Adam Bien's Weblog

How to be Java Guru without knowing Java (at least in meetings)

I posted some strategies for "experts" and called them VooDoo Consulting Style. The strategies were a common and language independent advices for "high end" consultants. In the Java-space, it is even easier to be an acknowledged guru - almost without additional effort. Writing code, or beeing productive is dangerous (something can go wrong). Sometimes it is easier to be a guru without coding:

  1. Before the initial project meeting go to List all JSR's learn some (5 are enough in general) numbers and headers.. If you have to do with more advanced developers - also read the abstract. Mention the JSRs during the meeting and enjoy the impact.
  2. If you project is going to be a realized with Java EE: Emphasize the verbosity of Java. Point to elegant languages like Python, or Ruby. (it is not necessary to know these languages - it is not very likely, that they will be used in a Java EE environment). If they are going to be chosen go to point 6.
  3. Mention JDK 1.7 (this strategy is very save -> most companies thinking now about upgrade to Java 5) and closures. In general it is enough only mention the term "closure" in the context of Java.
  4. Wait a random amount of time. Pick one of the vs. issues and try to initiate a dicussion; SOA vs. ROA, Ruby on Rails vs. Java EE, Thin vs. Rich, AJAX vs. Rich, Swing vs. SWT, Netbeans vs. Eclipse, Java EE vs. .NET, SOAP vs. REST and OSGI and JSR-277. The highlighted ones are more funny and the discussion longer.
  5. Use terms like Web 2.0-ish, SOA-ish etc. Don't  care about the meaning: no one is able to define them.
  6. Suggest more esoteric languages like Haskell, Scala,  or Fortress but not Malbolge for the realization. In general there is no reason to doing that (Java is working well), but why not?
  7. Don't forget code generation. Sometimes it is enough to initiate a discussion about MDA vs. MDSD. If nothing happens ask the developers about PIM, PSM and code transformation etc.
  8. Very important: mention things like team velocity, pair programming, ask about Xtreme-Programming, Agile, Scrum, Crystal, Test First, Mocking (the more the merrier).
In the contrary to the VooDoo Consulting Style, these strategies (or topics) change over time. So you have to update the list from time to time. Although such "gurus" survive several projects, it is relatively easy to find them. Just ask about the reasons for the decision  :-).

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Now I recognize these techniques! At my old job we had an "Architects" group that never really did anything but attend meetings and disparage other peoples’ approaches. I never realized that there was a formula for this. Maybe now I can learn to be an “architect.”

BTW I also think bringing up C# and dot NET are good ways to derail a Java meeting too.

Thanks for the entertaining post.

Posted by Harvey Sugar on March 29, 2007 at 06:19 AM CEST #

Harvey, thank you for your comment. I also forgot to mention the strategic impact of opensourcing Java. In meetings everyone was excited, but noone really knew why :-). My post actually explained the way beeing a Java-Guru. I thinking now about posting some advices, how to be an architect :-)

Posted by Adam Bien on March 29, 2007 at 08:51 PM CEST #

I just cant stop reading this blog again and again. Too good.

Posted by Arun on March 30, 2007 at 12:25 AM CEST #

The sad fact is that this is not really a joke ...

Posted by on April 02, 2007 at 07:30 PM CEST #

Yes, I have also run into real people just like this. You know the type, "Yesterday I could not spell 'jawvaw gooroo', but now I are one!"

Posted by Phil Frisbie, Jr. on April 03, 2007 at 12:05 AM CEST #

Actually, we meet such people everyday (being in an IT services industry). We call them business analysts. The other type that manifests this kind of behavior are senior module and tech leads on the path of being program managers.

Somehow I cannot see real technical architects stooping to this kind of antics.

Posted by neelman on April 21, 2007 at 09:19 PM CEST #

isn't it called "dead not" rather than "dot net"? ;)

Posted by on August 15, 2009 at 01:33 AM CEST #

@Neelman : No it's called as "DOT NOT" xD

Posted by Chankey on September 18, 2010 at 05:06 PM CEST #

Instead of doing such kind of stuff .....
Take a break and learn something....

Its always good to really have the knowledge than pretending.

And if you think you cant speak on technologies in meetings then there is one best option always open for you......Resign from your job and be a mimic artist ....

Posted by Honest on July 20, 2011 at 10:02 AM CEST #

yes we cannnot

Posted by on July 20, 2013 at 12:36 AM CEST #

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