Markus is a Java Champion, former Java EE Expert Group member, founder of JavaLand, reputed speaker at Java conferences around the world, and a very well-known figure in the Enterprise Java world.
He is the Developer Strategist for Red Hat EMEA. More than 14 years of international speaking experience and 8 years in developer advocacy with a strong focus on Java platforms helped him build a large network of professionals and influencers. He is an O'Reilly author and helped with technical reviews of more than 10 books about technologies he cares for.
How did you get to become an expert in your key topics?
By accident. Somehow at least. I grew up in the golden age of computers. My family supported my desire to have one of the earliest available computers on the market and due to the lack of available, free learning resources I ended up teaching myself the basics of programming at the age of 12. I’ve added skills around building server computers soon and learned HTML, Perl, and Apache Web Server pretty much since they were invented.
Later, after my studies in Munich, I started building dynamic shopping systems for a German startup. With time the projects I worked on got bigger and bigger and I got the opportunity to build some of the biggest Enterprise Java-based systems in the German-speaking market before I deviated into developer relations.
What sub-topics are you most passionate about?
The Java ecosystem mostly. Even so many people only know it as a programming language, the community has created various technical specifications around it. For server-side and client-side development for example and an almost uncountable number of additional tools and frameworks that help developers to be productive and get their job done.
Unlike traditional marketing for developers, I focus on getting developers productive with the available tools and for the challenges they face.
And this touches every topic around their jobs. From self-paced learning, hands-on labs, training, and further enablement to inbound product management and sometimes even bug hunting.
Who influences you within these topics?
I admire many of the engineers that work on open source projects in the Java community. Their dedication working with the community to get the next big thing out the door is amazing. Thankfully, I am in the position to not only work closely with engineering but also with our product and technology group. I enjoy the lively discussions about various ideas and requirements that are brought to these teams.
The most important influencer for these topics is the user regardless of whether it is an upstream project or an open-source-based Red Hat offering. I talked to many of them over the years and got first-hand insight into their struggles, workarounds, and solutions. And last but not least, some other influential people in the broader community.
What challenges are brands facing in this space?
I personally believe that software companies are facing similar challenges for a while now. The pace of new trends picked up significantly over the last five years. Developers get to choose from more and more tools, frameworks, platforms, and runtimes every year. It became even more challenging for those brands to stick true to their core values but at the same time re-invent enough of their DNA to be still relevant and continue to deliver the most powerful value for their users. We’ve seen unicorns with niche solutions who became famous for a while and also witnessed mergers and acquisitions. What matters for developers and users is the trusted, reliable relationship which is the foundation for their success.
What do you think the future holds in this space?
A very good question. In particular, in this industry, we do live the future. Developers help create the solutions that everybody will be using tomorrow. Think about that device that sits with you in your living room. You can order pizza through voice command and have it delivered to you within minutes. Everything else like payments and routing information and whatsoever is handled for you. This has been science fiction just a few short years ago. Today’s most active fields are for sure artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and everything that connects the bits and pieces back together.
Think about computing power not only centralized in public clouds but also on the EDGE of the networks. We will see an explosion of connected and semi-intelligent endpoints delivering cohesive results for industries. Developers need ways to not only create these visions but also manage and operate complexity at scale. We are slowly getting to the point where software implementation and operations are becoming more and more complex and challenging. But these things aren’t necessarily the things that excite developers. To still be able to focus and do what matters most to them we will see a shift in thinking around usability for these complex systems. Not only for operations but also for developers.
What are your passions outside of work?
Before or after we had kids? So, while I still had time for it, I badly enjoyed all kinds of water sports mixed with a little bit of mountain biking. These days I barely get to swim a couple of rounds in the public pool once a week. I am still very passionate about every single one of them though. If there is some time besides family and work, I enjoy seeing and experiencing new things. And this can happen in various ways. Either a new restaurant, car, book, or even specialty to dive into. I enjoy the challenges of doing something new for the first time.
What would be the best way for a brand to contact you?
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