24 Apr 2014

Developer User Group 2014 Survey results

This year we launched the first annual user group and let me say thank you to every single one of you for taking the time to help us improve the group. For this survey all questions were optional so you may see some differences in the numbers. This post is meant to share the data and I am not going to speculation about what this could mean or how we will adjust the group based on it at this point. Lets have a look at the data!

Comments

The final item in the survey is the first I want to discuss – the comments. Many where along the line of congratulations which is awesome but there are four I want to highlight here.

more code please, e.g. everyone has talked about 'everything must be unit tested', yet not once have i seen the actual code. I AM UNIT TESTING, BUT I FEEL THE COVERAGE IS NOT ENOUGH, SO IT WOULD BE HELPFUL TO HAVE A REAL LIFE EXAMPLE OF 100% COVERAGE REGARDING TEST DRIVEN DEVELOPMENT.

We will be having the awesome Martin Cronje in June doing a talk exactly on this! Another idea would be to attend the CodeRetreats where this is a major focus of the events. A personal comment based on the talks I have given; the time for a presenter is limited so if they are talking on SignalR adding unit tests not only takes time away from the talk but can also confuse the audience.

A suggestion to some of the discussions is to have a practical aspect where coders can code

I love the scenario where the audience can code with the talk but there are logistical reasons this doesn’t work well in our format. The presentation style is the one that works best.

Have more advice for novice/beginners to programming

Below I will talk about what type of events we run most often, and while the bulk of our talks are technology focused which can be very tough for novices we have a big chunk that are about methodologies, theories, stories and patterns. These are PERFECT for a novice since they share valuable information which doesn’t rely on technical understanding.

I haven't attended for some time due to other commitments, but for some time I thought it would be beneficial to have a bit more conversation / talks about the open-source languages and projects. I understand that the group was initially primarily started around Microsoft products, and that's great, but in my field open-source is more dominant. It's just an observation, though, nothing against the setup of the group per sé

I disagree with this view – having a look at our past events the break down of the sessions is as follows:

image

Looking at the numbers – we are more about open source technology and developer improvement than Microsoft.

Overall, how satisfied or dissatisfied are you with the Developer User Group?

The first and most important was how satisfied or dissatisfied people are, on a scale from 1 to 5 (1 being bad – 5 being great) and we hit at an average of just over 4! Smile

How likely are you to recommend the Developer User Group?

Second is very important for us, because we want to grow the group and being recommended is the best way for that. Here we did a scale from 1 to 5 and did even better scoring over 4.4!

Overall, how do you find the complexity of the sessions?

Third is  how members are finding the content – with this also on a 1 to 5 scale with 1 being too simplistic content and 5 being too complex content. 3 is the just right spot and we came in almost exactly at that!

 

Start time

imageThe most discussed issue in the group is the start time – it is brought up almost every month in the comments. Keeping the time the same really smashed the other options, both individually and if you group the times into early (16h00 + 16h30), medium (17h00 + 17h30) and late (18h00 + 18h30). We are planning to use the early start time to allow for longer sessions with multiple topics going forward so hopefully that will enable people to get the best of both worlds.

  • Keep it at 16h30: 49%
  • Start earlier at 16h00: 6%
  • Start later at 17h00: 15%
  • Start later at 17h30: 10%
  • Start later at 18h00: 15%
  • Start (really) later at 18h30: 5%

What do you hope to gain from the developer user group?

imageThe only item to allow multiple options to be selected, is also one of the most important – what do you want? Almost everyone said learning new skills and networking.

  • To learn new skills: 95%
  • Networking with other developers: 93%
  • Free drinks & pizza: 37%
  • To find potential employees: 20%
  • To find a new job: 12%

Age

imageMoving into the demographics for the group – the first one is age with the majority between 26 – 35.

  • 26 – 35: 75%
  • 36 – 50: 16% 
  • 18 – 25: 6% 
  • 51 – 65: 1% 

What is your level?

imageThe next item is the level, which shows a strong slant to the senior level.

  • Senior: 70%
  • Intermediate: 22%
  • Junior: 6%

What is your primary programming language?

imageThe third demographic which is vital for us in planning content is around primary development language and we have a GREAT mix of languages but the strongest community is c#.

  • C#: 59% 
  • Java: 9% 
  • C++: 3% 
  • JavaScript: 4%
  • Visual Basic: 1% 
  • I'm a QA: 1%
  • Python: 1%
  • PHP: 1%
  • Objective C: 1%
  • SQL: 1%
  • Many of the above: 1%
  • Scala: 1%
  • I'm a novice wanting to learn: 1%
  • Project management: 1%

What is your primary type of development work?

imageIn line with  planning content, knowing what people are doing is vital. Web work (internal and external) is a strong lead followed by integration and mobile.

  • Mobile apps: 11% 
  • Internal web sites or Intranets: 30% 
  • Integration projects: 19% 
  • External/Public web sites: 27% 
  • Coaching: 1%
  • UI/DB/Platform: 1%
  • Many of the above: 1%
  • Internal Projects: 1%
  • I'm a Novice wanting to learn: 1%
  • Server side development: 1%
  • Data warehousing: 1%

Organisation size

imageHow big are the companies that developers come from? Here it looks like a strong split between small (less than 20) and large (more than 90). Which I think is pretty accurate for the industry as a whole in South Africa.

  • >200: 25% 
  • 11-20: 8% 
  • 1-10: 29% 
  • 21-40: 12% 
  • 91-200: 14% 
  • 41-80: 9% 

Role in purchasing?

imageFinally, a question we can use when discussing with sponsors is what role people have in purchasing. Here there is some influence or none.

  • None: 37% 
  • I can suggest/influence purchases: 51% 
  • I make the final say: 11%

Raw data?

Want the raw data – you can download it below.

01 Apr 2014

Why is it called the GAC?

ArZg52WCAAAOyHAIn .NET we have a GAC or global assembly cache – which you may think describes it well and that is why we call it the GAC, but that isn’t true. One of the many things I’ve learnt since joining Microsoft last year is the real story of the GAC’s name and the fact that the acronym was chosen after the name to please legal. Think about it, the GAC is neither a cache (it is really a repository – a cache implies a temp nature to it’s contents) nor is it global (it is local to the machine) – that acronym just doesn’t make any sense.

The origin of the name is that Anders Hejlsberg when naming it wanted something to represent the only location on the device for assemblies. In addition Anders is a massive Dr Seuss fan and chose the name from the so in Cat in the Hat book. (emphasis below is mine).

At our house we play out back. We play a game called Ring the Gack. Would you like to play this game? Come down! we have the only Gack in town.

The name was used in the team until legal got hold of it and worried that Microsoft maybe sued, so it was shortened and an acronym made up to explain it. The original name does appear in the original beta documentation for .NET 1.0 which you can find here.

24 Jan 2014

An independent .NET conference

At the last developer user group, a discussion around .NET and the community came up where an issue  was identified that because Microsoft does such a good job of communication around .NET, anything outside their realm is pretty much ignored. The example was that open source doesn’t get enough coverage at big events – my response, why doesn’t the community run their own .NET event. The idea would be that it targets a .NET audience, but the content is not limited to .NET i.e. you could present on Perl, but as the audience is .NET it would make sense to tailor the talk to the things those people expect and address there concerns. I ran a small poll to see what the response would be.

425 people ended up loading the poll, yet a mere 35 people completed it Sad smile

So looking at the data (hint, that link takes you to the live report). It seems that

  • Free vs. cost: Isn’t an issue. I think the main thing here that if there is value people will pay.
  • Weekday vs. Saturday: A weekday seems far more popular an option
  • Multi-track seems a lot more popular than a single track.
  • Johannesburg FTW! Cape Town and Durban are just a fraction of the amounts (the colours on the charts don't match up Sad smile - so biggest is always blue, which doesn’t make sense).

So what is next? I am not sure – the numbers are surprisingly low which indicates to me that either we, as a community are horrid at sharing things, or there isn’t demand. Your thoughts?

image

Some analytical information

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03 Jan 2014

Dev Stories: Post Listing

Dev Stories are a collection of posts which are based on my personal learning. This page is used for two reasons; first it gives a nice easy way for you to move through the various posts & second it shows you (and reminds me) of what is coming up.

  • What education have I needed?
  • What language should we teach?
  • Zealots
  • It is always hammer time
  • What is successful code

(anything not linked means the idea for the story exists but isn’t up yet… so subscribe to the feed to get it as soon as it comes out)

04 Dec 2013

Joining the AppFactory

appfactory_za_headerI am very proud to do a short announcement that I have moved to join Microsoft, and specifically the AppFactory. The AppFactory is a group of people, mostly consisting of interns who are gaining real world experience in software development. So what is this real world development focused on? Locally relevant apps which give all users a rich and meaningful experience on Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone.

I am joining as a senior developer with my focus on both development, but also skilling up of those involved!

01 Nov 2013

Browser Link + LESS? Does it work?

(You can grab the code for this from: https://github.com/rmaclean/BrowserLinkAndLESSDemo)

imageAt TechDays in Johannesburg, I showed a lot of cool stuff, but this post is about two specific pieces of awesome technology – Browser Link & LESS. In my talk (you can watch  a video of it here) I showed off how you use Browser Link with Web Essentials it can detect unused CSS. A rather sharp attendee came up to me afterwards and asked me, what happens with LESS? Does it do the same thing?

I went back and experimented with it – first was to setup some CSS that wasn’t used and test. Everything works as expected.

Step two, was to use LESS directly, so I setup the HTML with

  • I used Nuget to pull down LESS.js
  • I put in the the link to the LESS file
<head runat="server">
    <title></title>
    <link rel="stylesheet/less" type="text/css" href="/Content/Awesome.less" />
    <script src="Scripts/less-1.4.2.min.js"></script>
</head>

Next step was to configure IIS Express, using the web.config, to serve the LESS file. To do that I added the following to the web.config file:

<system.webServer>
  <staticContent>
    <mimeMap fileExtension=".less" mimeType="text/css" />
  </staticContent>
</system.webServer>

and I ran the app again. You know what happened? It all just worked – Browser Link’s CSS logic detected the unused class in the LESS file, and when I clicked it – it took me directly to the class in the LESS file Smile

01 Nov 2013

Missed TechDays? Check out my LightSwitch talk on YouTube!

I you couldn’t make TechDays in Johannesburg or Cape Town (or maybe you did & went to Dave Russell’s awesome MVVM talk which was at the same time as my LightSwitch talk) then you can watch a recording of my LightSwitch talk I did recently.

If you want to get the slides, the completed demo or the script, you can find all of that in my earlier post.

01 Nov 2013

Missed TechDays: ASP.NET

Did you miss the awesome TechDays events in Johannesburg and Durban? Fear not – I recorded my ASP.NET talk for you! This is no way as good as being there as the excitement and energy from the event help a lot, but this is still a great talk to watch!

All the slides, assets, demo bits etc.... can be download in this post.

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