Some diligent readers may have noticed that I described Matthew Wilson as "a fellow ACCU member" and are wandering what the ACCU is. Well it's not some kind of secret religious cult - on the contrary they also allow mere mortals like me and you to join! Rather than screw up the possibility of recruiting new members by trying to succinctly describe what the ACCU is about I'll leave it to the front page of the ACCU website (http://accu.org/):-
"ACCU is an organisation of programmers who care about professionalism in programming and are dedicated to raising the standard of programming."
Once upon a time the "CC" in ACCU stood for C/C++, but these days it is far more diverse. In one of the Lightning Talks at this years ACCU conference (http://accu.org/index.php/conferences/accu_conference_2009) there was a straw poll on the primary language used by the attendees and there was a considerable show of hands for Java and C#. Python also features quite regularly on "ACCU-General" which is the organisations main mailing list.
I'm a relative newcomer to ACCU (I only joined in 2006) and came to find out about it by working at one of the major investment banks that has quite a few members in its ranks. I was lamenting the loss of CUJ (The C/C++ Users Journal) and asked on the internal chat system where I was going to get my [printed] fix of C++. I was told that the ACCU publishes two journals, C Vu and Overload which are packed with top quality articles about all aspects of software engineering amongst other benefits. I thought I'd try it for a year and see how it pans out. I only wish I'd known about it when I started my career back in the early 90's!
At £35 per year, membership is cheaper than a subscription to CUJ, MSDN Magazine, TechNet etc. and in return you get a journal per month of quality articles, but more importantly, you get access via the mailing lists to some really smart cookies.
The highlight of the year is probably the ACCU conference, which is held in Oxford during April. This is 4 days of high-bandwidth communication with such luminaries as Andrei Alexandrescu, Nicolai Josuttis, Robert Martin, Kevlin Henney etc. During the day you listen to various speakers talking about all sorts of aspects of software engineering, but more importantly, during the evening (and most of the night :-) you get to speak to many of them one-to-one over a pint or two in the bar. Of course you also get to meet a whole bunch of other like minded souls and share experiences with them as well.
If you're still unsure that your £35 buys you excellent value for money, you can view back issues of Overload online here - http://accu.org/index.php/overloadonline.
See you soon on "accu-general"...