The Toronto tech community is missing out on a big opportunity to share. Here’s what we’re doing about it.

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Toronto’s startup community includes a number of companies with great potential, an increasing amount of venture funding to support growth and a solid talent base. The ecosystem is really just beginning to mature.

While there are a number of Meetups and a growing number of high-calibre events that highlight some of our top leaders in the community, there are few small settings that facilitate discussion with product development peers. I’m sure we could all learn from one another. Why not have development teams from awesome startup A talking to product managers from awesome startup B? Or test engineers from big tech company A talking to a test lead from tiny startup B? There are so many ideas that could be shared, but there’s no forum for this learning.

We think we’re missing an opportunity to improve the overall knowledge of people in Toronto tech and to maximize our ability to collaborate to build amazing companies. We think the tech community would benefit from more conversation and collaboration across these silos. It’s essential to the continued success of the local tech ecosystem that we create a venue for people to talk to one another.

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Four ways Java Developers are feeling the impact of microservices

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This post was made possible by speaking with several talented local Developers: Matthew Smith (Product Manager/Architect at Pivotal Labs), David Kiss (Sr. Java Developer at Sysomos) and Jagtesh Chadha (Software Engineer at Bibliocommons).

With the increasing complexity of web applications and the rise of the cloud, DevOps and continuous delivery, there has been an increased move by software companies to using containerized microservices. We’re living in a world with a higher demand for performance and an expectation of reliable service available anytime, anywhere.

I turned to several experienced Toronto Java developers to ask: how have microservices changed the way you work?

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The gdR 2014 Year in Review: Doing our part to help the tech community grow

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2014 was a banner year for the Toronto tech and startup community, with more activity and new initiatives than we’ve ever seen before. While our team has been busy placing tons of great people at some of Toronto’s best startups and software companies, it’s also in the fabric of the gdR family to volunteer with, sponsor and cheer on initiatives that we think add value to developers’ careers and the tech community as a whole (plus, we believe in good karma!). From grassroots projects to international outreach, here’s some of what our team was part of in 2014.

Launching gdR Grow Events: In fall 2014, we launched our own series of invite-only learning events for developers, QA, product and tech leaders based on feedback from our community about what they seek from learning and networking events. Our first two Grow Events featured panelists from companies like Wattpad, Pivotal Labs, Upverter and Boltmade.

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Four tried-and-true tips to help UX Designers ease the time crunch

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This post was made possible by having insightful conversations with a few great Toronto designers: Ricardo Vazquez, UI/UX Designer at Mozilla (@iamrvazquez), Alex M. Chong, Product Designer at Pivotal Labs (@alexmchong) and Huda Idrees, Director of Design at Wealthsimple (@hidrees).

The workflow of an agile software company can present challenging timelines to UX Designers. The consistent, repeatable work cycle of sprints is great at pushing regularly improved, working products through the door. UX Designers, however, need to navigate these tight timelines while collaborating across different parts of the product team. While truly agile workflows ideally entail choosing between completing a list of deliverables with a flexible deadline or prioritizing a deadline and getting as much done as possible, feeling time-poor is a pain point that agile designers at startup or growth-stage software companies have cited to me as a key challenge in their work.

What do UX pros do to make efficient use of their time on agile teams ? Here are some proven tips that emerged when I recently spoke with three local designers.

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