All posts by jonezy

#DevTO 15 – July 30

July is shaping up to be a busy #DevTO month! After another fantastic event in June, we are excited to have a couple of great speakers, excellent giveaways and we can all get excited for the upcoming #DevTOBBQ!

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Tickets

One more #DevTO in the back pocket – learn about last month’s speakers here. See you out there on July 31st folks!
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Julian Lam – Client Side Rendering: The Good Kind of Outsourcing

Following on the heels of Dmytro Yashkir’s presentation last month, Julian will be leading a primer on client-side rendering as implemented by web app developers on the LAMP stack. We will step through a high-level overview of traditional content rendering paradigms, and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of rendering on the client side. Additional topics touched upon include scalability, security concerns, and real world implementations.

Julian is a Toronto-based Web Application Developer and System Administrator. He has worked in the startup arena for close to three years, and has experience in the social game industry, developing such hit games as Lionsgate’s Dirty Dancing Facebook game, and social action platforms such as IGAPI. He is currently spearheading development on FeedSeed, a next-generation business-to-consumer relevancy engine, soon to enter open beta.

Milan Gokhale – 10 lessons learned from starting a tech business

Originally presented to first-year engineering students at Western, this talk will discuss 10 lessons learned from building a digital development studio in Toronto – and why now is the best time for every software developer to build products for themselves.

Milan Gokhale is a developer-turned-entrepreneur who spends most of his first conversations explaining why his first name is pronounced mill’uh-n (rhymes with villain) and not mi-lan, like the city in Italy. Milan is a partner at People & Code, a digital development studio based in Toronto. Before leaping into the startup world, Milan worked for six years in the Microsoft enterprise space, including a stint in Redmond for Microsoft. Milan holds a software engineering degree from Western University, and an MBA from the Schulich School of Business.

Partners


Headstart Solutions  is a social recruiting and career development agency. We specialize in social media recruiting on-demand and outsourcing solutions, using the latest social media tools and methodologies to engage, recruit, and stay in touch with the best talent.
You probaly have met Marc or Sue at some point in the past year, remember they spoke about personal branding and how to give awesome presentations? Marc and Sue are here to provide our community with personal branding tips,career advice, and exciting new job opportunities for FREE! Get in touch with us at talks@devto.ca for a FREE career coaching session!

Silver Sponsors



Thinkwrap is a team of outstanding software developers, engineers, architects, strategists, and designers whose ability to create responsive web environments serving 100,000 users doesn’t stop them from architecting for millions as if they were one.Our strong community of purpose is built on our clients’ lasting business success.


Mercatus Technologies enables retailers and advertisers to achieve competitive advantage, boost brand equity, and improve financial performance. Leveraging Mercatus’ smart shopping technology on a cross-channel marketing level, achieve the ultimate one-to-one relationship with shoppers throughout their buying cycle—from intent to influence to purchase.

Bronze Sponsors


Rypple is a social performance platform built for teams to share goals, recognize great work, and help each other improve. With Rypple, performance management becomes painless and effective.


Extreme Startups
is the epicenter of innovation in Toronto and is dedicated to providing everything it takes to see its startups succeed!

In Kind Sponsors


ThirdOcean is a social media marketing and community management company. Our communications are delivered by and hosted on social mediums.


FITC produces design and technology focused conferences and seminars worldwide which inspire, educate and challenge attendees.


The best skins on the planet! GelaSkins are removable covers for protecting and customizing your portable devices. They feature stunning, photo-quality graphics ranging from fine art prints to contemporary urban images designed by our growing family of artists from around the globe. Stand out in the crowd with personalized protection from GelaSkins.


Delicious, all-natural, healthier. that’s popchips. when they said it couldn’t be done, we raised the snack bar.


Toronto’s oldest craft brewery!

5 Tips On Finding A Mobile Job In Toronto

I took for granted the transition would be easy for me and that I could easily get a job in 2 months or less. 5 months later, I was clearly wrong and I had to learn some of those lessons the hardest way possible. Here are some tips I wish someone told me before I quit my well-paying comfortable desktop software developer job to pursue the exciting world of mobile development:

1) You are not a mobile app developer unless you have developed and released a mobile app

Your worth as an app developer is not measured by your blog, business card, or how many API’s you have read up on. It’s measured on your proven ability to deliver a useful mobile app or possess a history of releases demonstrating you are on the way there.

I went to a #devTO meeting in late 2011 and I told people I was a mobile developer in search for a job without having actually released an app. I peeked the interests of some of the people I spoke to and they asked me what apps have I done, I told them I am still working on releasing them. They scoffed. They had every right to do so. A VC gave me sage advice and said “Just focus on releasing apps, prove that you have applied what you have learned, deliver it to the masses. I am sorry, man: you are not a mobile developer until you get that app out there.”

He was right. You really don’t know what it’s like to develop an app until you have got real users telling you it sucks or they demand change requests.

2) Make quality, face-to-face, connections in the local community

Network with people who are developers, like yourself or with professionals, who are a part of a company with a mobile offering. Tech meet-ups like #devTO are really great for this because everyone is so friendly. By developing your mobile professional network, you’ll gain a first-hand perspective through your primary connections about companies you could potentially work for. Alternatively, it could also give you insight on red flagged companies that you should not work for.

If actively taking control of your future is not your thing, you could network with recruiters who can only provide a very limited perspective about a company as they are not cognizant of that company’s culture from the view point of a developer. If your resume  matches the keywords their client is looking for, they will do everything in their power to present their client as your best, exciting, and only career choice even if it means not disclosing things that may discourage you.

Having technical insiders in your network will give you a better picture as they can speak first-hand about both the pros and cons about their workplace off the record. In most cases, they would be happy to share this information with you because you are a fellow developer and there is no financial incentive. Whereas in the case of recruiters who have zero technical background, us developers are seen as an immense source of revenue (25-35% of our salary).  For career technical advice, you would be better served by your technical brethren.

3) Your past work experience or education doesn’t play as big of a role as you think

When applying for jobs, if you can showcase your ability to develop mobile apps, you will have an advantage over those applicants who may have comprehensive technology experience that does not necessarily translate to mobile. Many employers in our area cannot afford to hire people so that they can pay them to learn. In their mind, it’s cheaper to pay someone who knows their stuff over someone who doesn’t. If you were lucky to get one of these positions, congratulations to you as it is very rare. Mobile is so brand new and hot right now that if you graduated 2 or more years ago, chances are the technologies you covered in school don’t apply.

However, I want to make it clear that I am not promoting the idea that education is undervalued. If anything, if you survive the academic gauntlet, you will walk away with the tools and rigor required to survive in a shifting landscape that is hard to predict.

Having a formal education in Computer Science/Engineering will definitely give you an advantage but there are currently more opportunities out there than graduates of this type. Many competitive companies are more than willing to hire candidates who are a good fit but not necessarily comp sci / eng degree holders because they can add value in other ways.

4) Specialize in Native or HTML5, not both

There are two schools of thought right now in which direction mobile should go. There is a trend for many established websites announcing they have place their bets on mobile web because of its cross mobile audience reach. However, this strategy doesn’t work well if you want to deliver a premium user experience that exploits the underlying features of a the device such as deep native OS integration, battery life optimization, OpenGL, and so much more. To do either mobile web or native properly requires you to focus on one. Each discipline is a universe onto itself with not just a lot to learn but a lot to apply. Because each of these disciplines are so vast, attempting to do both will result in half-assed results.

If an employer would ever hire you to do both, you could only do one of them at a time while your investment in the other goes to waste. Know your own limitations and aim for depth rather than breadth. Taking on both these technologies involves more learning than you could possibly apply and what you apply is what counts.

5) Know who you want to work for and give them a compelling reason why they should hire you

Let’s just cut to the chase. Aside from actually releasing apps, who you know, having a technology background, practice HTML5 or native, it all boils down to one thing: Relevance.

Take a look at this list (http://www.zeusriver.com/blog/2011/11/list-of-mobile-startups-in-toronto/) and visit their websites. Look at what value do they provide to their customers and see how your experience can add value to that offering. This pro-active approach is very much different than waiting to apply for the traditional Workoplois/Monster.ca job ad. Mobile companies are always hiring but only for the right people as described in the aforementioned.

Although there are many doors you can knock on in Toronto, if you cannot present how your skill sets apply to their company, in my own personal face-to-face experience, you are wasting their time. If you even try to talk your way into getting a job without having released any apps, they won’t be shy in telling you that you that you are not the right candidate they are looking for.

A potential employer will evaluate the user experience of your mobile apps. It’s an indicator of what value you will add to their own mobile
products or services offering. If that company is already in mobile, the first question they will ask is will this candidate slow us down
or help us move forward. If you target a company that is not in mobile, your work may blow them away despite how simple it is. Getting
hired as a mobile developer in Toronto comes down to your ability demonstrate how your experience is relevant to that mobile company.

Good luck with your search!

Mark Lapasa(@mlapasa) is a mobile developer who has released Native Android apps for both phones and tablets. He collaborates with business analysts, development and design teams to deliver engaging user experiences at the client-tier. He has many years of experience developing user interfaces for Enterprise Mobile, Healthcare, Financial, Social Gaming, and Online Gambling sectors. He blogs at http://knowledge.lapasa.net

Toronto Windows 8 Camp

Happy Friday Developers!

We’ve been given the opportunity to pass on the early registration information for an amazing Windows 8 developer event that is happening April 16th and 17th in Toronto.  Below are all the details and links to registration that you require!

Big thanks to our friends at Microsoft Canada for letting us pass this information on!

Toronto Windows 8 Camp

Dates: April 16 & 17, 2012

Venue: Le Meridien King Edward – Sovereign Ballroom

A Windows 8 Camp is a free, two-day event where developers and designers will discover HANDS-ON how to build their first Metro Style App for Windows 8At these camps, we’ll also share the next steps on how to get Windows 8 apps out there!

DevTO: A Year Later

A Look Back

Some 8 months ago the very first DevTO was held at 20 Mowatt St, in the offices of Richmond Day.  I think about 30 people showed up to that first event (and many of those who showed up that day are still showing up).  The next event wasn’t nearly as successful, but the 3rd and 4th really showed us that we were on to something and that we needed to keep doing this.

Speaking personally, I NEVER imagined that DevTO would turn into something this amazing. Something that I looked forward to organizing and working on every month, something that involved me with 3 other smart and capable guys, guys that I could learn from, guys that I enjoyed working on a team with.  Sometimes, when things are quiet, and nobody is around, I think a little bit about how lucky I have been to have been involved in something so great, with such great people.  I would highly suggest that If you ever get the chance to do something like this, to grab hold of it and go for it.  There’s nothing quite like it in the world.

Our Friends

Sponsors

The continued success of DevTO could not have been possible this year without the help and support of our amazing sponsors:

Quick Fact: did you know that the first 4 DevTO events were entirely self funded?  Well they were and boy are we glad that our friends stepped up to help us out on that front.

  • Richmond Day – Who provided our amazing location for this past year.
  • Rypple – Kept everyone fed with pizza at each event
  • Thinkwrap – Kept us all well lubricated with hops based beverages (beer!)
  • Headstart solutions - See those snazz DevTO shirts?  It’s all Headstart solutions!
  • Gelaskins – We’ve been giving away gift cards the last couple of events, there from Gelaskins and they are awesome!

None of what we have done this past year would be possible without the graciousness and charity of our donors.  We love and thank you!!

Special shout out: To the Atendy guys, it’s been a blast working with you fella’s this past year, you’ve really pushed us to try some new things and we appreciate your advice and help this past year!  Thanks Chris and Ahmed!

Speakers

We have been incredibly fortunate over the last year to have been able to get some incredibly smart and knowledgeable people to come and talk at DevTO.  From the very beginning we knew that we wanted to have a bit of a split between really technical topics and easier to digest less technically focused talks and I think over the last year we’ve done a great job of getting some amazing people to talk about some great topics.

We’ve had topics that have covered everything from promoting your work on linked in, increasing reliability in your applications with RabbitMQ to using the canvas object in javascript. We love covering everything from the simple to the complex, and our speakers have done a fantastic job this past year delivering excellent and valuable talks on both of those fronts.

Quick Fact: @cbrooker presented from @jonezy ‘s desk at DevTO #2 (there were only 6 people at that event!)

So… Chris, Craig, Mark,, Khori, Alex, Shey, Sue, Mark, Wes, Farhan, Tyson and anyone else I’ve forgotten,  Thank you for being amazing!  We appreciate you taking the time to put together well thought out and fun presentations for us, we hope to see you back again next year!  If anyone wants to come back and do another presentation in the new year, email us at talks@devto.ca

The Real Reason – You!

The real reason that DevTO has been such a resounding success this year is you, the attendees. The people that come out week after week and show that not only is DevTO a great idea but that it works and provides value to those that attend.

There have been some great bit’s of connection that have happened at DevTO’s.

  • The DevTO / Atendy partnership was born because the guys from Atendy were coming to the events and wanted a place to test there new product (event registration and badges).  They approached us about partnering to test out there product and the rest as they say is history!
  • @jonezy met @cbrooker at DevTO 2 where @cbrooker presented epilogger.com. @jonezy was so impressed that he joined the team shortly thereafter.  Another DevTO success story!

There are a couple of things that we’ve noticed this past year when it comes to the people that are attending DevTO

  1. We usually split about 50/50 between new faces and returning attendee’s.
  2. 1/3 of attendee’s are women
  3. Attendance has increased steadily from month to month, with our most attended event being DevTO #7 (with approx 70 attendees)
So to all that have attended this past year, thank you!  Without you there would be no DevTO. We appreciate you coming out every month, dealing with our rare planning gaffe and making DevTO an amazing event for everyone involved!

The Future

As with all great things we plan on making DevTO better, we’ve had some thoughts that we’ve been sharing as a group about how best to make DevTO even better in the new year, we’ve talked about throwing full day hackathons, longer full day conferences, some expansion of the website and even getting into some more educational type programs as well.  Heck, we’re even talking about expanding DevTO to other cities!

From the founders, Chris, Kevin Nael and Jo we are going to be back 110% this year, we have had an amazing time working together on bringing you DevTO and can’t wait to do it for another year.

Of course as always we would love to hear what you guys think!  Do you have some suggestions to make DevTO a better event for everyone involved?  If you do please email us at info@devto.ca, we would love to hear your thoughts!

Keep In Touch

I’m pretty sure that I’ve mentioned a few times throughout this post that we would LOVE to hear from the people that have been attending and speaking at the events over this past year.

We want to know what you think has been good, has been bad and what can be improved.  So to that end here are the various ways to get in touch with the team

You don’t just write code

About a year ago, I realized that after having worked in the Internet industry in Toronto for almost 15 years (yes, since 1996), that I had very little actual involvement in the developer community around the city, and actually, I wasn’t even really sure if there was one that applied to me.  I’ve certainly seen people talk about going to language or technology specific user groups, but there was nothing just for people that were developers, just to get together and share stuff, because hey, you don’t just write code.

The act of writing code is the end result of a lot of other kinds of work, planning, task breakouts, negotiations with customers, bosses, designers and other developers.  We struggle with understanding the customers problems (where else can you work for a bank, a major car manufacturer and a major retailer all within the span of a year?) and how best to solve those problems with code.  Once you start peeling back the layers what we do becomes more complicated than it seems.  This is not to say that the complication is a bad thing, it’s part of what we do, no avoiding that!

And this is where the “You don’t just write code” part of DevTO came from, a realization that we do a whole hell of a lot more than spend hours upon hours banging out line after line of code behind a computer.  We are people that contribute in more ways then we usually get recognized, and that’s one of the things that I felt was missing in my life as a developer.

Scratch your itch

One of the things I’ve learned over the years when it comes to building products, is to scratch your own itch.  That is, to solve a problem that you personally have as a gateway to building or doing something that solves a problem for a lot of people, and for me, DevTO was exactly that, a way to solve problem(s) I was having, and once I started talking to a couple of people about it (my amazing co-founders) I quickly found out that this was an idea shared by more people around the city than just me.

The past 7 months have provided more than I ever imagined in terms of what I was looking for when I first starting talking to Kevin, Nael and Jo about this idea a year ago. Speaking personally, it’s been amazing for me to get connected to others in my community and to find some exciting opportunities that have really gotten me out of a but of a rut professionally.  It’s actually amazing that I spend very little time actually doing development when it comes to DevTO, but it’s had such a positive impact on that part of my life none the less.

Thank you

I can honestly say that I did not expect to be talking about planning our 7th event, much less talking about some bigger and better things we will be doing (in the new year!).  I’m confident that I can speak on behalf of all of the co-founders at DevTO and say thank you to all of the attendees, speakers and sponsors who have taken DevTO from a small idea and turned it into an amazing recurring monthly event.

If you have any comments, suggestions or feedback feel free to send me an email (jonezy@devto.ca) or get in touch with me on twitter @jonezy