I have never been to Norwich before but I found both the city and the talks at NorDevCon amazing. The opening keynote led by Seb Rose (@sebrose) prepared our minds for the day ahead through some of his hitchhiking travel stories, that he made relevant by comparing it to progressing through your career as a developer. Though I could see it easily applied to any other profession as well.
The stories Seb shared were followed with some surprisingly useful conclusions of how much easier it is to take a series of smaller steps between certain points rather than taking one big leap from A to B. He pointed out how important it is to travel with people going in more or less the same direction as yours. So if any developer wants to achieve a certain milestone, one crucial thing is to try and join a group of people trying to achieve the same or at least similar results in a given area. Examples were given of how badly performance can be affected even within a relatively good company with big numbers and even bigger reputations, yet with so different roadmaps and values.
So just like with hitchhiking, to become a happy developer; simply travel through your life accompanied by people who share your beliefs and values, who think in a similar manner to yourself, do this with no rush and especially no panic and you will arrive at your destination in your own time eventually.
A more business-oriented talk that my developer mind found interesting was performed by David Bozward (@bozward). He was also emphasising the role of a team in any potential big win. I can only agree that the biggest factor of any success or happiness is neither the money nor the testimonials. It is the team of people that you come to work with every day where the real value resides.
I wish I could have visited all the talks but it was impossible with 5 parallel tracks. I was forced to make some hard choices so I could get a flavour of the whole spectrum of material that was covered during the two days. These ranged from theoretical talks regarding business and marketing on how to pitch your ideas to full on tech talks including analysing example malware software source code, line by line. My first day was finished with remarkable Jon Skeet (@jonskeet) abusing C#. I am always sold on a talk when it is possible to have plenty of fun while still learning new things.
Thanks to such a wide variety on the agenda literally anyone could have enjoyed this event. I’ve not even mentioned the tonnes of cookies and gallons of coffee provided throughout the day. We have left Norwich happy, fulfilled and already looking forward to the next year's conference.