99 hours at 360iDev made me a better developer

I just finished one of the most fun professional experiences I have had in years: 360iDev in Denver and Mobile Orchard’s OpenGL training class taught by Noel Llopsis of SnappyTouch.

I do not cringe at the thought of going to work. I love to fiddle with bits and hone my craft. I love it when someone is pleased with what I’ve done. I love the feeling I get when my clients tell me I have helped them get their job done better. But, even so, this was invigorating.

People talk about community in a lot of areas of life, but this past week in Denver, I experienced it professionally — and it was great. I met people of all levels of experience in iPhone development, and to a person, each was willing to freely talk about technical, professional, and business ideas with no real consideration of what was in it for them. I came away inspired to continue with iPhone development. I brought home many new ideas, and wish I had time to try even a fraction of them. I made more contacts and friends than I thought I would before I came, and the quality of each one was deeper than I could have hoped for.

I learned more practical aspects about iPhone development in class and in the conference than I have on my own over the last several months. Obviously, part of that was the simple act of breaking out of my normal routine and focusing on the iPhone, but I could have done that and still walked away disappointed. I’ve been to conferences where I learned things, but probably could have learned them just as well on my own. This time, I came back with a deeper understanding of developing quality applications for the iPhone.

And finally, having zero experience in iPhone game development, I was inspired by Noel’s class to participate in the 360iDev Game Jam. That was definitely a hoot. I might not have been the least experienced game developer there, but I was close. My initial plan was more than I could accomplish from dinner on Tuesday to breakfast on Wednesday, but I am still pleased with what I managed to finish. I learned more about what I was doing overnight than I would have in twice the time on my own. Thanks especially to Peter, Noel, and Serban for the advice and assistance

Okay, maybe it wasn’t exactly 99 hours, but it was pretty close, and I’m already making plans for April in San Jose.