Grant Mercer was a high school senior when he attended C++Now 2013 as a volunteer.
Volunteering at C++Now 2013 has been one of my biggest inspirations to continue learning and pursuing a career in computer science. Not only was I able to attend very informative sessions, but I was also able to socialize in a very relaxed environment with others who share my interest in computer science.
The sessions at C++Now showed me just how much there is to learn about programming. Boris Schäling’s Containers in Boost taught me some extremely interesting and useful containers from the boost library. Boris also made sure to introduce C++11 concepts in his example code, which I had learned earlier in Leor Zolman’s A Zephyr Overview of C++11.
Upon arrival to C++Now, I had thought C++ was a stagnant language, having only been developed and modified once in its history. Leor’s presentation helped me catch up to modern C++11, and learn just how active the community is in the evolution in C++. I’m now subscribed to the isocpp.org newsletter and I’m trying to make a bigger impact in the C++ community.
Socializing with other attendees from C++Now impacted me the most. After the sessions ended each day, I would accompany the majority of the conference to a restaurant, where I would sit quietly and soak in the vast amount of information being exchanged through others working in the field.
When others heard I was still in high school, people gave me recommendations of what to pursue and tips for being successful in the field. Because of this I was able to step away from old habits and begin learning useful and important tools such as CMake, Git, Debian packaging and Red Hat packaging. Using these tools alongside C++11 has greatly improved my understanding of not only the language, but Linux development and the world of open source software.
Volunteering at this conference has allowed me to take the next step in my pursuit of computer science, all while providing my services to the staff and helping make the conference run as smooth and error-free as possible. Attending has truly been one of the most inspirational moments of my life. I had the opportunity to learn, socialize and have a great time in general. I hope to attend this conference yearly now and make a lasting impact in the computer science community.