Java.net ran a poll asking how many people attend local Java Users Group meetings. The poll shows that more than half of Java developers never attend local JUGs. Why? I see two reasons of why you do not attend your local JUG:
1. You are lazy. Yes, that simple.
2. You are doing programming (Java in this case) not because you like it, but just to make a living.
I do not have a problem with people from the second category. Say, you are an artist, musician or are an English literature major. These are all very respected and interesting professions but they can “t pay your bills, so you are a 9-5 programmer, and at 5:01PM you just erase from your memory everything that has happened during the last eight hours, because now you have time to do what you really enjoy.
But just being a lazy coach potato is no excuse. You think, “Job market is good, why bother? rdquo; Enjoy your life hellip;in front of a TV set. Networking with other people? Nay, life is good, the sky is blue and the grass is green.
And then one day the situation changes and these people start looking for a job, just to find out that their skills are rusty. They immediately start complaining about outsourcing and how India is taking their jobs. No my friend, do not blame India. Look in the mirror. By the way, about half of the people who attend our JUG ‘s meetings are originally from India.
Two years ago I started the Princeton JUG and its membership grew from 20 to 200 people. Typically, if a regular member makes a presentation, about 20 people show up. If the presenter is a published author, attendance doubles. Just doubles. We have a great sponsor (thank you, Infragistics!) that gives us a large auditorium, projector, and provides pizza. I always have giveaways for the attendees – free books, t-shirts, software licenses (thank you, various book publishers, Sun Microsystems and JetBrains). But even though more than half of our presenters are published authors and very experienced Java professionals, it “s not easy to impress people living in New Jersey. The only way for me to have a hundred people in the room is to invite Britney Spears, Paris Hilton or the like.
But I don ‘t complain. By attending our JUG meetings I learn something new, and what “s most important, I meet with people of the same caste called Java.