Initial Questions

Confidential Information I.Can.Help at
Tue Dec 16 23:43:46 UTC 2014

I'm very interested in the idea of joining an Open Source project 
utilizing Java and OpenJDK was recommended to me. I hope you can indulge 
some questions to help me make sure this is the right place for me.

I should tell you a bit about myself first to tell you what I'm trying 
to do and what my background is so that you can help me assess whether I 
might fit in here.

I've been in Information Technology for my whole post-university career. 
I never quite finished my degree, which was in Arts, not I.T. My major 
jobs were as a COBOL programmer, then as a trainer in I.T. subjects, and 
now primarily as a web designer.

I've coded in Java since the days of the 1.0.2 JDK and wrote Java quite 
frequently for the first 10+ years but the vast majority of the code I 
wrote was done more as an eager hobbyist working on his own and for fun. 
Even two of the three projects I did for other people were solo efforts, 
just me coding something for a friend. The third project I did was done 
in the context of a three man team where two of us wrote Java and the 
other one wrote Delphi. That project never completed its work due to 
funding issues. (Two out of the three projects I mentioned were paying 
work.) The last few years, my Java coding has been more in fits and 
starts than anything. Despite all that, I really enjoy writing Java and 
would dearly love to do more of it. I have coded in 10 different 
programming languages and nothing else I've seen can touch Java for 
sheer breadth of abilities.

I'd like to get full or part time paying work writing Java. However, I'm 
very conscious of the fact that I have done almost no work with Java in 
a team environment and would very much like to do that. I expect that I 
will have trouble being taken seriously if I just apply for Java coding 
jobs with my current background so it occurred to me that an open source 
project would be ideal for building up some credentials.

Frankly, I just don't know how my skills measure up. Java is such a very 
large and powerful language that I certainly don't have fluency in every 
aspect of it, nor do I have much contact with various associated 
technologies like frameworks. I don't even have a lot of experience with 
design patterns. I'm also unfamiliar with modern development 
methodologies like the Agile techniques. I don't know UML, although I am 
somewhat familiar with some of its predecessors. (I used to teach 
database design and used Gane & Sarson extensively at my first 
programming job.) I haven't even used a modern code repository system 
like Subclipse very much beyond a bit of tentative dabbling.

I am very detail-oriented and am familiar with teaching myself things 
when I need to know them. I don't tend to have a lot of depth in many 
things but I have at least a superficial understanding of several 
things. I am more than willing to learn the new things I'll need to know 
to contribute to an open source project. I don't need a lot of 
hand-holding but find it helpful to have a sounding board once in a 
while as I wrestle with issues. A little direction is generally all I 
need on projects once I understand what I have to do. I also appreciate 
code walkthroughs as a way to improve my code; I'm not a diva by any 
means. I even like writing documentation, which most coders abhor. ;-)

Does that sound like someone who might be useful to the OpenJDK project?

I would be interested in participating in OpenJDK on almost any terms if 
I could be helpful. However, I would be very VERY interested if 
successful completion of my parts of the project would enable me to 
point to specific code and tell people that it is mine or if other 
people on the project could verify that it is my work. Basically, I want 
to be able to show a potential employer code that has my name on it or 
have others verify that it is my work. It's important to me that the 
employer wouldn't have to take my word for the fact that I wrote 
specific code. Otherwise, the employer could reasonably scoff and 
suggest I was taking credit for someone else's work. (I'm assuming that 
the only code you will ever let see the light of day is code that is of 
a high standard which works well.) In a nutshell, I want the code I 
write for OpenJDK form a key part of a code portfolio.

If I haven't yet disqualified myself from consideration, I'd like to 
know how to get started. I'm guessing there are standards to read and 
tools like code repositories to learn at the very least.

I'd like to stay anonymous for the moment so just call me Anonymous 
Coward for now :-)


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