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One of our organisers, Fatos Ismajli, an undergraduate of Kings College London, attended a presentation at his former uni about the importance of societies to graduates. Guest speakers from three organisations, the IEEE, the BCS (Chartered Institute for IT) and the IET (The Institution For Engineering & Technology) all made presentations about what they offered to graduates and how they could help with career progression.
Being an active member of a community is an excellent way to network with fellow developers, share information and potentially even acquire new jobs. Obviously the GDC should still be your number one J but these other societies could also be valuable resources.
Here is a brief summary on each, but for more detailed information you should definitely check them out:
The IEEE is the world’s largest professional association dedicated to advancing technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity. They run competitions, award scholarships, allow students access to an extensive library and have several special interest groups, including a computing society. They also have a general news site (http://spectrum.ieee.org/) and their IEEEXtreme competition is a world-renowned programming contest: (http://www.ieee.org/membership_services/membership/students/competitions/xtreme/index.html).
More information here: http://www.ieee.org
The IET was Founded 140 years ago and is the world’s leading professional societies for the engineering and technology community. They also run competitions, awards and scholarships.
More information here: http://www.theiet.org/
Finally, the BCS. They champion the global IT profession and the interests of individuals engaged in that profession for the benefit of all. The Institute fosters links between experts from industry, academia and business to promote new thinking, education and knowledge sharing. Again they run competitions and scholarships.
More information here: http://www.bcs.org/
One more noteworthy society that weren’t present at the event is the ACM (Association of Computer Machinery), who are one of the largest groups dedicated to computer science. They produce a large catalogue of specialist publications and also run several SIGs like the IEEE.
More info here: www.acm.org
I hope this brief guide to graduate friendly communities helps, I’m sure there are many more out there, but these are some of the most well known.
If you have any questions about any of the above or require careers advice don’t hesitate to give me a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My names Aaron Braund, I’m the latest member to join RecWorks, I’m going to be looking after much of the marketing here. If anyone has any questions about the GDC or RecWorks then just fire me an email at email@example.com.
Last night we had our Lego XP Game event ran in association with Thoughtworks and Queen Mary University.
The event ran from 6pm till 7.30pm and went really well. 30 people came along, a blend of graduates, lecturers and consultants from Thoughtworks. The event was lively, with some great fun had by all. Afterwards, everyone went to the Half Moon pub for some beers and some informal networking.
Here is the event page – If you passed by and have some feedback please add it as a comment here – http://www.meetup.com/grad-dc/events/40795692/.
The event demonstrated the benefits of working within an agile team. Groups had to build Lego animals for a “client” following an agile software development process. Tasks were prioritised to be delivered on time so there was a high emphasis on teamwork. Groups worked well in general and produced some very interesting results. Meeting the clients ever changing needs and expectations was challenging, but ultimately fun for all!
Thanks first of all to Queen Mary University of London for allowing us to host the event in such a spacious environment.
Massive thanks also goes to the team at Thoughtworks who acted as the clients and explained the agile process so expertly.
Finally thanks to everyone in the group that made it out last night. The GDC is a rapidly growing network of undergraduate developers with a serious interest in programming. If you know anyone that would be interested in joining, please forward some details.
Our next event is the December Code Share. Details can be found here – http://www.meetup.com/grad-dc/events/41237242/ – avid Java puzzlers and coders should definitely come along!
One more thing, RecWorks are always actively recruiting for graduate developers, if you’re looking for a new role after uni then please contact myself, Laurence or Barry by phone or email for an informal chat. If you are not sure what to do after you graduate and would like to discuss your options or just get some free informal CV/Interview advice then either check out www.developercareers.co.uk or let me know and I’ll put you in touch with our careers concierge team.
Hope to see you at the next one!
Vithun Kumar Gajendra is a recent Masters Graduate. In this short post Vithun recounts how software went from being a skill to a passion. It is well worth a read to discover how all of a sudden things started to click and how that has already started to make a difference in his work.
My name is Vithun Kumar Gajendra. I am originally from India, and completed a Master’s course in UK under a student visa. Before coming to UK, I worked as a Software Engineer for about 15 months, and I was very much in the thick of action. This work experience would also go on to help me to understand the stuff I studied in the Master’s course even better. My experience here was like a typical recent graduate who enjoyed doing quick programming tasks at college level. I used to solve problems very quickly (I used to be the quickest in my batch at office!), and would go on accomplishing a lot of things within these 15 months. I worked on problems and mini-projects in fields ranging across Shell scripts, CSS, JSP, Servlets, Oracle PL-SQL, SOAP Web Services, a bit of Spring etc. I had a good time working as part of a team making use of tools like CVS, Bugzilla etc. I also got introduced to how tools like Eclipse, Maven, Ant, Hudson etc. were being used in a development environment (I had no idea about the existence of some of these tools before!). In short, this was a period where I was a really good jack of all trades, but unfortunately the master of none. I now look back at that time, and feel that my speed was actually a curse. I did not have the patience to stop and look in detail at some of the things I had done and understand them in depth. I just thought I could do anything and did not worry about how I did it.
I then came over to the UK to do my Master’s course. I did an MSc in Advanced Web Engineering in the University of Essex. It was here that I had my first “eureka” moment. I had this module called “Software Design and Architecture”. In this module, I was formally introduced to the concept of “coupling” in software engineering. And I suddenly realised that I had never thought about writing code in a clean way before. All that I focussed on before was to write code that would get the job done. Now I suddenly realised that there was a good (“artistic” if you might) way to write code. I suddenly realised what a fool I had been! And all of a sudden, I began realising the role of concepts like refactoring and design patterns. (I had been part of a “refactoring” team in my previous work experience without having this knowledge). And now, I turned wise. I realised there is always much more to learn (and apply).
Once I completed my Master’s, I had to wait a few months. I could not find a job as I was still under student visa. And I wouldn’t get my work visa until I got my degree results. So it was in this period that I decided to have a look at Spring. You might ask: Why Spring? I had been introduced to Spring at Mformation. I was required to rewrite existing DAOs using Spring templates and thereby eliminate boilerplate code. I just followed the instructions of my team lead: “Rewrite the code using Spring methods. Declare something in some XMLs and it would work.” It did work, and I did not care at that time how it worked. For some reason, after my Master’s, I thought I’ll have a look at how this worked. And then another eureka moment struck me. Spring was not something that just helped in simplifying DAOs. It was LOTS more than that. I began studying it in detail from the basics(Dependency Injection, Aspect Oriented Programming). The more I read about it, the more I started getting excited.
By this time, I got an internship offer. They required someone with HTML and MySQL skills, and although I wanted to work with Java, I tried to keep myself occupied until I got my work visa. But my interview here went rather well, which in turn made them think about my position as being somewhat permanent and not just an intern. However I joined on a temporary contract (as I still had just a student visa). I was given an in-house problem (of reasonable complexity) to solve. I came up with a concept, which I thought would work. I wrote a proposal, and my manager suggested me to implement it using PHP. I requested him if I could do it in Java, and after a bit of reluctance (because PHP was used mainly for development within the company) he agreed. I now got the platform to use my Spring knowledge (gained mainly by reading and doing small examples). I developed a proof-of-concept within 7 days. Through this course, I made use of Spring, Hibernate, Maven and Eclipse. I created a well-structured and organized code-base. My manager was impressed with the solution and the speed at which I implemented it. He considered it an “elegant” solution to the problem. And this time I was satisfied that my speed had not come at the cost of learning. I understood more about Spring and my interest in Spring has increased even more. I informed the management that I did not intend to take up a permanent position (because they were looking for someone who would do more with PHP, and I did not want to give up Java and Spring, and I also wanted to relocate to London). So towards the end of my tenure, I had to explain the application I had created to a colleague who had a good understanding of Java, but no knowledge of Spring/Hibernate. Within the next couple of days, I managed to impress her with what all Spring had to offer. She was also able to easily pick up the code I had written (and the best practices I had followed). She also decided to use my proof-of-concept as the base and extend it to completely satisfy the requirements. I left the place with a very good feeling and a sense of accomplishment, and with good relationships forged.
Vithun Kumar Gajendra