Java Communities in Ho Chi Minh City and Vietnam

Coming from one of the leading IT countries in the world, I was used to being surrounded by lots of resources about whatever I needed in order learn and to grow and develop in my profession, software engineering with focus on custom software development in Java. There are tens of thousands of books in my own language, more software development companies that I could ever apply for, conferences specialising in everything that was, is, or will soon be mainstream, and well, more communities that I could ever participate in and contribute to. Coming to Vietnam I found myself  in an environment that doesn’t offer most of what I just mentioned. On one hand that’s because there’s probably not as much going on as in my country yet and I’m thrilled to see what this dynamic country will have to offer tomorrow and the day after. On the other hand I guess there’s a lot hidden from me and waiting to be discovered.

So I started to look around and try to discover what’s going on out there. I wanted to stick to Java developers and Java communities first. It is what seemed to make the most sense to me although I had a feeling already that I shouldn’t be too picky. Here’s a brief summary of what I found so far:

  • First checks for Java User Groups (JUG) and Java meetups on without success.
  • One website that’s really worth mentioning is Basically a forum for Java developers, it has an incredible number of registered users and quite some activity. Unfortunately for me, it’s mostly in Vietnamese. Incredible job though! I talked to one of the founders and heard that there also used to be real meetups in town and there are plans to revive them. Would love to see that and participate.
  • There’s also some activity in groups on LinkedIn, e.g. in Vietnam IT Community, in Vietnam Digital or in the IT subgroup of Linkin Vietnam. Not at all focused on Java or even software development but developers are hanging out there and if you’re looking to connect with some of them, you might be right.
  • Twitter is always a good source of information and so I’m also trying to expand my Twitter network of English-speaking and Vietnamese-speaking software developers. Java is also limited here, but I’m making progress. I started a list of the developers Vietnam I found on Twitter and hope it will grow over time. You’re invited to follow.
  • There has been a spin-off of the famous German JAX (originally for “Java, Apache, XML”, but by now covering the entire spectrum of enterprise software development) conferences, the “JAX Asia 2008″ in Singapore. Not exactly Vietnam, but close enough to make a trip for a conference that’s really worth it. Unfortunately it remained to be a one-time experiment that apparently just failed. I hope someone will try it again soon.
  • One more question I am asking myself is how popular Java really is in Vietnam. I am still trying to get reliable statistics and/or just a big number of personal opinions on that. Feel free to comment…

For the moment that’s about it, my current state of research. I found a lot more activity once I widened my search parameters (so to speak), e.g.  for “software development” (then including .NET development and others), “software” in general (including especially the whole field of ERP and CRM) or just plain “IT” (including Web 2.0, social media, digital marketing and such). More about that in one of the next posts. For now I just stick to what the title of this post promised, Java.