It may seem like I have nothing much to do, but I volunteered for yet another cool initiative called code::XtremeApps:: competition. It's hard to say what was the main motivation – if the chance to promote Ruby on Rails or to promote software development as such. Either way – a nice challenge around here. Programmers in Singapore are generally in a very very low standing – possibly somewhere around a construction worker :-). The general position(ing) is that programming is a low level blue collar activity facing the same fate as manufacturing and should be outsourced to India, China and only “high level” jobs like sales and project management should be done here. While there's something to it, it's a little strange when most of the people I interviewed said they didn't really like IT and they'd studied computer science to become managers.
Considering this situation I couldn't believe the tremendous response this programming competition received. All our initial estimates were left far far behind – the number of participants for the competition itself, but even more for the accompanying trainings (both Ruby on Rails and Google Gadgets). The training capacity of 120 people was surpassed in less than 48 hours. As for the competition we had to almost double the capacity and as of today there's only a few places left. The training will be this Saturday 01/09/2007 – you can have a look at the agenda here. The training is specifically targeted at the competition participants. Unfortunately, we will have only 1 day and as the competition focus is on innovation and integration we will be mostly covering mostly more advanced topics like AJAX, mash ups and media integration. As such there will be only 3 hours to cover (or discover?) actual RoR framework. I will be doing this training with Choon Keat. It's been a great pleasure working with him as he's not only a great (RoR) programmer but turned out to be very helpful, resourceful and reliable in everything that needed to be done.
The second training is of a very different nature. It's much more in-depth – and much more pragmatic, focused on development of actual business applications rather then competition prototypes. It will be a 2 days training on 15-16/09/2007 and it will provide a much more intimate hands on experience. There's more information here.
The second training has been in the making for around a year now. I started working on it around the time I hit first difficulties when working with Changi Prison and I've been using and improving parts of it on pretty much all my one – to – one trainings. After writing the article about Changi Prison I received a lot of emails asking more about the experience, how it was different from my outside trainings and mostly about my motivation for doing something like that. Strangely enough, I had a strong dejavu experience 2 weeks ago – during the competition launch at SMU. The setting couldn't have been more different – yet somehow it brought back all my memories from my first trainings in prison. When I started my presentation more than 75% of the room (including me :-) was asleep. By the time I finished I don't think there was anybody there that wouldn't want to learn more about RoR or at least try it out. And I guess that is the answer. It's the energy of the people in front of you, their questions and their thirst for more. It's the transformation they go through learning from you and it's the transformation you go through learning from them.
And as much as it is a motivation – it's a responsibility.