JAX speaker interviews

Trisha Gee on the differences between London and Seville’s Java Communities

Coman Hamilton

JAXLondon presenter Trisha Gee speaks to JAXenter before her session in London next month. Trish is a key member of the London Java Community and is currently working for Mongo DB Inc.

Trisha Gee spoke to JAXenter ahead of her session at JAXLondon next month. Trisha is an expert on Java high performance systems and has developed Java applications for a range of industries including finance, manufacturinng and non-profit, for companies of all sizes.

She is currently working in an Open Source fashion as a developer for Mongo DB Inc, where she contributes to the Java driver and Morphia. Trish is a key member of the London Java Community so be sure to catch her session at JAXLondon on Rapid Web Application Development on the 14th of October.

JAXenter: What is it that you’re going to be talking about at the JAX?

TG: I’m going to be giving a live demo of how to build a web app using an AngularJS/Java/MongoDB stack – I’ll be creating an app from nothing to fully functional live in the session! The presentation also features guest appearances by Groovy and Spock, and if you’ll probably learn some new tricks for using IntelliJ IDEA.

You work for MongoDB – What is it that drew you to the company?

It wasn’t just a single thing, of course. But some of the factors that made it appealing to me were:

a) It’s a technology product company and I hadn’t worked for one of those before

b) I liked the attitude of senior management, they really believe MongoDB can change the way we work – as developers, and as organisation – since it allows you to do things that are hard or impossible using traditional relational databases.

c) Since the product (both the server and the driver that I work on) are open source (and free), there’s a big focus on the developer community, which I wanted to be very involved in.

You’ve lived both in Seville and in London – would you say there are different approaches to Java in both places?

Yes, but there aren’t as many differences as I thought. London has a LOT of Java developers, companies from the very big & very well known down to tiny start ups are using Java and JVM technologies. In Seville, the technology scene is less driven by the big financial organisations, and less career-focussed. In Seville, it’s easier to meet as cross-platform and cross-domain groups – at user group events we hear from a diverse group of developers using different languages and working for different types of organisations.  Of course, this diversity exists in London, but the scene is so massive there that one tends to attend events aimed more specifically at you (because you can’t attend everything), and meet people who work with your technology in your domain.

I’m often told by people from Seville that there’s no drive to learn new things, no jobs in interesting technology areas, no call for user groups, but I’ve found this to be completely incorrect.  We might have fewer book authors, professional speakers, Java platform developers and community leaders living here, but, like in London, many every day developers want to improve their skills, become better developers, and learn about trends before they’re forced to use them at work.

I think there’s less of a focus on recruitment and switching jobs in Seville. Maybe it’s because the economy here does not support the number of job vacancies that are available in London, or maybe it’s because in London we just got used to this idea that if we’re unhappy at work we can just jump ship, but in Seville people seem to be less focussed on the “what do I need to learn to get the next job?” and more focussed on “what’s interesting to me?”. Given that I personally have followed the first line of questioning, I find the second line a different, and interesting, approach.

Are you looking forward to Java 9? Why (not)?

I haven’t really thought about it!  I was very interested in how Java 8 would affect my work on the Java driver for MongoDB, as lambdas/streams and the new date/time API could potentially have a direct impact on our work.  But given that we have to support Java 6 and onwards still, I can’t get too excited about features I’m not able to use yet.  But I am working toward testing against Java 9 early releases in our Continuous Integration environments – we don’t know what environments people are going to run the Java driver in, we need to support all options.

What kind of problems do you see facing big data analysis in the years to come?

I never like to make predictions about the future! I think as big data because the new normal, as we create tools, libraries and approaches that work for it, I’m sure something quite different to the problems we have now will surface.

What’s your favourite kind of music to listen to while coding (if any)?

I have a “non-lyrical” playlist for serious coding, I find anything with vocals in distracts me when I’m really trying to concentrate.  This means that I have a random mix of classical, movie soundtracks and miscellaneous dance in that list – I might have the Pirates of the Caribbean theme followed by Swedish House Mafia or Pendulum. It could be quite jarring but I like the variation.

Any advice for young, budding Java developers out there?

Join a user group – even if the talks or events don’t seem relevant to your interests or career, you will meet people who will change your life forever.  I wouldn’t be doing ANY of the stuff I do now if I wasn’t for the London Java Community – presenting, working at MongoDB, and living in Spain.  And talk to people – don’t let society fool you into thinking techies are supposed to communicate only with computers.  We’re humans and we need human interaction to learn and grow. Say hi to the person next to you at the bar, introduce yourself to a group hanging around after the main presentation. Don’t be afraid.

Related articles: Guest post: My year in Java

Coman Hamilton
Coman was Editor of at S&S Media Group. He has a master's degree in cultural studies and has written and edited content for numerous news, tech and culture websites and magazines, as well as several ad agencies.

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