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Re: [ljc] Improving as a developer, Open Source Projects and "bedroom" coding projects

From: Durand D.
Sent on: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 8:21 AM
Thanks James will surely add that to my calendar.

Sent from my iphone

On 10 Oct 2012, at 07:57, James Bowkett <[address removed]> wrote:

Hi Durand,

If you're still looking for work, and if the idea of a startup floats your boat,then maybe consider taking yourself along to the forthcoming (free!) silicon milk roundabout startup recruitment fair

hope this helps...


On Oct 9,[masked]:36 PM, "Durand Dsouza" <[address removed]> wrote:
As a recent graduate (jan 2012) still not found work and stuck in a job to pay the  bills. Working in my free time playing around with spring and hibernate does not cut it for me anymore. Would jump at the chance to work with a real team just for the experience.

Sent from my iphone

On 9 Oct 2012, at 22:19, John Summers <[address removed]> wrote:

I think this is an awesome idea. I am also, like Andy, looking for 'the right' OS projects to become involved in.
As you say you could have the OS teams/representative giving recurring 'mini presentations' about their projects to small groups of people. Perhaps even the JSR and OpenJDK gang could come along fishing as well.


From: [address removed]
Subject: Re: [ljc] Improving as a developer, Open Source Projects and "bedroom" coding projects
To: [address removed]
Date: Tue, 9 Oct[masked]:44:10 -0400

Hi Andy,

Uncanny timing! 

As you may know one of our principles within the LJC is to look at ways to connect all corners of the Java community. As you may have read recently, I mentioned about the meet a mentor series of events, which involves experts meeting with small groups of 3-6 students to help them understand more about their career options. The events have been extremely well received by both mentors and students and I have been considering ways that I could run a similar, speed networking style event within the LJC and I have an idea which I'd be keen to get your thoughts on.

I'm considering whether we could run a regular event but rather than 'meet a mentor' they could be 'find a project'. The concept being that there are a lot of developers like yourself looking to contribute to something interesting but don't know where to start and often get distracted with other projects or work and end up losing interest. Having personally seen so many Java developers' careers expedited 'incredibly' by their involvement in OSS projects I'm extremely keen to encourage more of this and see the 'find a project' events make the idea of getting involved in open source software projects as far more accessible.

There are an incredible amount of projects out there in London, many involved with charities etc that desperately need more developers to get involved, many don't really know how to connect with developers… not to mention a bunch of JSRs that need to be adopted. It would be awesome if we could start connecting developers and projects through these events. I'm confident that we, at RecWorks, could handle all the organisation, so realistically all I need to know is that there is enough support/demand for it and we'll make it happen.

How I personally see them working, would be that you would meet 5-6 project owners/committers within an evening. They would have 15 minutes to give you the big picture in a small group of perhaps 5-10 people. We could then organise an informal networking session in a pub straight afterward so that if there was something you were interested in, you could discuss it with the project owner directly… if nothing else it would give you an idea of the type of projects going on in London, and the project owners feedback on how their projects are perceived by a group of developers.

Would you personally be up for attending an event like this if we could organise? 

I'm very interested to hear any feedback/support/thoughts... positive or negative (either direct or through the mailing list) toward this idea. If I get enough support I'll put something together ASAP. 


On 9 Oct 2012, at 21:18, Andy Dickinson wrote:

Hi All,

Some of the discussions on here (coupled with having just done my first interview as an interviewer) have got me thinking about my own skills as a developer and how to improve them. I'm currently working as a Java Developer, although I am now spending a lot less of my time actually coding. Its a lot more design and analysis (with associated documentation) which is fine and necessary but I really want to improve as a developer, and re-ignite my joy of coding.
So it turns out that its on me to do something about that (in my spare time) and work on improving as a developer. Which is where I run into a problem, like most people (as far as I can tell) I can get a better understanding of something if I am using it for something in particular. Messing around with say a framework like hibernate is fine, but I only really start to get to grips with it when I'm working on something. The problem I have (and a bookshelf full of computing books can attest to it) is coming up with that "nebulous" something. I'm not very good with the initial ideas, and if I do have one I can get distracted with minutae such as trying to setup an automated build server, or configuring a local git repository or whatever.

Does anyone else ever have a similar issue? You want to learn and produce something cool but the urge to try the "latest and greatest" or tinker with something interesting seems to take over. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with that at all, and it maybe the underlying issue is to do with me, but I wonder if having something more concrete to work on would help (I even decided to setup an online presence with the aim of putting stuff up there and blogging about but again I get distracted, its at if anyone is interested).

One thing I think might be useful would be to work on an Open Source project, but this is another area where I don't even know where to start. How do you go about finding an open source project to get involved in? And (if) you find one how do you start to get involved. Part of me always worries that the code I write isn't going to be good or suitable (which is a vicious circle in that the only way to find out if it is any good and improve it is to have other people look at it etc etc).

So, trying to bring this to some kind of conclusion, or at least coherence
  • I would like to improve as a developer so I am wondering what its worth investing time in?
  • How do people go about improving as developer, gaining new skills or improving existing ones outside of work?
  • I find it hard to get to grips with stuff unless I have something to work on, but coming up with that "something" isn't straightforward, is anyone in a similar situation?
  • Has anyone had any success pairing up with someone (or someones) to produce something "cool", if only because having multiple people allows for improving your code, and having other people to keep you focused. If so, how did you go about getting started?
  • Does anyone know of a project (open source or otherwise) that they want to work with someone on (in a spare time sense, I already have one full time job :-) ) or would be interested in setting something up? Are the LJC meetups a good place to meet and discuss this kind of thing?

Right, enough waffle, I hope it makes some kind of sense, please let me know your thoughts (and let me know if anything does or doesn't make sense).


Andy Dickinson

Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.
I didn't say it was your fault. I said I was going to blame you.
It is often said that before you die your life passes before your eyes. It is in fact true. It's called living.
Of course I'm out of my mind! It's dark and scary there!

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