Andrey Kogun: why develop the IT community

On June 23, DINS holds a free online conference Java Meeting Point… Our goal is to unite engineers from different cities on one site, to provide an opportunity to discuss new technologies, development approaches and everything related to this. The speakers of the conference are engineers of large IT companies.

We decided to introduce you to the people who are speaking at the conference in a series of interviews. Our first hero – Andrey Kogun, host of Java Meeting Point, head of the Java developers group at CROC and founder of Andrey told why he is inspired by meetups, how he manages to combine work and conferences, and how difficult it is to manage the Moscow community from Cyprus.

Tell us about yourself: where do you work, what do you do besides work.

It is not hard to guess that I am a Java developer, I work for the KROK company. I am actively developing and supervising some of the engineers. As a leader, I am not directly involved in business development, I am involved in the development of technology and people.

I am lucky – my work coincides with my interests. I organize and conduct meetings, participate in JUG Ru Group conferences and KROK events. During the season I manage to participate in two or four large conferences.

At KROK, we do non-commercial events with the help of our employees. They take place in cities where our development centers are located. This is a conference in Perm, a community in Krasnodar and Irkutsk. We support the conference in Novosibirsk. There are also winter and summer development schools for students. This is a great opportunity for senior students and practice to go through, and at the same time try their hand at being a full-fledged developer.

Last year, for obvious reasons, had few events, we are waiting for the opportunity to get together offline again, but I went to visit other people. I attended a conference in Innopolis as an expert and an Alfa-Bank event.

Why else do you consider it important to participate in the life of the community?

Personally, my motivation for doing meetups is what I’m interested in knowing and what else happens in our area. In the IT community, people are engaged in useful and interesting things, the opportunity to learn about them is invaluable. But it happens that before a person makes a report or writes an article, it will take several months. And at meetups, you can get together with interesting and smart people and just talk, enrich yourself with knowledge, and get inspired. I remember when I just started working as a developer, I went to such meetings. It amazed me that you could come, listen and talk with a real person who created what you use every day.

Information is such a curious thing: the more we share it, the more we have it. And, as it seems to me, this is the most valuable thing a developer can have.

Communication due to personal qualities is not easy for everyone. But if you create a community in which people are safe, good and comfortable, this is a very cool story. It motivates me.

So many things: work, conferences,, students – how do you manage everything?

Before one of the TechTrain conferences, there was a community leaders meetup, and I also thought about this topic. I came to the conclusion that consistency is needed here. Even before the next community meeting, preparations for the next one begin, it is an ongoing process. In the same way, I know that third-year students will always be there, I understand when they need an internship, I can prepare on time.

If everything is successfully woven into life, then in the end everything will work out. For this, it is important that you enjoy doing what you do.

You are not in Moscow now. Tell me, is it difficult to manage a community remotely? Or has it become normal after 2020?

It was always okay. The only part that needs to happen offline is the meeting itself. For the IT industry, online is a familiar environment. We no longer go to the office every day for a long time, and communicating via mail and instant messengers is a habit.

Most of the people with whom I, being in Moscow, talked about participation in conferences, were not there themselves. But this did not create any problems.

I agree that at a certain point in life, social connections are important, but when they are developed, it is not necessary to be in the same place with your social circle. My fears that one might fall out of the information field did not come true.

Final question: why did you decide to participate in the Java Meeting Point?

In my project role, I am the lead developer, and this time I have the opportunity to be more lead. I think this role is good because you are more actively involved in the conference.

I would have watched the reports anyway, I am interested as an organizer of events. And here there is an opportunity to be inside the process – it’s great. I didn’t even think about it, I just checked if this day was free and immediately agreed.

This is how it works most often in the IT world: if you offer a person something interesting, he will agree. I have a good story about this. When I first started out at college, Oracle, which sponsored the student community, commissioned Open Software Day. It was necessary to find speakers who will talk about open source software. At that time, I knew about anyone. I started googling and found Dmitry Zavalishin, who was making the Phantom open source operating system. Dmitry was already at that time called one of the fathers of the Russian Internet.

He ran the Live Journal, and I wrote to him directly and invited him to Zelenograd to speak at our meetup. He immediately responded and came to us. Although we are from different generations, we still communicate when we meet at events. I’m glad that in IT most people are like that.

Registration for Java Meeting Point is already open on the conference website… Join – it will be interesting!

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