[Buzzvil Culture] What We Learn at Our Mobile Study Group
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[Buzzvil Culture] What We Learn at Our Mobile Study Group

What is the mobile study group?

At Buzzvil, the world’s first and largest lockscreen platform, the developers gather for the weekly mobile study group to review and discuss technologies, big and small, which are related to the central subject- ‘mobile’.  Of course, anyone can join. Also the company provides lunch for those who carry out study groups during lunch time. How great is that! Anywho, this study group established in July and we plan to continue on.

Our main subject is mobile, but discussion is open to all subjects related to development, such as development languages, specialized libraries and frameworks, development frames, and conferences such as Google I/O. We even had a discussion about which keyboard shortcuts we use most frequently.

Why did we start this study group?

The development field seems to be especially sensitive to cutting-edge issues. With frequent OS updates and the accompanying issue handling, changing development trends following important conferences, development libraries appearing as suddenly as meteors…. our developers need to keep up with these issues, and to process their thoughts about them. In addition, it goes without saying that this will become an important indicator for our employees, for whose careers this kind of skill acquisition is crucial.

Staying focused on work duties can distance one from these issues- not being able to see the forest because one is caught up looking at the trees. This mobile study group solves this issue. Our goal is to take time once a week to put down our work and contemplate diverse topics in development, and we have been progressing excellently with participation from a versatile, well rounded group.

What is our procedure?

Our study takes place every Monday, at lunchtime. The study topic is chosen by our members the previous week. Members study independently about the topic, and share their materials. On the day of the meeting, a portion of the time is used for individual study, and then each member shares their thoughts on the topic, based on their study.

As we proceed freely, based on the situation, we may not adhere to the above structure. Sometimes the members request a seminar about a specific topic, so a presenter is selected to provide materials and conduct a seminar. If a majority of members are very interested in a topic, we may go more in depth on the same topic the following week, or decide to have practice time. We have not tried this yet, but we are considering using our time to watch videos of important conferences.

What kinds of topics do we cover?

It’s impossible to list all of our topics; the following are representative cases.

  • RxJava: A Reactive extension for the Java library. Internal principles and structure.
  • Unit Test: Utilization of JUnit 4, Mockito, and Robolectric, and
  • Kotlin: Kotlin trends within Android, analysis of pros/cons.
  • MVP/MVVM: Contents and differences, from an Android architecture viewpoint.

While we are conducting continuous study on other topics, the above are topics that our members as a whole agreed to be factors that led them to want to join. Our members are feeling our group’s benefits in cases such as Kotlin, which is being used experimentally in projects, code compaction, and Null-Safety. The content which we study doen’t just remain as knowledge, our members learn skills to utilize in actual production, and we are always searching for diverse topics that can promote better technology use in production.

What’s different about Buzzvil’s study group?

Personally, I have participated in a significant number of study groups. I have experience with diverse topics, and formats such as lecture-type and debate-type. One group was maintained for over a year, where I learned many skills, but there were many disappointing groups which dissolved after meeting only a few times. Through these experiences, I have thought a lot about what makes a good study group, and which are the most important aspects. I can say confidently that the Buzzvil study group is a good one.

What are some concrete examples of how Buzzvil’s study group is high quality? The reasons are listed below.

First: Buzzvil’s horizontally-oriented culture.

Buzzvil is known for our horizontal and autonomous corporate culture. There is no restrictive hierarchy; anyone can freely express their opinion. You could ask what the corporate culture has to do with the study group- there is a huge difference when compared to study groups within vertically structured companies. In Buzzvil’s study group, anyone can share their opinion without worrying about being deferential, and will receive others’ opinions seriously, without judgment. This doesn’t just apply to debates- anyone is welcomed to share opinions on how to improve how the study group is run. This feedback is used to continuously improve the group. As a result, Buzzvil’s horizontally-oriented culture has had real, reasonable effects on how the study group is run.

Second: outstanding members

The members are, of course, an important part of a study group. The capabilities and enthusiasm of our members determine the quality and sustainability of our group. In this sense, Buzzvil is an especially blessed organization. Looking around me, I see many who possess capabilities so outstanding that I can’t help but wonder “Where did you come from?” Human Resources must be very good at their jobs. Anyways, Buzzvil has a very well-rounded group of talent. There are many who possess huge amounts of knowledge in their field, those who love development and learning new skills. Some are so passionate that they hold seminars independently, on their own time. Studying with these people can’t be anything but beneficial.

Third: No Coercion, No Obligation

In my opinion, the most important element of a good study group is sustainability. No matter how good a study group is, it is difficult to sustain itself with impractical scheduling and oppressive tasks. Unless the goal is a one-time, focused acquisition of knowledge, what is important is how persistently the members can participate and study. In that sense, mandatory participation and obligatory assignments must be avoided. Study must be self-motivated, and study systems that try to obligate participation only result in members going through the motions. No-one is passionate about every topic. People must come before study, and study is a personal freedom.

I come to my conclusion from the above points- Buzzvil has an exceptional study group.

Conclusion

The Buzzvil study group has received encouragement and recommendation from many community members, including CEOs. They understand that strengthening employees’ capabilities also strengthens the company’s capabilities, and have provided policy-level support. The company supports study groups, clubs and self-development activities. It also allows employees to buy as many books as they want. I close this passage with the thought that it’s the little things that are Buzzvil’s truly valuable assets. Thank you.

About the writer:

Ethan Yoo, Software Engineer (Android)

Hello. I’m Ethan, Android developer at Buzzvil. I am interested in any subject regarding development and I love talking about it with my co-workers. My main languages is Java, but I have experience with Kotlin, Python, JavaScript and Haskell. Recently, I have found passion in System Architecture and I try to figure out how Functional and Reactive Programming can be expressed with Android. I want my work to change the world. That’s why I code at Buzzvil.