Attended my first Java Users Group (JUG) meeting in Sacramento tonight. My Dad’s attended a computer club meeting in Las Vegas for the last 20 years or so, but I’d never actually gotten around to going to one of these. But given that I feel the need to meet other geeks I decided to check it out plus there was a bit of free food.
The meeting didn’t have an agenda beyond open discussion, so that was a bit worrisome. It appears they’ve had a lot of presentations in the past, but they’ve had a recent drought the last two months. I got a good idea of the cross section of developers and shared a few insights. The majority of the 20 or so people in attendance varied from people new to java to fairly experienced J2EE web developers from what I could tell.
The meeting was actually run by a consultant who spoke off the cuff about a lot of topics and included interestingly enough a java job market update from a local recruiter. Obviously there’s some self interest there, but his basic message of the night was that he had a lot of call recently for EJB experience. His thought was that no one wants to do EJB anymore so the demand for places that still use it is going up. He also explained the realities of experience and resumes for people new to Java. Basically ever since the dotcom days it’s hard to break in until after you have at least a few years of experience.
I brought my 12″ iBook with me and at one point explained to the group that I hadn’t had any issues running Java, Eclipse, IntelliJ IDEA, or JBoss on my Mac running 1.5. Many of them hadn’t seen a lot of Macs even though when I go to conferences these days all the leading edge developers have Powerbooks now. (I actually expect to see a lot of the new Powerbooks announced today with the duo Intel chips in the hands of developers soon.)
Anyway I might just volunteer to run a TDD presentation or a Fitnesse or Cruisecontrol talk since I feel like I should give back a bit to the community. And there’s the concept that eventually my company will have an open position or two and I’d like to have an easier time finding a good candidate. Plus, if I can test infect a few developers so much the better.