How joining Java Community shaped my year so far

Neha Sardana
4 min readNov 25, 2020
This picture is taken near Helsingør, Denmark

The year 2020 is unforgettable for many reasons but it turned out to be the best year for me as a Java Developer. Like many of us, I am a fan of making new year resolutions. This year, my new year resolution list also included making at least one contribution to Open Source Software. Little did I know, how it will really shape my year ahead.

It all started with an internal online meeting we had at my company where we were introduced to the three Java Champions, Donald Raab, Chandra Guntur and Nikhil Nanivadekar. The topic of the talk was “How to become a Java Champion”.

For reference, A Java Champion is a leader and visionary in the Java technology community. Java Champions are nominated by one or more Java Champions and must be voted in by at least three Java Champions.

The meeting was online and it went really great. I even asked a question just so that I can just get to talk to these legends. After that meeting, I did some research on them and found their many blogs and the amazing work that they were doing. I always like reading technical blogs and I was curious about writing code for Open Source Software so it was a great opportunity for me.

I invited two of them to our office to meet with the team and we had an amazing 4 hour discussion on how to contribute to OSS and best practices of using Java and so many things. I was super excited and thrilled to have met them! They are my heroes and I felt so intimidated just talking to them. They could see that I was shy and immediately made me feel so comfortable.

My learnings from the Java Champions:-

Join your local area Java User Groups and network with the fellow developers

I joined NYJavaSig as my starting point. I live in New Jersey and work in Midtown so after office I could attend the MeetUps. I joined NYJavaSig which is one of the largest Java community group in New York. I attended my first talk on Comparing benchmark performances by JDK by Chandra Guntur. After attending my first talk, I met with the organisers and I could see I was already infected by their level of excitement and love for technology.

Join Twitter and follow technology advocates

This was a surprise considering I was on twitter but I hardly used it for almost 3 years. I had like 0 followers because I was an inactive user. I decided to give it a try. I followed the Java Champions and started reading the contents they were sharing. This was so good because I don’t have to google anything but I was regularly reading what is happening in the tech world and I would know by just reading the amazing content shared by Tech advocates around the world. I also got to join so many free conferences because of the twitter updates. I also won free tickets to a paid conference to attend.

Contribute to Open Source Software

We work on OSS libraries everyday in our code base and it is the work of those people who are passionate about technology and want to make a better software. It is a noble work and I had it on my New Year resolution for years but I had difficulty on how and where to begin. After joining the Java Community Meetups and conferences, it really gave me that confidence where I could see myself being able to select a project where I wanted to contribute and pick up an issue I feel I can solve. The rest just happened automatically. I always had help from other developers so I was never stuck. I felt so connected and happy. My first contribution was accepted by Eclipse Collections here.

Be a Social Developer

It is very important to be a Social Developer. Writing OSS is good but it is equally good to write about what you did. If you let the world know about your contribution and your journey, it can significantly help others to follow the path and be a better developer which is what this blog intends to do.

If you still need help, read these blogs below which really helped me out:-

Lastly, Happy Coding and Happy Learning!

I am a software developer, traveller, blogger, yogi and cricket lover. If you like any of these topics, here is my twitter link @nehasardana09 to follow.