August 14, 2019 - Blog

Version 1 Careers: Let’s Talk about Java

Version 1

In our latest Careers Blog we chat about all things Java with three members of our Digital and Cloud Solutions practices, Mario Linares, Donagh Noone and Tom Heade, to see what it takes to become a Java pro at Version 1.

Java & Programming Careers at Version 1

As an IT consultancy, Version 1 provides best-in-class technology solutions to our clients, with our talented people often working on-site with these customers. This provides our practices with invaluable, hands-on experience in cutting-edge technologies, and also gives them the opportunity to innovate legacy solutions too.

Java, in particular, has been a key technology throughout our company history. Our Java Practice has been responsible for delivering some of the largest eGovernment systems and business critical solutions to the utilities and financial services sectors across a wide range of platforms, operating systems, open source components and databases.

We sat down with three members of our Digital and Cloud Solutions practices, Mario Linares, Donagh Noone and Tom Heade, to discuss all things Java at Version 1. Mario, from Seville, Spain, has worked at Version 1 for four years with a public sector client, while Donagh has been with us for nine years and also facilitates large projects within the public sector. Tom has been here for almost a decade, and is part of a team servicing a large financial institution in Dublin.

It’s fair to say that no two days, or projects, are the same here at Version 1, as demonstrated by the variety of solutions used alongside Java to achieve our business goals. “I use Java, SQL and Javascript daily,” states Mario, with Ruby systems, shell scripts, and a .NET framework with an Angular front end hosted in Azure being utilised often too.

As with most careers in Version 1, the path of progression has not been a linear one for our three interviewees. All three have undertaken several different positions since they were hired, underlining a longstanding concept at Version 1 that you can move your career in any direction you wish with the right amount of hard work and dedication. “I joined Version 1 in a Customer Support role nine and half years ago straight out of a Master’s program in Trinity College,” explains Tom. “From Support I moved to a minor Development role working for the same customer, then onto on-site work with them. After several years as a Lead Developer I now head up a team of seven developers.” Donagh saw his career progress quickly as well, starting as a Java Developer and growing in to a dual role of Solution Architect / Technical Team Lead for a large team of around twenty developers working with one of Version 1’s key accounts. If you invest in us through hard work, we’ll invest in your career through newer, more challenging progression opportunities.

Typical Traits of our Devs

If you are considering a career at Version 1, you might wonder what the typical traits are of someone in a programming-centric position, so you can assess if your DNA matches ours. According to our people, the most obvious characteristic appears to be a love for coding, both in and outside the office. “Having coding as a hobby lets you keep up to speed with what’s going on, and it gives you a chance to research new technologies,” says Donagh. This recommendation is echoed by Mario, who uses his ability to code wherever he gets the chance. “I use code for everything, from reading my bank statements to testing new versions of Spring framework, or creating an app for client management for my Dad, or maybe reading TCX files from my Garmin watch, you name it!”

Another similar trait connects all three employees: the coding bug seems to have bitten them early, with all respondents getting experience in Java before finishing college. As Tom remembers: “I started programming as a child when I received an Amstrad CPC464 as a gift. I didn’t really understand what I was doing but being able to write simple programmes really captured my imagination. I remember writing:

10 input “what is your name”; name$ [ENTER]
20 print “hello “; name$” my name is Arnold” [ENTER]
run [ENTER]

and when the black and white terminal displayed “Hello Tom my name is Arnold” I actually thought the computer was speaking to me.”

So where are we likely to find these tech minds when they’re not delivering projects that benefit thousands of people? Across the web on a variety of platforms, it seems. “I like following Venkat Subramanian; I met him at Java One recently,” says Donagh. “He is an incredible presenter and very insightful.” Other recommendations for topical online techie hang-outs include Stackoverflow, Medium, Baeldung and Springframework.guru.

Looking to The Future

With so many advancements in technology, what does the future hold for careers in programming? JavaWord recently stated that at the current pace of growth, Python could surpass Java and C in popularity in three to four years. Our Developers believe this to be a bold statement. “Java is everywhere you look and isn’t going anywhere,” says Tom, with Donagh agreeing: “As a Consultant it is very important to develop capabilities to match anticipated future demand… and I am not planning any further investment in Python!”

Indeed, with so many developments in Java, there is much to look forward to. “The pace of innovation has increased with newer, quicker release cycles, as well as the increased strength of OpenJDK, and more features in Java EE,” states Donagh. “Like the car industry I believe change in the next 4-5 years will dwarf what came before.” In addition, the new level of abstraction for the modular systems is also exciting our teams, providing potentially new ways of creating decentralized projects.

Advice for Applicants

What advice would our employees give to someone looking to enter this industry? Tom believes that strong knowledge of the newer Java features can make you stand out. “A lot of Java Developers I know are still weak when it comes to stuff like lambdas and the streams API introduced in Java 8. If this is you, it might be a good time to refresh your knowledge with a certification. Consider adding some front end skills.”

Donagh also recommends upskilling, stating: “I would definitely get some deep skills in a cloud platform, as well as experience with noSQL database such as Hazelcase or MongoDB.” Meanwhile Mario believes that sticking to a formula will help those seeking employment in programming. “Someone that wants to enter the industry nowadays is going to know a little about twenty or more different languages and technologies. This is not what I think it is important. Instead, focus on a few. Follow this learning formula and you will excel anywhere:

3 programme languages (Java, plsql, typescript) + 3 frameworks (Spring, Angular, React) + 5 tools (Eclipse, Git, Maven, Jenkins, Excel).”

Lastly, the interviewees recommend getting a Github account to develop a portfolio that demonstrates your abilities. “Being able to show something you wrote, and being able to talk about it at interview gets you a long way,” states Donagh.

Aside from the techie stuff, the Recruitment Team here at Version 1 also look for a good people-fit when hiring too. Tripti Chandwani, a Talent Acquisition Consultant in our Dublin offices, hires hundreds of Developers per year for Version 1, and knows what it takes to succeed. “I conduct a lot of interviews as part of my role and nine times out of ten we hire the candidate with a good work ethic, a desire to learn new skills, someone who is direct and upfront about their experience level as opposed to a fibber with a perfect CV.”

Proactivity is another positive trait too, according to Tripti. “We are not trying to catch anyone out. We know that Developers cannot learn about everything! Instead, someone that is able to find solutions just by searching code, looking on Google, consulting team mates or by asking questions comes across much more positively.”

Are you seeking a career using Java or other programming languages here at Version 1? Check out our open roles today and join one of the Top 10 Best Workplaces in Europe

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