A New Way to GovCon - A 2020 Recap

September 28, 2020
lindsey gemmill smiling in front of baltimore skyline Lindsey Gemmill

A new virtual experience with the same great outcome.

This year was anything but ordinary when it comes to a lot of things, and Drupal GovCon was no exception. We enjoyed seeing the transition from a fully in-person to a fully online event, and how Drupal camps can still be successful no matter what curveballs are thrown at them. With that, we want to throw a big shout-out to everyone involved in putting together the camp this year and say cheers to another successful event.

Virtual Training

With more than 30 attendees signed up for our free half-day Intro to PHP training, we were excited to embark on a virtual journey with so many new faces. Typically Debug Academy classes (unless we’re training at camps) are smaller in size, and in-person (ahh, the pre-2020 days) so we can give each student a more personalized experience. Most Drupal camps allow us to offer the Debug Academy experience at a much different level, and we enjoy teaching our introductory courses in this environment. We were thankful to be part of a group of great trainers and topics for GovCon 2020.

The Intro to PHP class held this year had a lot of material to cover. We started by making sure everyone was on the same page by getting their own environment set up collectively in-class. This prepared everyone to be able to work with the instructor for a more hands-on learning experience that encouraged trial-and-error to debug and to learn what on the job coding is really like. 

Our full PHP training spans the course of a few classes, so we encourage any individual that attended our Intro to PHP class to also take a look at more upcoming PHP courses. Continue the momentum and advance your skills even further by taking the next step.

Training Feedback

The feedback we received during, and after, the training was wonderful. We love hearing stories of that moment when things just click for our students, or being able to accomplish something they never thought possible before. If you have anything you'd like to add, or areas where we can improve, feel free to reach out to us. We welcome all feedback!

"Excellent training, excellent event, thank you for your work, both of you! Thank you for a well done class. I appreciated your patience, and reassurance when things were hard."

"Thank you for this class! Well presented! Well paced."

Continue Learning PHP

While our Intro to PHP training at GovCon this year was a free training, we encourage those who attended and those who didn't get a chance to join this year, to look into the PHP offerings we have at Debug Academy. The training we give at camps is a great introduction to expanding your PHP knowledge and becoming more advanced with your PHP skills. With that said we have a few more PHP courses coming up this October. 

Beyond PHP at Debug Academy

At Debug Academy, we're not just about PHP. We teach a variety of topics that help people of all skill levels and backgrounds become part of a community that we love. Whether you're a beginner, intermediate, or advanced coder, we have options for all of you. So if you're interested in something other than PHP, we've probably got you covered. If you don't see it on our upcoming courses list, it's likely it's just not on our calendar yet. However, we encourage you to reach out to us individually for specific training topics that we can add to our rotation. We have a few classes slated for October that aren't focused on PHP and we're still building out the remainder of our 2020 calendar. For now, this October you can find our ReactJS with Drupal course, a single day course held on Friday October 23rd, and our Advanced ReactJS with Drupal course, a single day course held the following Friday, October 30th. 

GovCon Sessions

Just as expected, the variety of sessions offered this year was able to reach a broader audience than just government employees. From general well-being, to specific government and drupal integrations, there was a piece of learning for everyone. While we were busy behind the scenes, we did still have time to peek into a few sessions and keynotes, and were very happy to have walked away with more knowledge than we came with. Not only do we enjoy sharing what we know and our expertise with others in the community, but events like GovCon give us a chance to turn the tables and become the student.

One of our favorite sessions was about mobile accessibility and better understanding how to do mobile accessibility testing. In a world where we all preach mobile-first, we found it very interesting to have not really learned too much about this topic in detail. While mobile accessibility is definitely not a new subject, we love seeing it get the attention it so deserves on a platform like Drupal GovCon. Our team appreciates that we can still find this kind of variety in camps and conferences and that one of our favorite camps continues to deliver year after year.

We also enjoyed hearing each Keynote, from Harish’s insights on COVID-19 and Crisis Management, to Sara’s high-level approach to User Experience, and the team effort between Noel and Joseph to advocate for “Just Doing the Work!” and Open Source in the Federal Government, we walked with many different things to think about, full of action-items on a personal and professional level.

GovCon Networking

As always, Drupal Camps are a great place for us to meet new people and say hello to old friends. This year may have been a little less physical, but we still had a great personalized experience in the GovCon slack. Thank you again to the team at GovCon who thought of such unique ways to keep us engaged, just like we would be at an in-person event. From polls, to give-aways, and general channels of communication, there were endless ways to make our community stronger and grow the bonds we've forged over the years. And of course a very special shout-out to the donut bot for helping us meet new people in a way we hadn't even imagined.

We are already looking forward to another great GovCon, and can't wait to see what 2021 has in store for us!

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