Java Solutions Community Day
On July 2, 2015 iQuest hosted its first edition of the Java Solutions Community Day. The main goal was for this to be an event dedicated to the developers in the internal Java Solutions team, an opportunity for every colleague to contribute to and benefit from technical knowledge sharing, to get together from all 5 different iQuest locations and of course, to have some tech fun.
The agenda for the Java track was a mix of technical presentations / workshops and interactive activities that combined technical skills and abilities with pure fun. We had a presentation on containers and a hands-on workshop on Docker, a live demo of how JRebel is used in some of our projects to increase efficiency and a very challenging Java programming contest with a tiebreaker at the end. Winning was no easy job and technical knowledge, team player abilities and communication skills were all equally important factors.
As ranked by the participants, the true highlight of the day was definitely our so-called “Game of Architectures”. This was a team-based game, in which each team had to design a different kind of architecture flavor for the same social media application. Designing an architecture is dead serious business, so where was the fun you ask? Well, let’s just say that some of our requirements were: the least user-friendly, the least performant, the most over-engineered, among other similar architecture flavors. 🙂 Every team had 5 minutes to present their solution, but no one was really checking the clock anymore. FAT16 file systems, custom bird-shaped hardware devices, newly invented design principles (like the “no responsibility principle”) are just a few of the things that were part of the mix. We couldn’t have picked a winner if we wanted to, because all the teams were simply brilliant at this game.
We collected anonymous feedback after the event, here is what some of our colleagues thought:
“It was a great idea to bring all of us together to get the chance to know each other in a context other than work, but still related to the technology we use, Java. The demos were very good as they exposed us to the practical aspects of tools that some of us didn’t get the chance to use. I really enjoyed both contests due to the fact that we had to work in teams with people that we didn’t know and find out new ideas. The mix between presentations, demos and activities in which we had to do something of our own was great as we didn’t have time to get bored. All in all it was a great day.”
“[I liked] the balance of presentations and fun, it kept things interesting. The fact that we were all together and that we had to work in a team to produce something fun. The relaxation at the end, after the event where you would just sit back and talk, drink a beer and relax.”
“[I liked] the gifts, the presentations, the atmosphere and the programming contest.”
“I got to meet people from other iQuest locations with whom I am working on a daily basis. It was a lot of fun and I learned new things.”
While the Java Community Day was in full swing, in an adjacent room, the web development team was having fun in a similar fashion. Although the activities were slightly different, the schedule mostly overlapped and allowed for networking.
In the case of the web development team, the most appreciated activity was the programming competition. Here, team members split into 4 teams and took part in a race to prove who was best at solving both algorithmic challenges and riddles. The competition lasted for 2 hours and in the end the team with the least members pulled ahead by a large margin, by solving lots of hard problems.
The overall feedback received from the web developers was also very positive.
One thing is clear here: we’ll do it again soon!
So what do you think about our Java Solutions Community Day? Do you have similar events at your company? What other fun and exciting activities would you add to the mix?