Golden Gate Ruby Conference, More Than Just Coding

At Mavenlink, we constantly look for ways to improve our software for our clients and are committed to constantly improving our internal team as well. One way we seek to do this is by attending conferences like HubSpot INBOUND (read our recap here) and Golden Gate Ruby Conference (GoGaRuCo), where we sent the majority of our engineering department last weekend.

For the uninitiated, GoGaRuCo is a 2-day conference that focuses on “in-depth technical explorations of the most interesting parts of the Ruby landscape, presented by some of the top talents in the Ruby development community.” Since Mavenlink’s software is built using Ruby on Rails, attending this conference was a natural fit!

Check out what Software Engineer Katlyn Daniluk took away from last week’s event.

For the Whole Programming Community

Overall, I think GoGaRuCo does a great job of planning the subject matter for their talks. The conference covers a lot of non-technical and non-Ruby subject matter that is important for the community and programmers as a whole.

For example, there was a great talk on employee onboarding that really has nothing to do with Ruby specifically, but it’s a problem the community faces both as an employee and employer. The big take away was there could be huge costs impacting a company and the happiness of its employees if they don’t start off on the right foot in a new job. It’s important for a company to invest time and energy to make sure its employees/engineers are as productive and happy as possible from the moment they join the team.

Break Down Complex Problems

There was another great discussion on how to build a computer from NAND gates (a basic hardware component). It was more of an exercise in appreciating the complexity of the things we work on every day. For example, there is 75 years of hardware design baked into every single Macbook Air (and we think our Ruby code is complicated!)

I think my favorite talk was Randy Coulman’s “Gilding the Rose: Refactoring Legacy Code.” Randy went through a step-by-step example of refactoring some really nasty old code. I find these talks helpful in defining a strategy to tackle complicated problems. The speaker’s favorite phrase was “Make the change easy then make the easy change.”

“Make the change easy then make the easy change.”  –Randy Coulman

With Better Clarity Comes Better Execution

What he meant was we should improve code to make it easier to understand without changing any of the functionality. Once you’ve made the code more readable, the change that you want to make should be easy. This is great insight to know, particularly for a junior developer.

In particular, I think this is one of the most valuable concepts I learned at this year’s conference. It’s also not strictly limited to software development. Many areas of the business, including sales, marketing and customer service, can improve their ability to execute by adding better clarity, meaning and precision to daily efforts.

I really enjoyed attending the conference, and if you were there, I’d love to hear your thoughts as well!