in Projects, Thoughts

The Dead Coder Society

This is a repost from the post I made over at the actual Dead Coder Society blog. The Dead Coder Society (DCS) is a group I formed this past year at Stockton. It’s a selective student-run group of dedicated computer science majors, with a goal of teaching each other interesting stuff they wouldn’t learn in class. I am convinced that the existence of DCS has improved my technical ability, social skills, and has gained me a network of incredibly smart people.

The First Year of the Dead Coder Society

The first year of the Dead Coder Society is over. We did an amazing number of things right for a first-year group:

  • We met consistently. A consistent meeting schedule is critical for establishing trust in the group. Trust makes other members want to show up and want to present.
  • We built a strong network of intelligent, enthusiastic students. Outside of learning from each other, a consistent schedule enforced us all to get to know each other better. One of the problems that most computer science majors at Stockton face is a lack of community. We tied community and learning to create strong bonds that have lead to job opportunities and more.
  • We accomplished goals without a budget. We shared in any expenses that we incurred, and as a result, I think we all appreciated what we did more.
  • We accomplished goals without official club status. We were free to meet where and when we wanted to, without needing to seek advisor approval or wait for funds to be processed. We weren’t forced to waste time writing a constitution or electing certain people to official positions. Our success was directly related to the work every member put in.
  • We maintained a strong web-presence throughout the year. The Dead Coder Society has an up-to-date website, complete with forums and chat rooms. Every meeting has been logged and the slides are available for most speakers. Our log of activity is more up to date than most clubs at Stockton. We also experimented with advertising the Society through Google advertising and received several internship offers.
  • We worked on school-wide educational projects. Outside of our schoolwork and extracurricular study, we embarked on smaller projects to directly benefit Stockton. There is an education resource project still underway internally, and there are plans for several programming competitions at Stockton.
  • We kept other members up to date with video recordings of meetings and live Skype calls when available.Some members were unable to attend meetings, which typically would mean completely missing the educational and social value that comes from showing up. We recorded every meeting from the second half of the year and in some cases were able to live-cast the meeting directly to the missing member.

Three of our members (including myself) graduated this spring:

There will be some changes to the Society coming in the future, but until then:

Cheers to the Dead Coder Society,

Stan Schwertly


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