The best advice I've ever gotten about learning to code was when my friend Collin Schaafsma told me bluntly "Get out of your basement." My learning had plateaued as an individual learning Ruby on Rails from tutorials, books, and banging my head against the wall. It was time to code with others. I signed up for Code Retreat and have been recommending it ever since as the most concentrated learning I've had in a single day.
The first Code Retreat I went to almost melted my brain. I had never written any Ruby outside of the Rails framework, let alone written anything in another language (unless BASIC or Logo from 30 years ago counts). The last time I went, I left with my brain overflowing again. It was drinking from the firehose in its most extreme form. On both occasions it took a day or two to catch my breath. When I did, I was a much stronger programmer.
Code Retreat gives you the opportunity to focus 100% of your time on honing your craft away from the usual distractions and pressures of a work day. You'll pair with people of different skill levels, different language preferences, and most importantly, different approaches to problem solving. It will open your mind in a way that coding in your usual environment can never do.
If you're hesitant to go because you feel like your skills aren't up to snuff, get over it. Today. Every developer had shit for skills in the beginning and frankly, many still do. If you're curious what skill level I went into the first Code Retreat with, feel free to take a look at the code for Get Shit Done, my first complete web app. I've made the repository publicly viewable to remind me and others that we all write shitty code. If you show enthusiasm for learning, you'll be welcomed with open arms at Code Retreat.
My friends at Scrib are hosting the next Code Retreat in Boulder coming up on December 8, 2012. The only investment you need to make is a day of your time. Make sure you grab a seat by registering for Code Retreat on Eventbrite. You won't regret it.