New Course: Getting Started with Spring Boot 2

I am so excited to announce that my new course is live! This course was a long time in the making and I am just so thrilled that I get to share it with all of you because I believe it is my best one yet!

What’s Included in the course?

The biggest feedback I received from you was that you wanted a more project focused course instead of some I’m examples. In this course, we are going to build a real application together from start to finish. We are going to use the latest technologies to build out our application including:

  • Spring Framework 5
  • Spring Boot 2
  • Spring Data JPA
  • Spring Security 
  • So Much More

This course is packed with over 10 hours of content and I really hope you enjoy it. I created a short trailer to give you a better idea of what to expect. 

The Road to this course launch

If you had a chance to read my content announcements in September I gave you a pretty good update as to what has been going on in my life. Trying to find dedicated time to work on this course is probably the biggest reason for the delay of this course. I also wanted to make sure that it wasn’t rushed and that I was able to produce the course that you asked for.

I can also tell you that I learned some valuable lesson producing this course. I am in the process of trying to gather my thoughts and put something out there that might help other developers who want to create their own courses. I might not be the best course creator on the planet but I have definitely learned a few things and can hopefully show you what not to do. 

Video Editing

Launching a new course can be extremely gratifying and very stressful at the same time. I don’t have this feeling when I write a new blog post or launch a new video on YouTube and it’s probably due to the exchange of money. Even under $10 for 10 hours of content, I still feel a sense of Imposter Syndrome. Who am I to ask for money in exchange for knowledge? What if everyone hates my course? What if they don’t learn anything?  These are all very real feelings that I continue to battle. Thank you to all of you who continue to support my efforts, I appreciate you more than you will ever know. 


I am really happy to finally get this course into your hands. This is not a final product and I will be working on a few things to improve this course over the next month. If you have feedback (good or bad) please let me hear it so I can make this the best Spring Boot 2 course around. 

Get this course for $9.99

Cleveland Women in Tech Conference Recap

This is going to be just a quick recap of the inaugural Cleveland Women in Tech Conference. I think I will have a little bit of a unique perspective to share on this as I am a presenter at this conference and one of a handful of men in attendance. 

Opening Keynote

The conference was held at Corporate College in Warrensville Heights and last I heard there were about 230+ attendees. The conference in Columbus doubled in year 2 and I really hope we see the same in Cleveland next year.

Conference Keynote

The title of the keynote was “Making HERstory stick” and I thought it was an amazing panel discussion with some CIOs from the Cleveland area, each who had some unique perspectives on each of the questions. 

Various industry leading trailblazers from prominent organizations all speak about their journey to leadership and their views on developing and nurturing a welcoming supportive culture of diversity. Discussion will include how innovation in technology changed their organization, delivery to the business and improved results.

Making HERstory stick

The panel was made up of:

  • Sandy Rapp – VP & CIO, The Timken Company
  • Tracey Petkovic – CIO, Westfield Insurance
  • Jane Alexander – CIO, The Cleveland Museum of Art
  • Lisa Ward – VP R&D and Strategy, STERIS Corporation
CIO Panel

I wish I would have had my laptop in front of me to take some notes but I didn’t. There were some really great questions asked and some excellent responses.

One thing that really stood out to me that everyone in tech has an obligation to take the businesses requirements and then return to them a solution. You shouldn’t be taking solution requests from the business and I agree with this 1000%.

Sessions I attended

I’ll be honest and say it was pretty tough being one of only a few guys sitting in on each of these sessions today. It’s that perspective that gave me a greater appreciation for the women who make it out to these conferences who are mostly filled with men. Not that I didn’t already appreciate you but I think I will make a greater effort next time I see someone in that position to make them feel more welcome.

The Blockchain Disruption – Lisa Turner

This was a good introduction to Blockchain and cryptocurrency. This is another one of those technologies on my list that I am interested in but at the same time not sure why I am interested in it. I get that the idea of decentralized networks are important for privacy.

What I don’t get is where all of this currency actually comes from. I mean I understand the role of miners but It still makes not sense to me how we can just invent currency. As much as we hate the big bad banks I at least know that my money is backed by the federal reserve. 

I did find a stand at the conference for an upcoming conference in Cleveland put on by Blockland. I don’t know if I can make it to this but this seems like a really good conference that I would love to attend. 

Imposter Syndrome and How mentoring helped me combat it – Joanna Hughes

Joanna is a front-end developer for Vitamix and started the presentation off detailing what Imposter Syndrome is. She started out describing how this affects junior developers and in particular females. 

While both of these are true I want to point out that 20 years into my career I still feel like an imposter at times. I didn’t go to some fancy school and I haven’t worked for any of the big tech companies that only hire the best of the best. I often get the feeling of who am I and why should anyone listen to me. You just need to keep reassuring yourself that you know what you’re doing and to move forward.

She went into a conversation about how mentoring other developers really helped her combat Imposter Syndrome. When you start to see that other developers face the same problems as you do it really helps take down a wall. I thought Joanna did a great job and couldn’t believe that it was her first conference talk. You certainly couldn’t tell! 

My Presentation

My presentation was titled “The rest of your life starts today. A guide to continued learning and personal growth.” and I had the session right after lunch. Now, being a conference attendee pro, I know the sessions right after lunch are tough to stay awake in so I was going to need to be on my game today. 

While I was setting up my presentation the room started to fill up quickly. It filled up so much that everyone started lining the walls and sitting on the floor. Luckily the event staff was on it and wheeled in a ton of chairs. Thanks to everyone for making a guy feel special. 

I thought my presentation went really well. I practiced enough to where I knew what I was going to talk about in each slide without it feeling rehearsed. I had some great pictures of my daughter in there so even if it wasn’t going well I could always fall back on the cute baby.

I thought it was a good pace and my hope is that everyone learned something new yesterday. Thanks again to everyone who attended the presentation, asked questions and laughed at my jokes. If you want to grab the slide deck or the resources I discussed you can get them here.

Tech Elevator

A special thanks to my Tech Elevator family for not only helping me with the presentation but also supporting it. They were all there bright and early to volunteer for the conference. You ladies rock! 

Finding Mentors

I got an interesting question after the presentation. The question is where did my mentors come from and where can we find our mentors at. I feel like I did an ok job answering this in person but there is so much more I want to say on the subject. 


I am going to try and put together a whole post on this but here is the short answer. The best place to find mentors are in the places where your types of people are. If you’re a junior developer and work for a bigger company with lots of developers, this is a great place to start. If you work for a smaller company try to attend local meetup groups where like minded developers might be. 

Another great approach to this is to get involved in an online community. If you are really into the VueJS framework for instance, be where other VueJS developers are. Try getting involved in discussions in the places where they hang out, comment on blog articles and if you can try and contribute back to the community. I have made some amazing friends and developers I look up to just by being involved in a community and attending meetups & conferences. 


I had such an amazing time at this conference. Weather I’m asked back next year or not my hope is that this conference really grows. I think it’s a great place for women in tech to have their voices heard and inspire the next generation of movers and shakers. Round of applause Cleveland, you did really well yesterday 🙂

Cleveland Women in Tech Presentation

Today I have the honor of representing Tech Elevator and presenting at the very 1st getWITit conference in Cleveland. This conference has been a huge success in Columbus and it is just getting started in Cleveland. 

Women in Tech Conference

When I first started my new position at Tech Elevator I was approached about speaking at this conference. I jumped all over this opportunity to represent us at this inaugural conference. 

When we started working on an idea for the presentation I wasn’t really sure what we were going to do. A coworker suggested that I talk about something I am passionate about, learning. I thought it was a great idea and ran with it. 

Presentation Details

The title of my presentation is “The rest of your life starts today. A guide to continued learning and personal growth.”

This is the first time I have ever given a presentation on something that wasn’t code related. I mean I found a way to work in some code related slides but that isn’t the theme of the presentation.

This presentation is about something I love, learning new skills. It also comes at a great time in my life. I have a newborn at home so time comes at a premium these days. In this presentation I share some of my best tips on how to learn a new skill. After 20 years of “loving to learn” I believe that I have a lot to share around this subject. 

Slide Deck

I had a lot of fun putting this slide deck together. While it isn’t perfect and there are some slides I wish weren’t as boring I think for the most part I am happy. They are fun slides and my hope is they will keep the audience engaged. Did I mention there were 52 of them? 


Throughout the presentation, I mentioned a number of resources. I wanted this to be a place where I can mention all of those resources so here they are. 

Books Tools Websites


I really wanted to thank the conference organizers for allowing me to speak. I also want to thank everyone who came out to my presentation. I know my coworkers will be in full force so I also want to thank them for supporting me. If you’re interested in having me give this presentation at your next conference or meetup, contact me.

Content Announcements

I don’t feel like I have had a chance to really sit down and talk with all of you. I want to spend some time with you today and let you know where I have been and tell you about some exciting news I have.

Content Announcements

What have you been up to Dan

My Daughter was Born!

I want to apologize for my absence over the past few months. Someone really should have warned me that I wouldn’t get anything done with a newborn. Who knew that a baby would be so much work (and fun at the same time). My wife and I are beyond grateful to have Isabella in our lives but the fact of that matter is she has taken up all of our time. She is growing right before our eyes and is even helping Dad with his content creation.

Bella helping Dad with his new course

Tech Elevator

If you haven’t heard I have also taken a new position with Tech Elevator. I can’t tell you how excited I am to get started. I still remember working full time and going to school at night to learn computer science. I remember sitting in these classes completely lost at times. I also remember looking up to these instructors and just admiring how they could know so much. Now I am in that position of helping the next generation of programmers. Life has a funny way of paying you back and rewarding your hard work. It seriously is a dream come true for me.

Get to the point Dan

What I am getting to is that I realize I can no longer spend all of my nights and weekends producing content like I used to. This is also something I don’t want to give up because I love helping students learn a new subject. What this does mean is that I need to be much smarter about the content I am producing and maximize the time that I do have.

I want to get back to frequently posting on my Blog & YouTube but I am still trying to figure out what that looks like. I feel like for tutorials my time is better spent on videos for YouTube. In the past, I have been way too consumed with finding the perfect shot versus focusing on the content. I am going to keep trying to get over that and try to remember that people are viewing my videos for the tutorial, not the set design or video production.

I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on this though. My thought is to release a tutorial on YouTube first and then follow it up with a Blog post that includes the video.

What feels like a lifetime ago I announced that I was working on a Spring Boot 2 course. I mentioned earlier what has been taking up my time but the other hold up on this course was the massive size of the course I wanted to build. With limited time on my hands, I realize that producing these large 15-hour courses are probably not realistic.

I have made some good progress on this course and I have a really cool announcement about it but first I want to address the real problem. When I set out to teach someone a subject I want to teach them everything. This is great in certain cases but not every single course I make needs to cover this much content. I need to get away from my fear that If I am going to teach a subject I need to throw everything including the kitchen sink at you. What I have found is that students do want to learn everything but maybe not all at once as it can be overwhelming. 

With that, I am slimming down my Getting Started with Spring Boot 2 course and adding some very targeted follow-up courses. For instance, I wanted to teach you how to take the application we build in the course into production but I was only going to show you AWS. It makes much more sense to create a targeted course that shows you how to get your application into production on a variety of platforms.

Smaller, targeted courses are my plan going forward and I have something really exciting in the works, but more on that in a couple of months.

If you have taken one of my courses on Udemy you might have noticed that I haven’t been answering questions lately. Not to worry I would never leave you without help. I hired a teacher’s assistant a few months ago and I am so happy and grateful for his help. Thai knows his stuff and he has been very helpful answering students questions. If he answers one of your questions please let him know what a wonderful job he is doing. This was another case of delegating some work so that I can get that time back to focus on content creation. 

I still haven’t figured out a schedule but that is what I will be working on over the next couple of months.

  • Producing consistent YouTube & Blog Content
  • Completing Getting Started with Spring Boot 2 Course
  • Spring into Production Course
  • A new platform (teaser)

Getting Started with Spring Boot 2

Now that we got all of the housekeeping out of the way I want to talk about my new course, Getting Started with Spring Boot 2. I am happy to announce that I am pre-releasing my new course today!

As of today, I have 4 modules complete (23 lessons) with another 5-6 in the works. So what is the incentive for you to order the course now?

  • You are going to be the first to get your hands on this course.
  • Get weekly course updates.
  • Help provide feedback and shape the final course.

If you’re interested in getting early access to the course or just want to find out more please head over to the course landing page. I don’t have a schedule of when this course is going to be complete and available on other platforms so if you want to get your hands on it, this is your chance.

Introduction to Spring Boot

Now that we are focused on the Spring Boot 2 course I won’t be making any updates to my Introduction to Spring Boot course. This is still a very relevant course and with close to 12 hours of content, it is packed with everything you need to get up and running with Spring Boot.

I have created a coupon so that everyone can get their hands on this course for only $9.99 but hurry up, I only created 99,999 of them 🙂


I really appreciate the support of everyone who visits my blog, watches a YouTube video or purchases one of my courses. Your feedback and support keep me going and I love that I helping people around the world.

I am joining Tech Elevator

I am happy to announce that I am joining Tech Elevator. I am beyond excited to join this amazing company and I can’t wait to tell you a little bit more about them and what they do.

Tech Elevator

What I am leaving behind

Before we get to the good news and what I have to look forward to, I want to spend a few minutes talking about what I am leaving behind. For the past 6 1/2 years, I have spent my days working for Markel. This is an amazing company that has done some amazing things, and I just want to thank them for the opportunities they gave me.

I was brought into Markel by my good friend Jason Delmore and I can’t thank him enough for everything he has done for me over the years. I had a chance to work with some really great people and work on some really fun projects.

This was a really hard decision for me because I really enjoyed the people I worked with and my commute to work was a short one (I work from home). I gave up some things in this move to do something I am really passionate about. Stepping outside of your comfort zone is never easy, but this is usually where the biggest rewards in life come from.

Hello, Tech Elevator!

Tech Elevator is a Coding Bootcamp that started right here in Cleveland, Ohio and now has 4 locations. In just 14 weeks they can teach you the skills that you will need to land a job as a software developer. What’s great about Tech Elevator is they have a 92% graduation rate and an 89% placement rate. That placement rate is the top in the country, how awesome is that!

Josh teaching students at our Cleveland Campus

What is a Coding Bootcamp?

Traditionally, if you wanted to learn a specific skill you had to go to college to get it. You could attend a 4-year university or a more targeted trade school that typically takes 2 years. Even in a 2-year program, you’re typically taking other classes that don’t really have anything to do with the skill you’re trying to learn.

This is where a coding boot camp or specialized trade school comes in. In a coding boot camp, you will spend a shorter amount of time in school but you’re going to learn about software development the whole time. This allows the boot camp to focus in on the skills you need to land a job. The need for these boot camps is due to the overwhelming amount of available software development positions across the country.

Why Tech Elevator

Tech Elevator limits the class sizes so that instructors have time to focus on each student and it’s one of the things that I really admire about them. They don’t just spend 14 weeks in a textbook, they teach you concepts and give you practical examples to work on.

The last 2 weeks is used splitting students up into teams, teaching them agile principles and having them go off and build a real-world project together. I was able to see some of the student’s projects and for only having 2 weeks to complete and having just learned to program, I was really impressed! 

They also have a pathway program that helps students with interview prep and the placement of graduates. I think this is as important as the computer skills they are learning. When I graduated I was sent out on my own with no help at all and just expected to find my own way. They take a real interest in student placement and it shows by being #1 in the country.

Check us out

If this sounds like something you’re interested in, we have 4 locations in the following cities.

What is my Role?

Now that you know a little bit about coding boot camps and Tech Elevator, I want to share with you what I will be doing. I am coming in as a Product Developer and my main product is our curriculum which has 2 tracks and is taught at all 4 of our locations.

It is my responsibility to take a look at the curriculum and make sure that the students are learning the skills that they will need and that employers are looking for. This will be done by taking feedback from instructors, listening to students and staying up to date in a fast-paced industry. We only get 14 weeks with these students and we need to make sure that every single day is an important one.

I will also be working on supplemental material for the students to help in making their day to day learning experience an even better one. We also have corporate training classes and we will be developing new classes for a variety of topics.

We are hiring!

Join our growing, passionate team and contribute your talents to our mission of elevating people, companies, and communities. Browse all openings:

We are hiring! 


I consider myself extremely lucky to be a part of something special. I get to wake up and contribute to the next generation of software developers and for that, I am very grateful.

This is a picture of the most recent graduates in Cleveland along with the Cleveland team.

What you should learn as a Java Developer in 2018

A peak into the current landscape of Java Development in 2018

In this tutorial, we are going to look at what you should be learning in Java Development in 2018. 

Java Development 2018

When you’re trying to keep up to date or learn a new language it can often be confusing on what you should be learning in that space. New projects pop up and often go away and its hard to tell what’s still relevant. In this article, we will try and make sense of what you should be learning today as a Java Developer. 

What’s new in Spring Boot 2

A look at new features in Spring Framework 5 & Spring Boot 2

Spring Boot 2 was just released and I am so pumped to see it in action in the coming months. This release is the culmination of 17 months of work and over 6800 commits by 215 different individuals. There are some really great features to talk about so let’s talk about What’s new in Spring Boot 2. 

What's new in Spring Boot 2

In this article we are going to look at:

  • The history of Spring Boot
  • What’s new in Spring Boot
  • Spring Boot 2 Migration Guide
  • Resources

Are you interested in Getting started with Spring Boot 2.0?

In a series of workshops I am going to introduce you to Spring Boot 2.0

I am really excited to announce that February is going to be packed full of Spring Boot 2 workshops.

Getting Started with Spring Boot 2.0

Spring Boot 2 is packed full of new features and I can’t wait to share some of them with you. In a series of online workshops and 1 in-person presentation, we are going to learn all about Getting Started with Spring Boot 2.0

Happy New Year!!! My 2018 Goals

My goals for the year and how I plan to accomplish them.

Another year has come and gone and after spending some time reflecting on 2017, it’s time to start looking forward to 2018. 

2018 Goals

Just so we are clear on where this is going, this isn’t a “new year, new me” post. If you want to accomplish goals, you have to define them first. I sat down this week and wrote down some things I wanted to accomplish in 2018.

My 2017 Year in Review

A look back at the year that was 2017

It seems like we say this every year, but can you believe the year is over already? 

2017 Year in Review

2017 is going to go down as one of the more memorable years of my life. I thought I would take this time to give you a little “year in review” before I share my 2018 goals.