“This post is from one of our current members who signed up and has attended the events to date, to give you an idea what to expect…”

I first heard about the Graduate Development Community (GDC) in November, through an internal email from the Senior Student Advisor at Brunel University. I have been to three events since then and have thoroughly enjoyed my time so far. The organizers have asked me to provide some feedback about the events so here’s a little post documenting my views.

The email I received about the GDC was sent to the 2nd and final year students in the computing department. The email was about the GDC’s first official event, which was held in the SkillsMatter office. It was a tutorial/presentation by ThoughtWorks about Agile methodology accompanied with an Extreme Programming (XP) Development game with LEGO pieces. I was interested about learning more regarding agile methodology, so naturally I signed up on MeetUp.com and responded with a “yes, I’m coming” to the event.

I wasn’t sure what to expect with the first meet up, I had been to one of the London Facebook Developer’s Garage events a few weeks prior, which I had great fun at. I arrived a little early and met a few others who arrived around the same time. Sure, I was a little nervous at meeting new people, but everyone attending was interested in software development so everyone had at least one thing in common. I broke the ice with a few people by just asking them how they found out about the event and how their day has been so far. I met quite a lot of the attendees, roughly 40 people showed up.

ThoughtWorks LEGO Agile Presentation
One team hard at work discussing how they will approach the task

The presentation by ThoughtWorks was great; I paid much more attention than most of my lectures at university. After the presentation, we were split into roughly four teams of 8-10 people. Each group was given a box of LEGO and we were asked to build a specific thing over 3 different iterations. The full product eventually came together as we progressed through the iterations. After the game, each group tallied up there marks and my group came first! It was a fun, interesting and informative event. Most of the group headed to the pub after for a few beverages.

ThoughtWorks LEGO Agile Presentation
What we ended up making

Overall, my first meet up was very good so when I heard about the next one I almost responded with a “yes” without reading the date.

The second meet up was a joint event with the London Java Community (LJC), another group managed and run by Barry Cranford. It was a pub event, in which we all meet up in a pub and network with each other over a bunch of beverages. Why would any student or recent graduate decline a pub event?

Anyway, I went to this meet up and met quite a few people from different backgrounds. I found out that some of the attendees were also in some of the other groups on MeetUp.com, such as the London Android group. It was interesting to find out the different perspectives and views people had on technology and software development. I learned about ProjectEuler.net through one of the attendees, which is a website with 250+ mathematical/computer programming problems. The trick is that you have to develop code to solve each problem; however I want to learn more languages so I will have to solve each problem with a different programming language, this could get quite tricky!

The second meet up was a success too, I must be on a roll here, or maybe the GDC is just the right group that I had been waiting to join for a long time.

I received a notification about the third GDC event entitled “A glimpse into the future: What to expect in IT by 2020.” It was a talk presented by IBM’s Rob Nicholson about the Global Technology Outlook (GTO). IBM has been doing the GTO for over 25 years and spends around $6 billion a year in the Research and Development department to stay on top of everything. I was interested to find out what lies ahead in technology because I’d more than likely be working with it.

I accepted the invite and showed up to the event. I saw a few familiar faces and met a few new people who had joined the GDC through word of mouth. It was a very informative talk and I am excited about what will happen in the near future for technology and once again we all headed down to the pub after the event for a few.

Collected Business Cards via Networking
Some of the business cards I have gained by networking

If you’re currently studying a computing related degree, or you’ve recently graduated, or if you’re just interested in computing than why don’t you come along to our next meet up, you’ll be sure to have a great time. Developers are more sociable then you might think, and Barry is very helpful and accommodating. You’ll learn lots and you’ll be able to network with other graduates and professionals, plus you’ll have fun!

Daniel Lemon

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