Elixir Training Wheel

Elixir Training

From Chris Bell and Desmond Bowe
hosts of the ElixirTalk podcast and
organizers of the EMPEX Conferences

Why Elixir Training?

Desmond Bowe
July 9, 2019

I thought I'd inaugurate our new blog with a little raison d'être post. There are plenty of Elixir trainings out there - often paired with a conference - so why did we start Elixir Training? There are two reasons.

Our Reasons

For starters, we love teaching. Chris has led several beginners' trainings at EMPEX conferences and, as a consultant, coached many teams adopting Elixir.  Desmond has conducted Elixir trainings for engineers and managers, and taught Ruby courses at the Startup Institute. Connecting with people and watching them learn is a singular experience, and a very human one. How many people had to reinvent fire before someone thought to teach the trick to others?

Also, when you teach, you learn. It's a wonderful opportunity to expand our own knowledge of a subject as well as develop our skills for communicating that knowledge to others. As listeners of our podcast know, we are constantly expanding our own knowledge :).

Second, we want to expand the community of Elixir developers. There are two pieces to this: training engineers in the technology and educating managers on its benefits. Few people will learn the language if there are no jobs, and companies will be reluctant to adopt if they don't think they can hire. This is where Elixir Training comes in.

We're solving both parts at once because they're two sides of the same problem.

How Will We Do It?

We want to teach Elixir basics to web developers like ourselves. The web is far from the only game in Elixir town, of course. IoT/connected devices, cryptocurrency, multicore stream processing, and realtime applications all have immense potential on this platform, and we hope to one day offer workshops in those areas as well.

Right now we're looking for people with backgrounds we can relate to: you've been programming in your stack of choice for 3-7 years, maybe you've scaled a few applications. You've felt the pain of distributed Node apps or large, object-oriented Ruby projects. Microservices seemed like the answer until you got buried in the administrative overhead of polyglot languages, cross-service communication, and coordinated deploys. Your hard-earned experience lets you appreciate the elegance of the Erlang VM and its approach to application design and scaling. You sense that Elixir is a big step forward in how we build applications, but it's a big shift from how you're used to doing it. Or you think it's just for Big Applications, not your latest MVP.

(By the way, the secret is that it's no easier to write an MVP in Rails or Node than it is in Phoenix. After one of our workshops, you'll be productive out of the gate and have a clear path to scale.)

At the same time, we want to talk to technical managers. The folks who run teams, plan strategy, and choose tech stacks. You're probably intrigued by the potential of Elixir, and perhaps you have a senior engineer who's been not-so-subtly advocating for it. You know that the Erlang platform could give your company immense leverage to build a scalable, resilient application with a compact team. Yet you have very reasonable operational and administrative concerns about adopting a relatively unknown technology. There's inherent risk in something you're less familiar with, and there's pressure from the CEO or the Board to play it safe, to use technologies whose names have filtered into their news streams.

You play a crucial role in the community. And we want to talk. And listen.

We've been in your shoes. We've built out teams, trained up new engineers in Elixir, and run applications at scale. We're here to help by answering questions, sharing our stories, and providing support. You're not alone in making these decisions, and the good news is you're not the first to make them! Big companies are having wild success with the platform. Conferences are popping up all over.  The Erlang Ecosystem Foundation, where I lead the Marketing Working Group, is the latest piece to fall into place. The decision to use Elixir is not as risky as you think.

North America 2019

The answers are coming! Our upcoming North American tour will see us stop in a handful of cities in North America for two one-day workshops. One day  for engineers, one day for managers. The curricula will be different because your needs are different. We will answer questions and get you familiar with teh platform, and leave you with resources for learning more.

Cities, dates, and prices will be announced by the end of this Summer. To stay involved, be sure to put your name on the mailing list for info about the road show. We won't spam you or otherwise waste your time.

2020 and Beyond

Ah, the future! What does it hold? Our primary mission is to expand the community, which means a focus on beginner trainings and helping people get familiar with the platform. Eventually we would like to offer more advanced trainings on more technical topics, such as OTP, deployment, or distribution. Managers can expect to see more workshops specializing in various operational areas of running an Elixir team, plus case studies of others' experiences.

We also offer onsite training for your teams to ensure they're writing the best applications they can be. A week of personalized training can save your team months of costly learning and redevelopment cycles.

So that's our plan for Elixir Training. To expand the community by growing the talent pool, advising and supporting technical decision makers, and training your current team to take full advantage of this platform. Our audience is curious engineers and forward-thinking managers. We're looking forward to connecting :).

Back to the Blog

Desmond Bowe and Chris Bell have a decade of combined experience programming in Elixir. They have run trainings, helped companies adopt Elixir, built out teams, and put dozens of Elixir apps into production. They're also fun to work with. We love bringing others into the community so come join us!