C++Now, which takes place in Aspen this May, refers to itself as A Gathering of C++ Experts and Enthusiasts from around the world. The conference, originally called BoostCon, was started so that Boost library authors, who had gotten to know each other online, could meet and discuss face to face. The Boost library is where experts develop and put into production the cutting edge techniques of C++.
I was in a C++ online forum recently when I read someone’s message that said that they weren’t going to C++Now because they were afraid it would be over their head. I was really surprised because almost anyone that is spending their free time hanging out in a C++ online forum is ready for C++Now –– if they want to be.
Don’t get me wrong, some of it will be over your head. I’ve been teaching C++ professionally for years and some of it is over my head. But that’s not the measure of whether or not you are ready for a conference. Think about it. If you went to a conference where nothing was beyond you right now, would that conference be right for you? Would it be challenging you? I suspect that every major C++ conference, perhaps every major tech conference has something that blows you away. Isn’t that why you go?
Whether or not you’d enjoy C++Now is less about your level than about your interest. If CppCon is about keeping up with the changes in Standard C++, C++Now is about pushing those changes. There are people who don’t want to know about any proposed or accepted change until after the standard is official. Regardless of how expert they may be about C++, this conference is not for them.
C++Now is about pushing the language –– about exciting new libraries, new features, new techniques, and new guidelines for best practices. Not just presenting these as a done deal, but about discussing and refining. C++Now is the most interactive C++ conference I’ve every experienced because there are more questions and more discussion during sessions than any other conference. That’s what happens at a gathering of experts.
I urge you to watch the C++Now attendee video. You’ll hear Zach tell about being welcomed as a “very junior” programmer and Phil say, “It’s an experts’ conference, but if you not actually an expert, then you’re going to be welcome as well, and I think that’s pretty unique.” These aren’t just words, they are the reality of this conference.
Every year the conference’s Student / Volunteer Program brings in a handful of people at the beginning of their careers. Since this is a competitive program, these volunteers tend to be very bright, but they are not C++ experts. What is their experience of the conference? Life changing. They aren’t leading the discussion of where C++ needs to go, but they are following it. They are witnessing the experts engage, but they are also engaging with them.
Are you interested in being in the room where it happens? Then you are ready for C++Now.