Tuesday, March 25, 2014

How do you explain Java technologies to non-technical audience?

Today I had the interesting challenge of trying to explain various Java buzzwords to people with very little technical knowledge.  Basically, we wanted our talent managers (recruiters) at Quick Solutions to gain a high level understanding of some of the Java technologies they recruit people for.

In prepping for this presentation I put on my "simplification hat" and tried to think of the essence of some of the more popular Java technologies.  I wanted to leave the talent managers with a simple visual picture in their minds, that represented the benefits of each technology.  Then I followed each of those visuals up with a basic architecture diagram that explained how the technology fits into a typical application.  I also gave them sample questions and answers for each technology, all focused on the high-level benefits of each technology (which problems the technology is meant to solve).

At the beginning I also went over some of the reasons I love being a consultant, and how to use those to attract talent.  I basically walked through the bullet-points in this blog post.

The general feedback I got was that they were able to follow along and they found the information very helpful.  I suspect though I may have lost a few of them near the end, when I got onto design patterns :)

Below are some of the more visual slides from my presentation.  The full slide deck is available on Slideshare.

What do you think?  Did I pick the right visuals?  Could I have made it even simpler?

Friday, January 10, 2014

CodeMash 2014

CodeMash 2014 is winding down and as usual the conference was a blast! Lots of greats talks, lots of fun activities, and last but not least good time to be had in the waterpark! Outside of the talks they had activities such as lock picking, jam sessions, early morning 5K run, astronomy, 3D printing, game rooms, open spaces, lightning talks, kids fun at KidsMash, a StarTrek simulator, various parties, bacon bar, and on and on. This was my 4th year attending the conference and it is without a doubt my favorite developer conference. Hats off to the organizers!

This year I was fortunate enough to not only deliver one, but two talks at the conference. On Thursday I gave a talk on Web Service testing and Friday I did one on Kanban. The first talk went sort of ok.  I was very nervous, felt I stuttered too much through the material and didn't feel very sharp in my thoughts, so I didn't feel super good afterwards. I had a talk with Leon Gersing in the evening and he gave me some great pointers on delivering presentations and dealing with nerves. I went ahead and rehearsed my second talk several times in the evening and then delivered it the following morning and felt way more relaxed, sharp in my thoughts and quite enjoyed giving the talk. So thanks, Leon, for the tips! Now I am waiting for my family to join me at Kalahari, so we can hit the waterpark tonight and tomorrow.

The slide decks from my talks are available on Slideshare:


The slides have also been uploaded to the conference GitHub.