Basically, from the moment you are Java Champion, you could sit back. You are Java Champion for life, so you don’t have to do anything more. There is also no one saying you have to speak at certain conferences or write certain articles. You do it because you want to. Or not. But then again, why did you become Java Champion?
The Java community works by people who want to do things proactively. Everyone has a strong intrinsic motivation. For me, that motivation is very clear: Because I like to share knowledge, solve problems and work with people. That all comes together there. I can take beautiful trips, see the world, talk to people, impart knowledge and, of course, gain knowledge. Community involvement is a hobby for me, but I can now combine it perfectly with my work. The knowledge I gain through my role in the Java community also makes me more valuable in my work as a consultant. I know so much now, partly because I’m doing all this. Otherwise, I would have been a Java developer with a lot of knowledge, but nothing extra, like my vastly improved soft skills.
It is important that you decide for yourself how you want to proceed after becoming Java Champion. For me, for example, that is continuing to speak. Currently I am at foreign conferences five to ten times a year, I also speak five to ten times in the Netherlands and practically on a biweekly basis with clients. It used to be more, but that no longer fits my current situation, both business and personal. Because all that traveling is beautiful, but also intense. Last year I flew to Chicago on Monday, back home on Thursday, then to Belgium for a week and then back to Las Vegas from Monday to Friday. After that it was done, though; then I couldn’t explain it to my family – and to my employer, for that matter. So now I’ve become a little more selective, but what it gets me still outweighs the effort. The moment I feel like I don’t want to fly to America for a conference because it’s not worth it, I’m not going to do it. But as long as I feel the energy, I just go.