My Journey To Java Champion

I’m officially a Java Champion. I’m now part of a selected group recognized for promoting the Java language by sharing technical expertise and experience and helping other community members. There are many ways that you can do that: you can speak at conferences, support your local Java User Group (JUG), write articles and books, contribute to OSS (by the way, I suggest you start with Eclipse Collections), etc.

I want to say thank you to Hillmer Chona and Mary Grygleski for proposing my nomination!

The official Java Champions list can is available at https://github.com/aalmiray/java-champions.

My Journey

Five years ago, I didn’t know about the Java Champions program or JUGs. Up to this time, it was unimaginable that I would have the network I have today. I never thought I would meet book authors, conference speakers, developers writing the tools we use, and even less a single Java Champion.

It started when I was looking for ways to keep myself up to date with the changes to the Java ecosystem. I reached out to Markus Eisele on Twitter, and he suggested that I look for the NYJavaSIG and talk to Chandra Guntur.

Chandra is a long-time leader of the NYJavaSIG, and after talking to him, he opened the doors of the JUG to me, first as an attendee and later as a leader. It was also he who introduced me to my current employer. Going back to the JUG, there are many people with remarkable work at NYJavaSIG, and I’m lucky to be close to and learn from them. Thank you, Chandra, Frank Greco, Jeanne Boyarsky, Barry Burd, Neha Sardana, Justin Lee, Ray Tsang, and Sai Donthi.

Because of the JUG, I started to meet people who are references in our field. Since 2019, we have done more than 50 in-person and virtual events attended by more than 10k people. Every event is an opportunity to meet someone and learn from the speaker. We hosted many amazing people in our events, but at the NYJavaSIG 25th anniversary, we were lucky to host James Gosling. 

At my current job, I met Donald Raab. I have never known someone with the same energy level as he has to contribute to the community. He was already a Java Champion and kind enough to sit with me for a coffee and help me out. At about that time, I started writing the Weekend Reading List weekly article. It’s a curated list of articles I publish, which can be helpful to other people looking for tech content. Since I started, the Weekend Reading List has been issued for 152 consecutive weeks (almost three years). You can read it at https://graciano.dev. I have also written a few articles on Baeldung.com (https://baeldung.com/author/rodrigo-graciano).

In 2020, I started presenting at conferences, and Jeanne helped me to prepare for my first presentation. I have now presented at more than 20 events and some of the most important conferences in the world as Devnexus, JavaOne, and TDC. I also did many presentations to local JUGs.

I’m very proud of what I have achieved, and if there’s any advice I can give you, it is the same one that I give to my son: Everyone can go to the gym for seven days. Everyone can study for two hours a day for ten days. Only a few can do it for an extended period. Consistency is key. A growth mindset is mandatory.

3 thoughts on “My Journey To Java Champion

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