My first couple of months at Codurance

Some background

Five Characteristics of a Great Company CultureSome of you may know me from the various meetups in the city, especially my attendance at a number of LJC and LSCC meetup events. Attending these events I learnt about various conferences like Devoxx, SoCraTes, JAX LondonJava2Days, OpenFest, and I ended up attending and later presenting on various topic including Adopt OpenJDK.

During this time I met a lot of people with various levels of experience and my interest and urge to learn more about the Java/JVM platform, Code Quality, Software Design, XP Practices, Software Craftsmanship, etc…, were on the rise and saw no end. And whilst attending these events I came across Sandro and Mash, who were in those days hosting LSCC events. I went to many of LSCC events, especially liked the hands-on sessions (which are still my favourite).

I also noticed that many things I learnt at such events and conferences wouldn’t always be immediately recognised or accepted at the workplace. And moving to another work environment didn’t always solve this problem fully. I found that I wasn’t learning what I wanted from my peers and the things I learnt from the community I couldn’t apply at work. Besides very few were really in tuned with what the community was about. So one fine day I decided to take charge of my career and make a serious decision and take up the Apprenticeship program offered by Codurance and go through the process.

I was urged to go this way after being inspired by Sandro’s book: The Software Craftsman, attending all the SoCraTes UK conferences, and meeting with developers who valued and took pride of their work namely their craft.

I was urged to go this way after being inspired by Sandro’s book: The Software Craftsman, attending all the SoCraTes UK conferences, and meeting with developers who valued and took pride of their work namely their craft.

Where we are just now

It’s now been nearly two months since I have been working for Codurance, a formidable force. And so it’s also about time that I share my experiences with my fellow mates and the community around me.

During my first few weeks at Codurance, I have been busy learning various things that have been chalked out for becoming a craftsman.

When working on a kata or learning a concept, we paired or did what is known as ‘mob programming’ along with other apprentices and craftsmen. And most of the time used the pomodoro technique. Time boxing our work in intervals is something done both in groups and working individually. We would have a lot of discussions and retrospectives after working on a problem or writing some code from scratch.

Structure of my program

We used an internal tool based on the concept of Impact Mapping. I soon got interested in it when I saw my colleague Franzi (who is now a craftswoman) had used it to plan out her Apprenticeship route. Such a tool helps map out our goals and the tasks we need to perform to achieve it. And this can differ from person-to-person, depending on what they want to work on (driven by the Apprentice).

My mentor and other craftsmen reviewed them to get an idea of what I wanted to achieve for myself. And then its up to me to apply my own drive and perseverance to achieve the individual stories. My mentor and I meet and talk informally on a regular basis, many times pairing on a kata or a project or on the white board trying to get my head around a concept.

Days in the life of an Apprentice

I found the working hours quite flexible, remote working is also an option (when you are on the bench or if the client allows, if you are in a project). Our co-founders are understanding and compassionate about our individual situations.

Meetings are at their minimum, except for a weekly Apprentices meeting (run by an Apprentice and guided by at least one Craftsperson) and a bi-monthly company-wide catchup.

The Apprentices meetings are full of fun — we are accompanied by at least one Craftsperson, who disperses their knowledge and experience from a wide variety of topics designed to help us in the journey and fill the gaps in our knowledge and experience.

A bi-monthly catchup involves sharing of knowledge via lightning talks, discussions and pairing sessions on pet projects over pizzas and beer (and of course veggies and non-alcoholic beverages for the teetotalers).

Katas, code reviews, mob programming and projects make up a learning week – all of these done individually or when pairing with another.

Katas

On a daily basis I have worked on different katas or try to solve the same kata in various different ways (using different testing and refactoring approaches). This in turn gave me better insights into designing and refactoring techniques. Trying to solve the same problem in different ways has a positive impact on our problem solving skills especially when writing code. In my case I also learnt how to use the different libraries and methods to write tests. I would like to cite Samir, thanks to you, for the suggesting this approach during the first week of my Apprenticeship.

Code reviews

Just last week we did a group code review and time-boxed ourselves, performed a retrospective at the end of each interval and ensured we delivered a good chunk of the feedback before close of play. Such regular code review exercises are helping all of us learn about how to code better as we are not only learning from feedback from the tools we used, but also through exchange of feedback from our peers who were involved in the group code review session.

Software Design, Specification Gathering & Communication

Recently we had an interesting mob-programming session where we were trying to model and write a game. At the end of the session, we had a retrospective, discussing the things we did well and didn’t do well. Each of the apprentices and craftsmen were performing a specific role i.e. Developer, Domain Expert, etc… We learnt in retrospective, about areas where we could have done better and should focus on. That any test written gives immediate feedback about how well we have understood the domain and if we were taking the right approach. Why a certain approach when starting a project is more advantageous than another approach. What questions to ask and why it is important to ask the right questions to the domain expert or to give the right level of information to another developer and vice-versa. Sandro has described this process in detail in his blog post recently.

Fun, socialising and sharing

I found our office environment to be conducive to learning, sharing and collaboration. We even have a pairing rota that we use from time-to-time to record or suggest pairing sessions during the week.

We share links to events, conferences, tweets, interesting articles, videos, blog posts, etc… via slack, document discussions and brain dumps via Google doc, huddles during lunch- and tea- breaks to talk about anything we are working on. Thanks to the library of printed and digital books to our disposal, the huge collection of blog posts and videos on our site.

The apprentices and some craftsmen have collectively started a social event which of course happens every Friday, sometimes it’s dinner at a nearby restaurant, while at other times an indoor movie over snacks and drinks at our office premises.

It is worthwhile and that’s why we are here

It is a privilege to be able to work alongside very experienced craftsmen from our industry. We are very lucky and thankful to have the opportunity to be guided and mentored by talented and like minded developers.

This is my first job where the company has a completely flat hierarchy and where we share similar values.

greatCompanyCulture

Closing note

Work is fun and learning is enjoyable when we love what we do and are amongst friends with similar goals and aspirations.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post and I hope it was interesting. Looking forward to write more and share such experiences in future posts.

Many thanks to Sandro, Tomaz, Alex, Franzi and David for all the feedback provided for this blog post.

 

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What is being a good developer? How can we work to become better?

TL;DR

  • future of the Java ecosystem
  • JavaSE, Java EE workshops at Devoxx UK 2015
  • OpenJDK and JSRs
  • extraordinary developers
  • hands-on sessions, hackdays and panel
  • learn, collaborate and share
  • developer communities, JUG leaders, and corporate participations
  • thought leaders and tomorrow’s leaders of Java related topics
  • agenda, costs, tickets and discount codes

The Adopt team are running workshops at Devoxx UK next month that will help to answer the questions posed above. Why should you get along to a workshop? Well, here’s an imagined conversation between you and the Adopt team to explain. The Adopt Team are an ever growing community from various parts of the developer community, mainly the JUGs worldwide, members of the JCP, developers, evangelists and technical representatives of various companies supporting and extending the Java ecosystem via the JCP, Adopt-a-JSR  and Adopt OpenJDK programs.


You: I hear that there are a number of workshops going to be held during the first day of Devoxx UK 2015. What are these?

Adopt team: Yes, you heard right, we have a whole day (Wednesday) dedicated to it. In brief, the adopt team at Devoxx UK this year is comprised of experienced developers and leaders of various Java SE and Java EE topics i.e. OpenJDK, and a number of JSRs. These include members of the JCP as well. The topics range from learning how to build OpenJDK, working with devops tools, quality analysis tools, contributing and working with JSRs (guided by spec leads of the respective JSRs). Learning how to run a hackday if you want to start your own community where you are. And towards the end of the session you can get answers to the questions you have been pondering upon before or at the conference.

Have a look at the agenda to find out more.


You: Apart from OpenJDK, can you name some JSRs we will be involved with?

Adopt team: Good questions. We will have amongst us spec leads from the various JSRs:

  • JSR 363, Units of Measurement API – Leonardo Lima
  • JSR JSR 365, CDI 2.0 – Antoine Sabot-Durand
  • Java EE 8, and some of the proposed component JSRs, including JSR 371 MVC, the Security JSR, and JMS – David Delabassee

You: I’m a busy person, and there’s lots on at Devoxx. Why would I spend time at these workshops rather than doing something else? What do I gain from it?

Adopt team: Depending the workshop you attend you attend and participate in, the benefits can be any or all of these:

  • a great opportunity to feedback on tomorrow’s technology
  • learn and contribute to these technologies even before they are released
  • contributing to the future of the Java / Java platform
  • learn how to build your own Java / JVM platform
  • learn new technologies and improve your confidence,; including automation, code-coverage, testing technologies etc.
  • be able to make contact with and talk to the developers who are leading one or more of the technologies
  • be able to share with your own local user group / community the things you learn in the workshop
  • become a part of the adopt community and keep in touch about current and future developments, hackdays and other workshops

Contributions can be in any form, from as simple as speaking about it to another colleague, writing a post about it, or even mentioning it on a relevant mailing list.


You: So who is this aimed at? Who is your target audience?

Adopt team: Our primary goal is to propagate the know-how and experience various Java User Group leaders all across the globe, but we see everyone else benefiting from it as well: students, professionals, tech leads, devops, trainers, experts, etc…


You: What if my company wishes to be involved? Can you give me examples of companies who are already involved in this program?

Adopt team: Yes, companies, user groups, dev communities are all welcome. A number of companies are involved with the adoption program including: Oracle, IBM, RedHat, SAP, Google, Twitter, Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, among many others.


You: Can I or my company make contributions to any of the projects?

Adopt team: Yes, of course, that’s the whole point. One of the reasons is not just spread awareness and know-how of the upcoming technologies in the Java/JVM world but also to show how you can do it yourself. The topics and subtopics are numerous and this is an opportunity to pick one and lead it. You can drive these technologies with the help other community members, helping move your vision forward. Come along to a workshop to find out more!


You: So how much more does it cost me or my company if I have to attend these workshops?

Adopt team: Have a look at the ticket prices for the university days and the combi-tickets. You can also take advantage of special discount codes from us to get further discounts on the final ticket prices (ranging from 10 to 20%).


You:  What do we take along with us to be able to participate in the workshops ?

Adopt team: Bring along a laptop and a fresh mind to absorb all the knowledge and experience we have to share.


You: I hear this theme ‘The Extraordinary…. what is it about, tell me more” Why is this post so titled?

Adopt team: Another good question: to know more about the theme have a look at this http://www.devoxx.co.uk/2015/03/whats-theme/.

Good developers do what every developer does and more. They come to conferences like Devoxx, attend local dev events and talks, participate in workshops similar to the ones this post speaks about and then go out and share many of those things with other fellow developers in the form of blog posts, code snippets or even local community presentations.


You: What about those who can’t get to the workshop. How can they find out more and get involved?

Adopt team: These three websites are a great starting point to get to know more about the adopt programs: http://www.jcp.org, http://adoptopenjdk.java.net and http://adoptajsr.java.net/, but if you are based in London, the LJC organises a hackday every month, see http://www.meetup.com/Londonjavacommunity/events/222368734/, in the past developers from outside London and even outside the UK have visited the day-long hackdays.


You:  So tell me how did this come about? Who do you credit the initiative to?

Adopt team: Nice question: credit must go to where it is due. Thanks to the support from the JCP organisation i.e. Heather VanCura and Mark Hazell for making it happen at Devoxx UK this year. Not forgetting that any event like this one isn’t possible without the help of local and worldwide developer communities, with the likes of London Java Community (@LJCJug), continuously supporting good developer endeavours.


You: How to get the code?

Adopt team: That’s an important question, get in touch with Heather VanCura (heather@jcp.org) or Mark Hazell (mark.hazell@devoxx.co.uk) and they should help you sort out a discount code for you, but hurry are they will get exhausted soon.


DevoxxUK 2013 aware-ne·ces·si·ty !


You are here because you love and care about software and have a passion for Java/JVM and Web technologies! You are familiar with software, smart devices or even robotics and when you see one you want to take it home! – You are an an inhabitant of planet DevoxxUK !

Post a comment at the bottom of the blog, saying what DevoxxUK means to you and why you are part of it, for e.g.:
– You have been to Devoxx conferences before.
– You are a speaker / presenter at DevoxxUK (I’ll add a speaker badge to your message banner)
– You have passion and love for technology and want to share it with other like minded folks
– You are facilitating the DevoxxUK event
– You may even be a sponsor to the event
– Or you can’t make it and sorry about it, but given a chance you would love to come (maybe next year)!
– Or maybe even wanting to say “Hi” and encourage others to participate in the event!

Just post a message similar to one(s) below with your message, your name, your twitter handle, blog link, a link to your photo (if available), or anything relevant you wish to share with the rest of the community – including details enlisted above. Selected shout-outs will appear in the body of the blog, others will remain in the comments section! Shout-outs will be posted and shared with community far and wide!

Shout-outs that stand-out will be highlighted and given focus!

Follow DevoxxUK on twitter at @DevoxxUK.

DevoxxUK Newsletters!
Newsletter #10 (March 19th)
Newsletter #9 (March 13th) ——– Newsletter #8 (March 7th)
Newsletter #7 (February 26th) ——– Newsletter #6 (February 19th)
Newsletter #5 (February 13th) ——– Newsletter #4 (February 5th)
Newsletter #3 (January 29th) ——– Newsletter #2 (January 22nd)
Newsletter #1 (January 8th)

DevoxxUK full schedule is out! —- Get your ticket today!

Adopt OpenJDK and Adopt-a-JSR events and speakers at DevoxxUK 2013 – Bring your Java queries realted to JSRs, the JCP, the OpenJDK, excetera to these events.

Adopt OpenJDK

Adopt-a-JSR

Speakers / Presenters

#DevoxxUK Shout-outs!

BeJUG

Devoxx

Devoxx UK is a great opportunity for the London Java Community (and beyond) to learn, network and get inspired during this event. It’s also a very nice extension to the already sold out Devoxx Belgium and France editions.

Attending a conference by developers for developers (at a very democratic price) can really bring value to your career. Of course the things you learn and pick up but more importantly the peer-to-peer contacts & conversations often inspire you to take your ideas (and even your code) to the next level.

Enjoy our first Devoxx UK edition.

— Stephan Janssen (@Stephan007) * java developer * BeJUG, Devoxx, Parleys and Playpass + Java Champion * Belgium


We are really looking forward to DevoxxUK. Great to get the conference over here and for the LJC to have such a big part in it.

At RecWorks we are always encouraging developers to engage with the community, learn more and get involved in what’s going on. DevoxxUK seems a perfect place to do that and at a price point that is open to everyone. See you at the LJC stand!

— Barry Cranford (@bcrecworks) * Founder, leader, organiser, community herder * London Java Community JUG (LJC JUG): @ljcjug, Graduate Developers Community: @GDCldn, RecWorks: @RecWorks, Samantha Hepburn: @SHRecWorks * London

European Platinum Partners

ImSpeakingAtDevoxxUK4
I have been to several Devoxx conferences (in Belgium) and to several other conferences all over Europe as well. I’m even going to be a speaker at Devoxx UK this year. So if you’re interested in creating Word/Excel documents with Java, come to my quickie. I’m also going to be co-host of the Duchess Women in IT BoF and maybe you’ll find me on a panel about teaching kids how to code.
ImSpeakingAtDevoxxUK2
— Linda van der Pal (@DuchessFounder) * java developer, leader, speaker * Belgium

ImSpeakingAtDevoxxUK4
Needless to say, I’m obviously very excited about Devoxx UK! Devoxx has always been the premier Java conference in Europe and it’s a fantastic opportunity for Londoners to get a piece of that. I’m particularly excited about some of the deep dive and topical talks on Java and Cloud security, and the Hands on Labs for Java EE7 and Java 8 are also major highlights for me. Get your ticket today!

ImSpeakingAtDevoxxUK2— Martijn Verburg (@karianna) * The Diabolical Developer, CTO – jClarity, London JUG co-leader (LJC), Speaker, Author, Javaranch Mod, PCGen & Adopt OpenJDK / A-JSR Cat herder, Java Champion, Cat herder 😉 * London


DevoxxUK is going to be my first proper software conference where I’m involved with the top brass (if I may) and their supporters, from world of developers ! The two days of DevoxxUK will be filled with excitement, throwing a lot of attention on technologies that developers are passionate about, that make them proud and that they hold close to their hearts ! Remember it is an event for developers by developers, for the community by the community. In the last so many years, the age range of developers have breached its limits again-and-again – today we have kids (Devoxx 4 Kids) as young as 10 are being introduced to robotics, smart devices and programming. But lets not forget the veterans of the software industry in their 50s and 60s who have left behind system-level and functional languages for us to cherish! DevoxxUK is hosting and welcoming many such inhabitants from a growing and maturing planet of developers and creators of our past, present and future!

— mani (@theNeomatrix369) * blog * #java developer * Agile (TDD, BDD), Bash, full of innovative ideas, thinker, creator! Blogger! LJC & LSCC member. LJC Advocate (@adoptopenjdk and @adoptajsr programs), MutabilityDetector! * london

Silver Partner

My very first software conference was LJC Conf 2012 and ever since then I have been bitten by the bug! Devoxx UK is a fantastic opportunity to learn about all the latest technologies and pick the brains of some of the greatest developers in our industry. I’m extremely excited and I simply can’t wait 😀

ImSpeakingAtDevoxxUK2

— Edward Yue Shung Wong (@arkangelofkaos) * passionate java developer * London

Great event!!!! I would like to go there this year!!!


— Emanuel Cordeiro (@emanuelcordeiro) * blog * java developer * CEJUG member * Brazil ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The first time I heard about DevoxxUK was during Devoxx 2012 in Belgium. I’ve got immediately excited! No doubt that it´s going to be a great edition! I will attend on behalf of CEJUG (cejug.org) and my goal, besides attending all those great conference sessions, is to get in touch with AdoptOpenJDK and AdoptaJSR folks! Those guys are doing a great job by moving Java forward! CEJUG Community heavily supports these initiatives!


— Hildeberto Mendonca (@htmfilho) * java developer * CEJUG member * Brazil

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Grande Evento, uma oportunidade para todos aqueles que amam tecnologia! A comunidade CEJUG estará bem representado com Hildeberto. (Great Event, an opportunity for all those who love technology! The CEJUG community will be well represented by Hildeberto.)

— Jardel Rodrigues (@JardelJava) * java developer * CEJUG member * Brazil

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Yes CEJUG has the passion for java / JVM and Web technologies ! Manda Bala DevoxxUK (“Go go go DevoxxUK“) !!!


— Hélio Frota (@hf_metal) * enthusiastic java developer * CEJUG leader * Brazil

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Vamos que vamos porque os cães ladram mas a caravana não para (PH) [“Come on everyone let’s go !”]

— Eduardo Vieira (@dudurct) * sysadmin * CEJUG * Brazil

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

É uma excelente oportunidade para a nossa comunidade (CEJUG) absorver um conteúdo tão bem elaborado para a rotina atual e corrida de um desenvolvedor. Desejo que os participantes aproveitem ao máximo o partilhar dos “Caras do desenvolvimento” e estreitem laços entre outros desenvolvedores de uma forma qualitativa e eficaz.
De fato é um evento da comunidade para a comunidade!
Ao infinito… e a Londres! (Rsrs)

It is an excellent opportunity for our community (CEJUG) to absorb content as well prepare for the development of the future of a developer. I wish the participants make the most of the presence of you “developers” and establish closer links between other developers in a qualitative and effective manner.
In fact it is a community event for the community!
To infinity … and London! (Lol)


— Israel Bruno (@ibmarques) * java developer * CEJUG * Brazil


Bronze Partners

I am so exited to know about this great conference, I was looking forward to participate in this year Devoxx UK, but I participated in Devoxx France but I have submitted lately and also for my bad chance it only has a limited slots for English sessions.

This conference gather the top quality speakers, some of them I know well, specially for their high activity and professionalization in JCP as we worked together in adopt-a-JSR program. Mani Sarkar, Somay, Hildeberto Mendonca, Arun Gupta, Adam Bien and Martijn Verburg.

I am looking forward to speak at next year Devoxx UK 2014 😉


— Mohamed Taman (@_tamanm) * systems architect * java team leader * MoroccoJUG * Morocco


ImSpeakingAtDevoxxUK4 Being part of Devoxx UK is very important to me. Not every developer works for a company that can afford to send them on expensive overseas or local conferences. And that’s where Devoxx is different, we strongly believe in catering to and the support of the local communities and want to offer a real value for money experience in the heart of London – home to 1000s of developers. Naturally I’m also really excited by the content; it’s one thing to be able to read things in blogs, it’s another to have a dynamic and engaging speaker serve up novel or challenging ideas like a pro at Wimbledon. So make sure you get a ticket and grab a seat in the front row!




— James McGivern (Twitter Id pending!) * mathematician turned programmer, software engineer * London


====>> Vacant space to be filled by you <<<====
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ImSpeakingAtDevoxxUK2
— xxx (@xxxxx) * yyyy zzzzz * ppppp


====>> Vacant space to be filled by you <<<====
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ImSpeakingAtDevoxxUK2
— xxx (@xxxxx) * yyyy zzzzz * ppppp



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