5 Things We Learned at HDC This Year

Last week the 12th Annual Heartland Developers Conference (HDC) drew in 698 participants and 160 different businesses from across the region and country.

Attendees enjoyed hearing about the latest software and learning new techniques in design and web development from esteemed professionals such as Shen Chauhan of Microsoft and Joe Olsen of Phenomblue. Upon returning from HDC, a few presentations really stuck with our internal staff.

Developers are really artists

“I really enjoyed the Clean Code presentation from Steve Green at Wirestream,” said James Swanson, Software Engineer, AIM Careerlink. “It was neat because he talked about developers being artists instead of builders. The traditional vision is that you’re building a house and the schematics of things, but that’s not really the case. Developers are really artists because development is not cut and dry. There’s a process to it and you keep going back to constantly revise things. It’s really a skill, not just about the numbers.”

Form over function applies to user interface

In the race to add more features, remember that form over function applies to user interface. If people have to choose between a beautiful, intuitive app and one with a lot of functions and features, they’ll usually pick the beautiful one,” said Dr. Levi Thiele, Director of Research, AIM Careerlink.

‘R’ programming offers loads of statistical functions

“I didn’t know that there were so many basic and statistical functions in the ‘R’ programming language. It was interesting to hear about, and I think it could be easily utilized by organizations that need data analysis,” said Jeff Busacker, Business Development Executive, AIM Careerlink.

Pay attentions to 3s and 4s in customer reviews

“One of the biggest things I took away was Shen Chauhan’s point of paying attention to the 3s and 4s when customers are reviewing their experience on a 1 to 5 scale. If they are giving you these scores, that usually means they have a specific point your business can improve on,” said Erick Whigham, IT Manager, AIM Careerlink.

IT needs to understand a user’s mindset

“I thought Shen Chauhan’s presentation was interesting because he talked about integrating more business practices with web development and design,” said Samantha Scholtfeld, Associate VP, Enterprise Information, AIM Careerlink. “There are less developers sitting in a back room and more that are getting out in front of the business and understanding how the practices work. An IT staff needs to understand how a user’s mindset interacts with a site to really be efficient at what they’re doing, rather than just cranking out code.”

As AIM continues to host HDC, we’d like to know what you took away from this year’s conference and what you would like to see next year.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter! Also remember you can read more about the presentations from this year on HDC’s Twitter handle, @HDC411.

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