Earlier this week registration opened for this year's DDD North. This is one of my favourite conferences, so I excitedly shared the news across my social media accounts, prompting the following curious email from a local Recruitment Consultant:

Subject: DDD for the layman?

I recruit .Net developers and have done for the better part of the last x years, but having gone along to events like Agile Yorkshire to try and learn more about the skills that I recruit, a lot of it flies way over my head (having no prior experience in IT).

I like to think that I know more than the next recruiter (I know that a lot of companies just match key words and think that is how you recruit), but I would really benefit from an event which focussed on explaining the .Net technologies, associated tools and the opinions that the development community have on them, but targeted toward a layman/outsider like myself.

So, to get to the point, I just wanted to ask if DDD would offer that kind of insight, or would I just be taking up the place of somebody who could benefit a lot more than I could?

Thanks for any help!

It's an interesting question, don't you think? I thought about this for a while, considered the nature of the DDD conferences that I've attended in the past, had a look at the agenda for this year's DDD North, and sent the following reply:

Firstly, kudos for wanting to take the time and effort to learn more about the skills for which you recruit. As someone who speaks to a lot of recruiters and can generally tell when they are just working to a keyword-matching approach, it is appreciated. I'm sure such efforts must benefit your clients and candidates alike.

Unfortunately though, I don't think that a Developer Developer Developer event is going to provide you with the kind of insight you're looking for. The sessions at these event are all presented by developers, aimed at developers, with a schedule chosen by developers. As such they have a tendency to expect the attendees to already have several years' experience and often talk about the latest shiny languages, architectures, ideas and tools rather than the bread-and-butter stuff that your clients are likely to be looking for on a day-to-day basis. Even as a professional developer some of the technical sessions at these events can fly over my head.

There are some non-technical sessions on the agenda at this year's event - as I hurtle inexorably towards my 40s I'm considering attending the sessions on avoiding burnout and turning to management - but again they are very much focussed on practising developers. I also find that the DDD events, being larger than the likes of Agile Yorkshire, don't really offer the same informal opportunity to network and introduce oneself to strangers.

I'm not entirely sure what alternatives to suggest, it does seem that there could be a gap in the market for the kind of high-level overview that you need. Perhaps skim through the opening sections of some Pluralsight courses to get an overview of different technologies? Or follow a whole bunch of local devs on Twitter to get a feel for current opinions and issues they face?

What do you think, dear reader? Is my response a reasonable one, or do you think there would be value to non-Developers in attending DDD events?
What other resources do you think are appropriate for IT Recruitment Consultants wanting to gain a high-level overview of the technologies that we work with every day?