"Nerd Herder" Cal Evans Teaches Devs Career Strengthening Skills

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"Nerd Herder" Cal Evans Teaches Devs Career Strengthening Skills

· Agile Zone ·
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Cal Evans is a DZone MVB and a self-proclaimed "Nerd Herder."  He has 10 years experience in building dynamic, data-driven, interactive web sites based on the LAMP stack, but these days he's interested in teaching developers about the things you can't learn in a coding tutorial.  When Cal helped organize the first ever Day Camp 4 Developers online conference, he wanted to teach developers how to be more than just code monkeys.  In his series of conferences, Evans is going to teach developers some pragmatic basics about remote work, project management, business management, software marketing, presentations, and career management.  DZone took some time this week to ask Cal more about his new found passion for teaching developers how to build a stronger skill set outside of coding.

Before we start the interview, you can check out this promo video:

DZone: So tell me about how Day Camp 4 Developers started.

Cal Evans:  I have helped organize PHP conferences both here in the US and in Europe for 5 years now. Each time, I see good talks that are rejected because they aren't technical or focused on hard skills. I decided that there was a market for these talks, even if it's not a huge one. So we put together Day Camp 4 Developers.

DZone: How is DC4D different from your average developer conference?

Cal:  First, we only tackle "soft skills". You won't see a Day Camp 4 Developers: Zend Framework or Rails. There are good companies out there providing hard skills training, we want to focus on the other things that developers need.

Second, it's a virtual conference. We do everything we can to provide a great value for the ticket price, but at the end of the day, you can't sit down and have a drink with the other attendees. The missing "hallway track" is a drawback. That doesn't mean you don't come away inspired and renewed, it's just different from a physical conference.
DZone: How did the first Day Camp go?  What was that one about?

Cal:  The first one was on "Soft Skills" and focused on everything from writing to career management. Everyone who talked to me afterwards or blogged about the event, talked about how they came away from it inspired to make some changes. The feedback we got from the first Day Camp 4 Developers is what pushed us to do a second one. From emails, to tweets, blog posts to joind.in comments, everyone learned something and had a great time.

DZone: Will I be able to Telecommute to the Day Camp on Telecommuting? 

Cal:  If you are going to attend Day Camp 4 Developers #2: Telecommuting, you will have to telecommute! Well, that's not entirely true, we do sell an "Office Party" ticket where you and as many friends as you can cram into a room can all participate together. However most participants will be sitting in front of their computer, sipping coffee, listening and hanging out in the chat room.

DZone: Who will the speakers be at this Day Camp?

Cal:  This time we have 5 speakers, 1 returning from the first Day Camp 4 Developers and 4 new ones.

Could You Telecommute? – Lorna Jane Mitchell
Lorna will be returning to talk to us about her experience as a telecommuter, what it takes and how to figure out if it's right for you.

The Well-Equipped Remote Worker – Avdi Grimm
Avdi is the host of the Wide Teams podcast and will be talking to us about the tools and techniques telecommuters need to master.

The Business Case for Telecommuting – Ivo Jansch
Ivo will be joining us to talk about telecommuting from a CEO's perspective. His leadership while he was CTO of Ibuildings.com gives him a unique perspective on the problems that telecommuting can cause in a company but also the benefits they can reap.

Work/Life Balance – Ligaya Turmelle
Lig has worked for MySQL/Sun/Oracle for the past 3 years as a 100% telecommuter. She will talk to us about how she manages the work/life balance. She will discuss how to "Shut the door and shut it off".

Can I Work From Home Tomorrow? – Jack Ford
This may be the most unique talk of the day. Jack is a manager of 2 .NET teams. He will talk about how to talk to your manager about telecommuting. What works, what doesn't and what will get you laughed at.

That's the lineup for Day Camp 4 Develoeprs #2: Telecommuting in a nutshell.

DZone: How much is it to attend the conference, and what do I get?

Cal:  Ticket price is $35.  That money mainly goes to the speakers. For that you get a full day of talks that you won't see anywhere else. You get knowledge from experts you may never get to hear from otherwise. You will come away inspired but most of all, you will come away with practical advice that you can use on Monday morning.

You also get the complete set of recordings. We have several people who buy a ticket just for the videos. (The videos are for sale afterwards but the set is $50. So it makes sense to buy a ticket if you want them, even if you can't attend.)

DZone: Thanks for talking with me, Cal!  Is there anything else you wanted to mention?

Cal:  Thanks for having me. I hope to see a lot of your readers there with us on March 5th. I am a community builder and very big on encouraging developer communities. To that end, members of the DZone community (basically anyone reading this interview) are welcome to register using the discount code DZONEROCKS to save $5 off the price of a ticket.

DZone: Sweet! Thanks Cal!

You can register for "Day Camp 4 Develoeprs #2: Telecommuting" right here.

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