You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2010.

Several months ago we started running events at a bar in Soho. During the first event I met several people looking for advice on how to get a job in finance and what the industry was like….  I also met a few undergraduates looking for advice on what the software industry was like…. I realized shortly after that we have a huge community (currently 1350 between the two groups) and a great opportunity within our community to connect people and launched the free Community Connections service.

What is the service?

A free service in which we introduce people to others with similar interests or those that can help in a particular area. If there is anything you would be interested to speak to a specialist about or you’re looking to meet others with a similar interest let me know and I’ll try to find someone in the network that I can introduce you to. PLEASE NOTE this is NOT a recruitment effort, moreover a chance to meet a mentor or specialist that may be able to offer support/guidance in a particular area.

Previous introductions have been in these areas: 

  • Coding problems around a specific technology
  • Members that had Recently graduated and looking for a mentor to give you industry advice
  • Want to find out how to break into finance or contracting
  • Interested to try a new language and want someone to suggest some good resources
  • Career / CV / Recruitment advice
  • Looking for developers to help with your open source project OR looking for an open source project and want advice on one to join
  • Started interviewing people but want to discuss some new techniques
  • Just new to London and want to meet some people with similar interests


How does it work? What happens next?

It’s informal, free and ad hoc. If there is something that you would like to find out about or someone you would like to meet then let me know just send me an e-mail with ‘Introduction’ in the subject title and I will endeavor to make an introduction. If I can help I’ll send an email to introduce you both.

We recommend that you arrange to meet at the monthly social event (3rd Tuesday of every month) during which we attract 50-80 people within a social, friendly atmosphere.

DISCLAIMER: As this is a free service it’s something I can’t guarantee but where possible I’ll do what I can to connect you with people that can help.

Why do it? Why is it free? What’s the catch?

Ultimately we are a community and I am interested in bringing everyone together as much as possible. Hopefully if I am able to help you meet someone that can offer help and guidance and in the future you are looking for a position or come across someone else that is looking, you will consider contacting me. But I stress this is not a prerequisite of the introduction.

Here is some feedback from connections in the past.
Past Feedback:

“It was very nice, I was looking for firsthand experience and I got it. Basically his suggestions were what I was suspecting but it is good to have a confirmation from a person working on it. Anyway he suggested to collaborate in a finance open-source project what I have not thought before and I think it is very good experience.”

“I’d say both the introductions were a success – they both had a lot to say about Agile techniques and a lot of experience to share. I definitely found it much more constructive having meetings organized”

Those of you that are members of the LJC and have been with us for more than 6 months may remember that in November we had a large mailing list chat titled “passion, passion, passion” about inspiring passion for development, specifically within undergraduates. I thought I would give you a follow up on how this idea has progressed….

(As a reminder, here is a quote from the initial email):

[i]“I want to find ways to ignite passion into more graduates. From research I have conducted – people have said they feel that many grads don’t finish their degrees with a true passion for development and I’m interested to find ways to address this.”[/i]

We received a lot of suggestions from the email which gave me food for thought. A few weeks later we had our first London Java Unconference, during which I held a small discussion group to cover the subject of passion within undergraduates and we discussed several of the points raised from the email. A few people within the group stood out as sharing my enthusiasm for creating sparks of passion within graduates. Open Source Software was one of the recurring themes from both the emails and the discussion so we started to think about how we could get undergraduates more involved. After much discussion a small group of us decided to organize a full day event to give undergraduates an introduction to Open Source Software by getting them to work on real projects with actual committers. 

After months of planning, last Saturday we held the ‘Graduate Open Source Jumpstart London 2010’ and the results and following feedback have been extraordinary.

We had 9 projects in total, with 35 graduates attending from across the country as far as Edinburgh. If you are interested to read more about the event then please read the following post written by one of the undergraduates that attended the event:

We are exceptionally grateful to all the mentors that came along (many of them members of the LJC) and everyone that helped out on the day. A special mention must also go to Zoe Slattery, Ben Evans, Martijn Verburg & Mark Hindness who worked tirelessly to make this event a possibility.

If you are interested in becoming more involved in the graduate development community either as an OSS project committer, a mentor or in any other capacity then let me know. We are also constantly looking for new ideas so if there’s something you think of then get in touch.

Barry Cranford


Packt Publishing are a unique publishing company specializing in highly focused books on specific technologies and solutions.

Each month we run a promotion with them in which TWO LJC members will be selected at random to receive a free book. Each month we will send you a list of 10 books. To take part in the promotion all you have to do is send an email to me at with your name, your book choice and the address you would like your book to be sent. Please mark ‘Packt Publishing’ as the subject title.

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

Tomcat 6 Developer’s Guide
Apache Roller 4.0 – Beginner’s Guide
Spring Web Flow 2 Web Development
JBoss Tools 3 Developers Guide
Blogger: Beyond the Basics
Seam 2.x Web Development
LWUIT 1.1 for Java ME Developers
SOA Cookbook
Oracle Modernization Solutions
Flex 3 with Java

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

Good luck,

Barry Cranford

Congratulations to the LJC members, speakers, Barry and the leadership team on your great achievement!

It’s a real pleasure helping organise the LJC events to provide learning opportunitie for the community.

To celebrate your success, we would like to highlight some special events to support your ongoing quest for skills and
innovation on topics featured at LJC events in the past 2.5 years.

Please click on the course title for more information!

Tapestry 5: Web Development Workshop
Howard Lewis Ship, creator of Tapestry, will fly over from the US to give his 3-day Tapestry Web Development Workshop on April 14-16th.

Simon Brown’s Software Architecture for Developers Workshop
On April 19-20th, Simon Brown is flying over from Jersey to teach his Software Architecture for Developers Workshop.  If you’re
an experienced architect, this is the course for you.

Groovy & Grails Workshop
Graeme Rocher, creator of Grails, is travelling from Spain to give his 3-day Groovy & Grails Workshop on April 28-30th.  So if you want
to learn how to develop dynamic Web Apps with Groovy & Grails, this is your chance!

Neil Bartlette’s OSGi Workshop
In anticipation of some interesting OSGi related talks scheduled with the LJC, we also thought you may be interested in Neil Bartlett’s OSGi
course scheduled for May 11-14th.

Udi Dahan’s Advanced Distributed System Design with SOA course
If you enjoy deep architectual discussion or if you’re in charge of building a large-scale distributed system or if you’d like to know
more about how the big guys (eg Amazon, Ebay, Sun) run their systems, you’ll enjoy this intensive workshop with Udi on May 24-28th.

DDD Immersion Workshop
On June 7-10th, Gojko Adzic is teaching our DDD Immersion class, featuring a guest appearance by Eric Evans, the man
behind DDD.  This workshop comes with a free ticket to the DDD eXchange on June 11th.

Special LJC Community Offer
To thank the LJC community for so many exciting talks and topics and to celebrate the 1,000th member milestone, Skills Matter would like to offer every member of the LJC community a Special 20% Discount on their next course with Skills Matter, if booked before April 16th.

Simply quoting promo code SM1556-623342-EM1

Please note this offer is not valid in conjunction with any other offers.
Also note this offer is only valid to bookings made after April 6th and before April 16th.

Once again, congratulations and we look forward to supporting the LJC community to make your events a even greater success!

The Skills Matter Team

What is the LJC

The London Java Community (LJC) is a group of Java Enthusiasts who are interested in benefiting from shared knowledge in the industry. Through our forum and regular meetings you can keep in touch with the latest industry developments, learn new Java (& other JVM) technologies, meet other developers, discuss technical/non technical issues and network further throughout the Java Community.