In the first of our experimental new monthly series, we’ll be publishing a roundup of some of the biggest events for the tech community happening in May. It’s a rolling submission, so please let us know if you’ve got something going on, and we’ll update. Alternatively, share your announcements in the comments section!
7th May: Graph Connect Europe 2015, London, UK
As the recent announcement that DataStax will be introducing new graphic capabilities shows, graph databases are still very much big news. Head over to etc.venues Bishopsgate and immerse yourself fully in the world of graph databases and applications that make sense of connected data.
9th May: Voxxed Days Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
Info: The first ever VOXXED Days Istanbul event will be kicking off at the Dedeman Hotel, Istanbul. This developer conference will bring together popular speakers, core developers of popular open source technologies and professionals willing to share their knowledge and experiences. The focus will be on Java, web, mobile and JVM languages.
13th-15th May: GeeCon, Krakow, Poland
Info: The Eastern European geekfest returns this spring to Mutlikino Krakow, bringing with it JVM, Java, new dynamic languages as well as their static friends, Scalable System Design, and more.
23rd May: Voxxed Days Algiers, Algiers, Algeria
Info: Taking place in Les Pains maritime – BP 63 F16130 Mohammadia, Alger, Voxxed Days Algiers is billed as a rendezvous for learning, networking and sharing experiences about Java and related technologies, software craftsmanship, technology trends and more.
27th May: jPrime, Sofia, Bulgaria
Info: jPrime is a one day conference with talks on Java, various languages on the JVM, mobile, web and best practices. It takes place in the Sofia Event Center, and is run by the Bulgarian Java User Group.
In this interview, jPrime organiser Ivan St. Ivanov talks diversity, JUG ambitions, and international community support. Self-described “professional conference goer” Ivan is a development architect at SAP Labs Bulgaria and works in the HANA Cloud Platform team. He’s also an active JUG member, co-driving the adoption of OpenJDK in Bulgaria.
Voxxed: What’s your background in organising community events?
Ivanov: Our JUG organises one meeting and sometimes a hackathon every month. However, none of it is at the same scale as an international conference. Some of us have helped with the organisation of the other big event in Sofia – Java2Days, which is held towards the end of each year. But this will be the first time when we are in charge, so we are more than excited
How would you characterise the Bulgarian Java community?
The Bulgarian Java community is a small one, but as the famous saying goes: “You are as big as your dreams.” In the last couple of years we dreamed and achieved a lot. We organize regular seminars with local and foreign speakers. David Blevins from Tomitribe was here in March and we expect the Eclipse platform contributor Simon Scholz in May. Our JUG is one of the most active ones in the Adopt OpenJDK initiative. Most of the VMs used by the adopters from the community were created by our members. We even have a couple of pending contributions to JDK core.
As a University teacher, I would say that the young people in our country have very good background in programming. That is what most of the big companies have also acknowledged and as a result have opened big development offices in Sofia. We are more than happy that five of these companies agreed to help us with jPrime and became our co-organizers.
What to you are the key aspects you take into account of organising an event like this?
As I already mentioned, we haven’t experienced running a conference end-to-end yet. However, from what we learned so far, the most important ingredient is having a motivated team to drive all the operational tasks. I am really happy that five of us are working in full swing so far, all whilst having our daily jobs and families to take care of.
A conference is nothing without audience and we never stopped trying to attract more and more people from our community. Having early a strong set of featured speakers is something that helps a lot. We are much grateful that Heinz, Sven, Gerrit and Attila are coming to Sofia for our event.
We developers don’t love talking about money, but unfortunately they are quite important, so we were looking for sponsors too. Keeping low ticket price and at the same time not sacrificing quality is what we aimed all the time. That is why we were happy that we were backed by our co-organizers since day one.
What do you most enjoy about tech events?
I must say that I am professional conference goer :). I’ve been to most of the big conferences in the last few year, and for some of them I even payed by myself. First of all, I want to stay up to date with the new technologies. Then I want to learn some best practices, so that I can apply them in my daily job and in the open source projects I contribute to. Last but not least, this is the best place where you can meet the experts, hack together something, drink a couple of beers with them and have fun. That is what I want to bring to Bulgaria with jPrime and I am pleased that I was learning from the best in the last few years.
Are you making any special efforts to have a diverse audience and set of speakers?
We were pushing our call for papers campaign around most of the Balkan JUGs (Macedonia, Serbia, Transilvania, Bucuresti, Iasi, Thessaloniki, Ankara) and we already have a couple of submissions from there. We have good liaisons with some of them and we expect them to come as spectators as well. There is a long history of Macedonian community visiting Sofia conferences and our community going to theirs. That is why we expect our good friend Mite to bring his Skopje mates to jPrime.
In Bulgaria you don’t need to spend special efforts to bring women to a tech conference. Looking at the current tickets list, more than 20% are sold to women. The submission percentage is not so appealing, but we do have a couple of proposals coming from female speakers. To prove my words about gender diversity in tech in our region, the other big conference in Sofia (Java2Days) is solely organised by women.
What are the events you find most useful, and why?
I love the community run events – for example, the Devoxx family and JavaLand. If a conference is organised and driven by the community, it does its best to please the community. And the community will do the craziest things to support these type of conferences.