Top Ten Reasons To Send Your Developers to CppCon (or any C++ Conference)

Here is a list of the top business reasons to send your developers to a C++ conference.

Sending software engineers to conferences is both a time and money expense, but conferences exists because they provide value to attendees and companies that send them. Some of the value may be obvious, some may not. Here is a list of the top business reasons to send your developers to CppCon or any other C++ conference:

ISO Committee Members
  1. Education: There is a new release of C++ every three years. If you aren’t arranging C++ training on a regular basis, then your team is losing their edge. Not because they are getting worse at what they do, they aren’t, but because they are missing out on learning industry best practice. Conferences like CppCon are where the community as a whole evolves the definition of best practices in C++ and educates itself on best practices related to new standard library and language features. CppCon features pre- and post- conference classes for formal training workshops, but the entire conference is about learning better ways to use C++. The difference between regular conferences sessions and the workshops offered by CppCon and many other conferences, is that workshops usually feature hands-on exercises, which aids in both understanding and retention.
  2. Motivation: No one comes back from CppCon without being energized to write quality code and to raise the code quality bar for themselves and their team.
  3. Language Expertise: Don’t underestimate the value of language skills training. Unless you are in the tools business, the purpose of your app is not C++. The language is just a tool to express your team’s domain expertise, but don’t get trapped into thinking that all your training investment should be focused on domain expertise. For a team made up of domain experts, the ROI on further domain training may be lower than the return from having a few team members that can leverage the power of C++. Having a team member that understands the best way apply C++ to the problem at hand and able to quickly parse hard-to-understand compiler errors, may result in a better result, more quickly arrived at, than having yet another domain main expert with redundant knowledge.
  4. Recruiting: If you want C++ engineers outside your company to know you are hiring and have a great working environment, there is no substitute for sending your team members to meet them in person. Even better if they present a session that ends with a slide that says, “If you’d like to work on challenges like this with people like me, my company is hiring.” Leverage this by being a conference sponsor or exhibitor. If you hire most of your team from a particular region, supporting a conference (or local user groups) in that region will increase your recognition as a company that is engaged in the community and likely to be a good team to join.
  5. Morale: Sending a team member to an important conference like CppCon is a way of saying, “We value your contribution and we want to invest in you.” This will make anyone feel better about their job, their career, and you.
  6. Team building: If you can send your whole team, great—the shared experience will make them a better team, but that is often unrealistic. Instead, the team members that you send will share the best of what they’ve learned with formal trip reports and and informal discussions. Either way, the entire team benefits.
  7. Resources: The number of development websites and tools, both proprietary and open source, is growing every day. Is your team getting the best use of all of these? No, because no one can keep up with all the new tools and new features of existing tools. The best way to stay abreast on what new resources are available and get motivated to use them on your project is to see them demonstrated and speak with knowledgable developers. A conference like CppCon will features dozens of opportunities to learn about tools and engage with their developers and users.
  8. Skill building: Presenting technical information is an important software engineering skill that is needed by senior engineers in all companies, but growth opportunities in this area are limited in most companies. CppCon offers attendees the ability to present technical information in the main program, Open Content sessions, lightning talks, and the poster competition. Presenting at local groups and conferences an unparalleled opportunity for technical presentation skill building. CppCon offers a one-day workshop one technical presentations lead by some of the best known presenters in the C++ community.
  9. Contacts: When it comes time to find someone for contacting, training, security audits, outside code reviews, or anything that requires finding someone with rare technical skills, there is no substitute for having engaged with them personally at a technical event. Your own team can become your first and best resource for find special talent.
  10. Give Back: Your organization’s success depends upon the ecosystem of C++ compilers, tools, libraries, and shared experience to port to new hardware, adapt to industry advances, evolve standards, and developer best practices. Bring your in-house expertise and domain experience to the broader C++ community to advance the state of art for the industry and for the broader community.
conference crowd

Attending CppCon (or any C++ conference) is the one of the best ways for your team to support, engage with, and leverage the wider C++ community. For information about C++ conferences worldwide visit the Conferences Worldwide page on the Standard C++ Foundation’s wiki. For CppCon, register here: https://cppcon.org/registration/


Unofficial Update on C++Now 2104

I want to point out that what I’m saying here is “unofficial.” Any dates or details about C++Now that are known for certain we would publish on the official C++Now website. I’ve gotten a number of message from people about the 2014 conference and I wanted to let people know what to expect.

Dates

The dates are May 12-17. This is official, but it might be a little surprising or confusing. For all of conference history, going back to the misty beginnings of BoostCon, the conferences has started with registration followed by a reception or other socializing on Sunday and the first technical sessions on Monday morning. This year registration and the reception will be on Monday with the first technical sessions starting on Tuesday morning. The conference isn’t shorter, it will end on Saturday instead of Friday. We’ve made this change to accommodate individuals that don’t want to travel on Sunday which is Mothers’ Day in the US.

Hotel

Also official is that the last day to get the Early Bird discount (saving $20 per night) on hotel rooms at the Aspen Meadows is January 10th. This is coming right up, so make your arrangements right now. Do not wait for registration to open!

C++Now

Here is what is unofficial:

Content

Although we did have to extend the submission deadline (it seems that we always do) we ended up with a nice number of quality submissions (we always do!), so we’ll have three tracks just like we did the last two years. We haven’t finished reviewing the submissions so it will be awhile before we will have a schedule online or even be able to let submitters know what has been accepted.

Student/Volunteers

We will again have Student/Volunteers. We did this for the first time last year and it was quite successful. Last year we had seven volunteers (grad students, undergrads, and a high school student) and we were able to raise funds for travel and lodging for all of them. We found that seven was more than we needed, so this year we’ll probably have fewer. We will certainly waive registration fees for volunteers, but how much we can help with travel and lodging depends on how successful we are raising funds for that purpose. If you are or know someone who is interested in applying to be a Student/Volunteer, be ready to submit your application. We’ll want to see your résumé and a personal statement about why we should choose you. We’ll probably be accepting these Real Soon Now™.

Registration

But what most people seem to be concerned about is registration. This isn’t surprising. Last year, for the first time, we sold out. It was very gratifying to sell out. But it was very painful to have a waiting list full of people that we had to disappoint.

We are pretty close to opening registration for 2014. We expect to sell out again this year. In fact, we expect to sell out even sooner because, unlike last year, people know that we’ve sold out before. Last year we sold out by the middle of March. How soon we’ll sell out this year is anybody’s guess, but it is clear already that people are concerned about ending up on the wait list.

So my advice, if you are interested in attending is:

  1. Make your hotel arrangements now!
  2. If you need approval from your boss or spouse to attend, start working on that now.
  3. Watch for the “registration is open” announcement.
  4. Don’t hesitate when registration opens. (Unless you have made a presentation submission – see Submitters below.)

Where should you look for the “registration is open” announcement? Well you could check the official website everyday, but who is going to remember to do that? If you use a feed reader, there is an RSS feed you can follow. You can also follow the official twitter account. You can also expect the announcement on any of these Boost mailing lists: the user list, the developer list, and/or the interest list. I also expect to see it reported on isocpp.org. (If you were on last year’s wait list, you’ll receive an email from Marshall Clow, the conference registrar, with the announcement.)

Submitters

If you have made a session submission, do not register now. If you’ve submitted a session, we’ll hold a place for you. When the decision is made about which submissions will be accepted, we’ll contact you with instruction about how you can register. Even if we’ve decided not to accept your submission, you’ll have a chance to register.

Good luck and I hope to see you all in Aspen this May!

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