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The Crazy Kansas City Coding Conference: RailsConf 2016

Another year, and another amazing time at RailsConf. A programming conference of epic proportions, RailsConf is the largest conference for Rails developers in the world. As a huge fan of everything BBQ, I was extremely excited about this year's conference being set in Kansas City. I felt more prepared for the 3-day convention after last year's in Atlanta, and there are a number of things I did to take advantage of my past experience.

I grabbed my t-shirt early to avoid the long lines that eventually form. I signed up for the after-parties (thanks to Engine Yard and Hired) before they all filled up. I never sat in the middle sections, since all of the important slides were off to either side of the stage. I also did much more branching out, and met a lot of interesting people.

I was lucky enough to have a long conversation with Paul Lamere (the closing keynote speaker!) about Spotify's data analytics, machine learning and the current state of music sharing. As a total machine learning newb, he was extremely patient with me and my novice-level questions. That was definitely a highlight.

Of course, the reason everyone comes to RailsConf is for the talks. It doesn't feel right to pick just one RailsConf presentation to call my favorite, especially when I only got to see one fifth of them (let alone the work shops).

For those who haven't gone too deep into the Rack Middleware rabbit hole, I would definitely suggest Amy Unger's talk. It was a great mix of what Rack Middleware is and how it can be used, and I really appreciated the actual code examples. The beautiful thing about RailsConf is that everything is recorded.There are bound to be talks that other attendees raved about, and ConFreaks allows me to catch up on anything that I might have missed.

With so many tracks, it's impossible to go to everything that you find interesting, and I look forward to going back and checking out many different talks- especially Koichi Sasada's talk on precompiling Ruby scripts.

There is an amazing dedication to lifelong learning at CoverHound, and I love being able to take advantage of the extremely generous educational budget given to each developer. Everyone has different interests and skill-sets that they wish to build, and CoverHound does a fantastic job of allowing all of its engineers to pursue their own passions by attending conferences on the topics that they find interesting. Overall RailsConf 2016 was a great learning experience, and I'm extremely appreciative of the opportunity to see so many amazing speakers.

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