How I become a speaker

How I become a speaker


The beginning

It’s spring of 2013. I was working for 1&1 in their Bucharest office as a Senior Java Developer .. by than even as a Technical Lead for a small team. We were working on a product management software, that was handling all the products of 1&1. From their telecom services, internet provider services, to their web hosting services and their domain registration services, we were managing all those products. So we were using all kind of technologies, including Spring. As I was on the project for almost 2 years by than we went though a lot of ups and downs, so we had to Google quite a few issues by than. Periodically 1&1 was offering all kind of trainings to their employees, including Spring Trainings.

As 1&1 had some issues with their training providers and more and more people were joining the company, and as most of the software that was used in the company was using Spring, there was a need to train all these people to learn Spring. As my manager knew I was good in Spring .. he jumped in proposing me to teach the others Spring. When I found out that I had to do this … I was a bit … well scared. But I had to do it … so I started to look around how a Spring training is actually done, what is format is, what should I teach them. So I started to create a presentation, after two or three slides I started to realise that this will not work. Its just too much information. I started to think on how I’m gonna do it, and I started to read Spring’s Reference guide and I realised, that actually this is what I’m suppose to teach them, after all its a very good step by step guide. OK, I have the content,  but how could they learn something, just showing them one or two examples will not be enough. And than I started to read section by section, and write examples for all the situations that I could come up with. I started to think on examples that I can give. After a few weeks of doing this I had a quite extensive set of classes and configuration files that I could show and exercise on. I told my boss that I’m ready, and after a week or so after that I had my first workshop. At the beginning it was scary, my mouth had dry out in minutes. At my first workshop I ended up drinking 3 litre of water. My biggest fear was to not being able to answer to the questions that the attendees might have. It turned out that most of them were there because they didn’t knew Spring 🙂 So it was safe. I asked for feedback after every workshop, so I was able to prepare better for the next sessions. At the second workshop I had more confidence on me. Later on I started to have sessions on Java too. After that I was holding trainings until I left the company in summer of 2015.

Going international

It’s early summer of 2016. I was working for ING Software Development Center in Bucharest as a Java Architect. I had the opportunity to be part of the team that had to develop a high performant messaging system based on Apache Kafka, which we named Eventbus. The role of this eventbus was to enable microservices to communicate with each others. We also had the task to develop a logging appender that will send the whole platform’s logging messages to Kafka. As this was supposed to be the back bone of the whole infrastructure of Belgium, we knew that it has to be fast. So we started with little steps to build up an API based on Kafka to do the logging. But we had to do the eventing too. So we created a generic messaging API based on Kafka that could handle both, business messages and logging messages. After the first deployments we have seen that this is going to be great.

So I started to wonder … what if we could show what we had achieved to the world. And I asked my boss, Dan Bălescu, “what if we would go to a conference and present what we did”? He instantly sad, that it’s a great idea .. soon after he got the approvals from the management. OK, but how do you go to a conference? No one will invite you just because I’m Róbert .. obviously. You have to apply to a Call for Paper, so we did. Together with Dan we came up with an appealing name Microservices with Kafka and a description. We applied to so many conferences that we started to loose count. And after a period of quiet we got an e-mail from Devoxx Morocco – Your proposal has been approved. We were in haven 🙂

Our first international presentation was at Devoxx Morocco 2016 in Casablanca. After few more attempts we presented Microservices with Kafka at Voxxed Days Singapore 2017 in Singapore and Devoxx Poland 2017 in Krakow. I also presented it alone at Voxxed Days Vienna 2017.


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