interesting and it taught me a lot of things.

Following a tea break was a talk by Darren Cook called WebGL is Serious Fun! It was funny and made sense and was interesting to listen to. It helped people to get started with WebGL and was not hard to follow.

After this was a talk by James Taylor about making passwords safer. I learnt about a usb device you can plug into your computer for 2 factor authentication which made it impossible to get into any account you own without it, so it makes hackers jobs harder. He also talked about 2 step authentication and it was all very interesting. Then there was a sponsor’s presentation by Elizabeth Scholefield who talked about mobile phones and how they were socially acceptable and it ended with an interesting video of a man rapping about how we replace phones with human interaction.

After this presentation was a closing keynote by Jon Jagger who talked about pair programming. It explained a lot of things I did not already know and was very easy to follow.
The next day there was a talk about smart wear by Paul Lammertsma and it taught you how to make a watch face for smart wear and explained the basics of making a smart wear application. It was a good tutorial and easy to understand.”

I think this demonstrates well that when there is genuine interest there are no age barriers!

Words: Caroline Hargreaves