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The Graduate Developer Community was set up with the intention being able to inspire, guide and act as mentors for undergraduates with an interest in Software Development. The group has been running for the last 2 years and we have now got connections with many universities, technical societies and companies in London.

One of our main principals is in helping students to understand their options beyond University. We have found that there are many myths in this area and that many undergraduates are not always clear on their options once they leave university. We are involved in a number of initiatives to help students find their way through the industry including the GDC Careers website, which hosts interviews with many industry mentors and tells their story through software.

We are now in the process of setting up a program which we are branding as ‘Meet a mentor’ in association with RecWorks.

The goal of the program is to run a series of events within different universities. With inspiration from unconferences, the events will have a vibrant ‘speed dating’ style in which mentors will spend 10-15 minutes speaking to a set group of 5-10 students before moving on to another group. We believe this approach will be far more effective than a standard presentation in helping individuals feel more engaged with the mentors and ask questions relevant to their particular interests.

We are looking to build a network of ‘mentors’ that would be interested in speaking to students about their stories and answering their questions. All we are looking for at this point is someone that may be interested in spending 1-2 hours, once or twice a year (although there will be opportunity to go far beyond this). There is very little expectation of you, but a lot of opportunity.

The program will be promoted by the GDC in association with RecWorks, who will be responsible for co-ordinating and organising the events.


What would constitute a mentor:

– Software developers, Testers, Business Analysts, CTOs, Trainers, Academics, PhDs, Development Managers, IT Managers. Seniority or experience level is not important, but passion is. Anyone with an ounce of passion for their discipline within software should apply
– Open Source Software developers, User Group leaders, Agile enthusiasts, Software Craftsmen, Opinionated technologists… the more opinionated the better

What would you have to do:

– Turn up at a university either inside or outside of core business hours (let us know your preference)
– Speak to a small groups of 5-10 students about your experiences and answer any questions that students may have

What would you get out of it

– An ability to tell the next generation of thought leaders about your story, company, product or open source project
– A chance to make a genuine impact on someone elses career.
– A chance to actually inspire a great many people to do the things you believe in (writing clean code, getting involved in Agile, considering testing as a career, get involved in open source software development etc.)
– A chance to say “in my day…”

How to get involved

– Just send me an email at I’ll add you onto a mailing list through which we will let you know about further opportunities to get involved.

We will take care of every other part of the organisation, you will be presented with a date, time and institution to get involved and all you have to do is let us know if you can make it. There will be no expectation of you, so if you’re just interested in getting involved directly or just to see what is going on then please let me know.

I’m really enthusiastic about this taking off and will keep the blog updated as soon as we have our first few events.


Barry Cranford


What is the GDC?

The GDC, or Graduate Development Community is an independent community of undergraduate software developers. Our goal is to bridge the gap between the worlds of Academia and Business. We organise and host presentations and events with senior members of the development community as well as offering advice, guidance, internships and jobs through our community site.