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It was a bit of a MaM fest yesterday.

We had our pilot event at 9:00 in Queen Mary, University of London as part of their Computer Science course. I then gave a 7 minute lightning talk on the Meet a Mentor program which should be showing here at some point soon.

It was a great pilot event. Exactly as I had imagined it, which in itself is a surprise given the amount of things that could have gone wrong. We had about 50 students spread between 6 groups over two rooms, 10 mentors turned up on the day and it was an extremely interesting and rewarding event. We all got a lot of positive feedback from those in attendance and hope that we have helped plant a few seeds for the students that attended to start their own research.

We were asked many things from advice on CVs and Interviews to what positions existed in the industry and even how to get funding and staff for a startup project. It was great to see a good range of questions. I was personally surprised at how many people weren’t looking for a programming position also the general pessimism of the job market.

I’m going to try to take every question that was asked and add blog posts about them periodically at Developer Careers.

We have our next event this evening: http://www.meetup.com/grad-dc/events/55086762/

Thanks,
Barry

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Hi All,

Last night, we had a great event at Kings College London  – http://www.meetup.com/grad-dc/events/43860072/ – where about 40 undergraduates got a chance to revisit their youth and play with Lego, building pet animals to learn some of the principles of Agile. The results were somewhat varied… some of the animals came out looking beautiful, well constructed and polished, some of the others certainly wouldn’t have won any prizes – you all know who you are 😉

It was a great event, there was a fantastic turn out and a lot of buzz in the room throughout and most importantly everyone got to understand some of the core principles of Agile.

As I mentioned when I opened the event, getting involved in events like this is crucial for your development. The general feeling on the market is that graduates do not finish university ‘ready’ to enter the market. Events like last night help to prepare you for some of the principles and technologies that you are going to come across when you hit the real world. Talent development is not just about getting a job it’s about getting 4-5 job offers and being able to select the right job and package for you. Our next event is happening tomorrow night at Queen Mary University and will be far more focused around coding itself. I can not recommend it highly enough. We have 50 senior developers signed up and just 6 graduates at this point, sign up here for a chance to meet some of the brightest minds in the industry and find out about Dependency Injection Frameworks.

We are always looking for new volunteers so if anyone is interested in getting more involved the get in touch directly to discuss how you could help: bc@recworks.co.uk

Here is the event page and the GDC twitter tag: @GDCldn I am really keen to get as much feedback as possible to pass on to everyone involved to ensure we can have similar events in the future.

At RecWorks we are proud to have been able to organise another event for the GDC. RecWorks is a specialist consultancy blending social networks and recruitment services to provide first class service to candidates and clients across London. We are involved in the GDC to try to help connect you with advice, guidance, internships and job opportunities. For a list of our latest jobs please see our jobs page here: http://recworks.co.uk/jobs contact me directly on bc@recworks.co.uk or follow us on twitter @recworks

We were incredibly lucky to have ThoughtWorks with us, one of the premier global technical consultancies to assist with the event. Katie was able to organise for 8 of their consultants to help out at the event. ThoughtWorks are always looking for the most talented graduates, you can follow them here: http://twitter.com/#!/TWEuropeGrads

Finally a massive thank you to Steffen, Emily and Fatos for organising and co-ordinating the use of the venue. It was a great location and room and we hope to organise many more in the future.

See you all at the next one!
Barry

The Graduate Developer Community’s next free event is – ‘Lego XP Game: King’s College London’ on Monday 6th February at 6pm.

Please see link for details and to sign up – http://bit.ly/yx3sZy

ThoughtWorks will be running a hands-on game – using lego to simulate software delivery – giving you an insight to the working dynamics of an Agile development team.

The session is aimed at beginners to Agile as well as those with experience of Agile and XP. You will gain a useful understanding of the processes (XP iterations, feedback, customer involvement, stories) and some of the real world challenges frequently faced in adopting Agile.

No programming experience is required – the session is strongly recommended for anyone considering a career in software development regardless of what role you are interested in.

Thoughtworks are a leading international consultancy, well known throughout the industry for being at the cutting edge of technology and development practices. The Lego game is widely used by ThoughtWorkers to demonstrate practices to clients as well as internally for training.

You can find out more about ThoughtWorks by visiting us online and following us on twitter @TWEuropeGrads

Please see link for details and to sign up – http://bit.ly/yx3sZy

Hi All,

This week we had our Developer Session social event – http://www.meetup.com/Londonjavacommunity/events/38847402/.
The event ran from 6.30 till 10.00 and went really well – the free food and drinks were very welcome indeed so thanks to Atlassian for that.

Here is the event page – Some great feedback already, but if you have something else to say then please add it as a comment here – http://www.meetup.com/Londonjavacommunity/events/38847402/

As always, it was a very successful evening with a lot of fun had by all. The Developer Sessions are a great chance for socialising and networking – developers from all over London come to discuss the latest cutting edge techs, talk about personal projects and problems they are facing.

Also thanks to all of our greeters, they really did help ensure the night went by smoothly. There is a constant opportunity to take part in these events so do please let us know if you would like to be involved next time.

A special thanks goes out to everyone that made it out the other night. We are one of the most active Java User Groups in Europe and we’re keen to stay that way, so if you have any feedback at all please let Martijn or myself know.

Finally, here at RecWorks, we are working with many of the best companies in London who are looking for Java developers. If you’re not happy in your current role then feel free to give us a call/email for an informal chat. We are far more interested in building long-term relationships than one off placements, but if you do feel you need a change then we would be happy to help. Please check out www.recworks.co.uk/jobs for the latest additions.

See you next time.

Packt Publishing are a unique publishing company specializing in highly focused books on specific technologies and solutions – please visit their site to find out more about them: http://www.packtpub.com/

Each month we run a promotion with Packt in which GDC members will be selected at random to receive free books. This month we are offering 2 LJC members the chance to win;

First Prize Winner will receive 1 print copy of his/her choice
Runner Up Winner – 1 ecopy of his/her choice

Here are the books on offer this month, the winner will be picked at random and announced at the end of the month:

Irrlicht 1.7 Realtime 3D Engine Beginner’s Guide

Railo 3 Beginner’s Guide

Moodle 2.0 Course Conversion Beginner’s Guide

Ext JS 4 First Look

Moodle 2 for Teaching 4-9 Year Olds Beginner’s Guide

Moodle 2 Administration

To take part in the promotion all you have to do is send an email to me at bc@recworks.co.uk with your name, your book choice and the address you would like your book to be sent. Please mark ‘GDC Packt Publishing’ as the subject title.

Congratulations to Aaron J. Lang and Daniel Watkins who have both won a prize in December’s draw!

Please visit the Packt site at www.packtpub.com

Good luck,

Barry Cranford

The Graduate Developer Community’s next free event is ‘December’s Code Share: Java Puzzlers’ on Wednesday 7th December at 6:30pm.

Please see link for details and to sign up – http://www.meetup.com/grad-dc/events/41237242/

Java Puzzlers

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy

William Shakespeare’s Hamlet http://www.online-literature.com/shakespeare/hamlet/6/ The year is coming to and end and there’s a last day of term feel to the last code share of 2011.  We’re going to solve some puzzles.  It’s going to make a nice change Joshua Bloch and Neal Gafter have gathered together a good collection in their book Java Pluzzlers http://www.javapuzzlers.com/

These behaviors are known as  traps, pitfalls,  and corner cases. Every platform has them, but Java has far fewer than other platforms of comparable power. The goal of the book is to entertain you with puzzles while teaching you to avoid the underlying traps and pitfalls. By working through the puzzles, you will become less likely to fall prey to these dangers in your code and more likely to spot them in code that you are reviewing or revising.

Joshua Bloch’s and Neal Gafter’s A Java Puzzlers Samplerhttp://www.javapuzzlers.com/java-puzzlers-sampler.pdf Does every language have them?  It would be interesting to see some from languages other than java.   The puzzles seem like the black holes of software, the places where the normal laws break down.  This isn’t true, the laws are behaving exactly as they should but interacting in unexpected ways.  That’s why studying these puzzlers is such a useful exercise: it forces to look at what is really happening, to see the rules for what they really are. They also remind us of Spolsky’s Law of Leaky Abstractions.

All non-trivial abstractions, to some degree, are leaky. Abstractions fail. Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. There’s leakage. Things go wrong. It happens all over the place when you have abstractions.

Joel Spolsky’s Law of Leaky Abstractions  http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/LeakyAbstractions.htmlComputer programming is all about building abstractions, code is just a lie we tell ourselves because we cannot cope with complex reality of engines we tend.  There is nothing wrong with that as long as we don’t start believing them.

A lot of computer programming consists of building abstractions. What is a string library? It’s a way to pretend that computers can manipulate strings just as easily as they can manipulate numbers. What is a file system? It’s a way to pretend that a hard drive isn’t really a bunch of spinning magnetic platters that can store bits at certain locations, but rather a hierarchical system of folders-within-folders containing individual files that in turn consist of one or more strings of bytes.

idid Looking at these puzzles reminds us that there is more going on than our simplified philosophical abstractions allow for.  In these puzzles the consequences are obvious, they results jump out and confound us.  In our day to day code those consequences are hard to see.  They may result in code that performs poorly.  They may confound only a fraction of ours users under unusual circumstances.  Regardless, their are always consequences and it does us good to be reminded of them. Also, it’s fun to do puzzles.

Challenge: Language Quirks

Thanks to Peter Lawrey of Vanilla Java for the following challenge.

Give all the types and values for which `x` make this an infinite loop.  There are 16 answers!

while(x == -x);

Here is another one, this time with 3 answers.

while(x != x + 0);

Please bring along your answers, or any other example of a language behaving strangely.

What’s Going To Happen?

On Monday 5th December, a couple of days before the share, we’ll send out an email to everybody who has signed up.  If you have any code to contribute please send it in a reply to that email.

On Wednesday 7th December, the Code Share itself, we will all have a couple of short presentations.  This will be followed by breaking out into groups to try and predict the behaviour of the code.  Will we be able to successfully predict the outcome?  The puzzles will be printed, so you won’t have to bring a laptop. Afterwards we will come back together as a group to discuss what we have learned.

After the event we will be heading to the Half Moon, 213-223 Mile End Road, Mile End, Greater London, E1 4AA – http://www.jdwetherspoon.co.uk/home/pubs/th… – for drinks/networking.

ThoughtWorks are delighted to be sponsors of the December Code Share!

This event is hosted in collaboration with the London Java Community. We expect many programmers across the range from junior to experienced to be participating, so it’s a great chance to see how code is viewed by an experienced programmer.

The Graduate Developer Community’s next free event is
‘Lego XP Game: Queen Mary University’ on Tuesday 22nd
November at 6pm.

Please see link for details and to sign up – http://www.meetup.com/grad-dc/events/40795692/

Thoughtworks will be running a hands-on game – using lego to simulate software delivery – giving you an insight to the working dynamics of an Agile development team.

The session is aimed at beginners to Agile as well as those with experience of Agile and XP. You will gain a useful understanding of the processes (XP iterations, feedback, customer involvement, stories) and some of the real world challenges frequently faced in adopting Agile.

No programming experience is required – the session is strongly recommended for anyone considering a career in software development regardless of what role you are interested in.

Thoughtworks are a leading international consultancy, well known throughout the industry for being at the cutting edge of technology and development practices. The Lego game is widely used by ThoughtWorkers to demonstrate practices to clients as well as internally for training.

You can find out more about ThoughtWorks by visiting us online and following us on twitter @TWEuropeGrads

Please see link for details and to sign up –

http://bit.ly/taiDw4

Packt Publishing are a unique publishing company specializing in highly focused books on specific technologies and solutions – please visit their site to find out more about them: http://www.packtpub.com/

Each month we run a promotion with Packt in which GDC members will be selected at random to receive free books. This month we are offering 2 LJC members the chance to win;

First Prize Winner will receive 1 print copy of his/her choice
Runner Up Winner – 1 ecopy of his/her choice

Here are the books on offer this month, the winner will be picked at random and announced at the end of the month:

Pentaho Data Integration 4 Cookbook
Moodle 2.0 E-Learning Course Development
jQuery Mobile First Look
jQuery UI Themes Beginner’s Guide
jQuery UI 1.8: The User Interface Library for jQuery

To take part in the promotion all you have to do is send an email to me at b.cranford@clearview-itrs.co.uk with your name, your book choice and the address you would like your book to be sent. Please mark ‘GDC Packt Publishing’ as the subject title.

Congratulations to the winners of our August draw – Tomasz Ziolkowski and Sachin Patel!

Please visit the Packt site at www.packtpub.com

Good luck,

Barry Cranford

The Graduate Developer Community’s next free event is – The Code Share event on Thursday 25th August at 6pm.

Please see link for details and to sign up – http://bit.ly/pihAQA

We are happy to announce the Code Share for August.  It is the first in a series of events focusing simply on the code.  Not writing code, not code tools, but looking at the code itself.

The event is for anybody who cares about the code.  You may be a beginner, looking to improve.  You might be a grizzled old hacker who want to show how it’s done.  We all have something to give and plenty to gain.

We will be reading code rather than writing it.  Anybody who has something to share should just bring it along for everybody to see.

Is it an elegant solution you’re proud of?  Let us all see it.

Are you facing a particularly knotty problem?  Perhaps we can help.

Are you nervous about the code you are submitting for job applications?  Get some positive feedback (and perhaps a little constructive criticism).

Do you have some have some other thoughts or ideas?  If it’s about the code then we want to hear about it.

The format is open, driven by what people want to share.  To help things along we will have a theme and a challenge.  This month the theme is “achieving flow” and the challenge is “pulling tables out of a Word document.”

Achieving Flow

Coding is all about achieving flow.  When programming we have to get ourselves into the zone.  We have to reach a state of flow where we can hold all of the objects, variables and statements can pour out of our heads, through our fingers and into the editor.

The code we produce also needs to flow through so many forms and states.  At one moment a person may be represented by a screen of fields.  Then as a set of key-value pairs held in memory or as url-encoded text.   Then as an XML document traversing an ESB finally to be bottled for weeks or months in the tables of a relational database.  The person is always there, but the forms and representations are in a constant state of flux.

In our code sharing meet up we want to get to the heart of what programming is all about.  We need to achieve flow to create code.  Code is created to achieve flow.  The moments when it all flows freely are the moments we are always seeking.

How do you achieve flow?  Do you have some code that flows nicely?  What impedes the flow?

Let’s get together and let the sharing flow.

The Coding Challange: Pulling Tables from a Word Document

The challange for this month is Pulling Tables from a Word Document.

Imagine that you have lots of Word documents and those documents contain lots of tables.  Write some code to pull the data out of those tables and make them available for your code.

You can save the document in any format provided by Word: .DOC, .RTF, .HTML or any other format that Word will save.

Please see link for details and to sign up – http://bit.ly/pihAQA

Packt Publishing are a unique publishing company specializing in highly focused books on specific technologies and solutions – please visit their site to find out more about them: http://www.packtpub.com/

Each month we run a promotion with Packt in which GDC members will be selected at random to receive free books. This month we are offering 2 LJC members the chance to win;

First Prize Winner will receive 1 print copy of his/her choice
Runner Up Winner – 1 ecopy of his/her choice

Here are the books on offer this month, the winner will be picked at random and announced at the end of the month:

Pentaho Data Integration 4 Cookbook
Moodle 2.0 Multimedia Cookbook
jQuery Mobile First Look
jQuery UI Themes Beginner’s Guide 
 
To take part in the promotion all you have to do is send an email to me at b.cranford@clearview-itrs.co.uk with your name, your book choice and the address you would like your book to be sent. Please mark ‘GDC Packt Publishing’ as the subject title.

Congratulations to the winners of our July draw – Alex and Nick!

Please visit the Packt site at www.packtpub.com

Good luck,

Barry Cranford

What is the GDC?

The GDC, or Graduate Development Community is an independent community of undergraduate software developers. Our goal is to bridge the gap between the worlds of Academia and Business. We organise and host presentations and events with senior members of the development community as well as offering advice, guidance, internships and jobs through our community site.