An Afternoon with

Today I spent a couple of hours at the office in Bristol.  They run 12-week courses for people looking for a career in tech.  Typically, their students are new to IT, looking to change their career.  _nology are associated with Opus Talent Solutions, together they aim to find every student a job at the end of the course.

_nology are associated with Opus Talent Solutions, together they aim to find every student a job at the end of the course.

I was there for 2 hours and had a really enjoyable time.  The session broke down as follows.  It began with my giving a talk about my experience as a tech entrepreneur.  I talked about my current projects, Mind Doodle and FlexiDB, but also past ones.  I shared information about how we work as a company, the tools we use, and the types of project we work on.  I also highlighted my fondness for open source software and WordPress in particular.  I’m hoping some of the students will visit WordCamp Bristol in May.

My talk finished with a Q & A session.  There were some great questions.  A lot related to my being an entrepreneur, like “How to choose a business partner”.  There were also questions about what I look for in a potential employee, “Do I value a covering letter?”, for example.

After my talk, the students presented the tasks they’d been working on this week.  Their job had been made harder this time because of the Good Friday bank holiday – same amount of work, 20% less time – a real world problem they will face in the future.  The presentations were very good, the students spoke fluently and displayed good technical understanding – they are about two thirds of the way through their course.  I then had the honour of choosing product person of the week.  A bit like choosing the best player in a football match, it was a difficult decision.  There were 3 or 4 who can consider themselves unlucky.   In the end I settled on Cameron, but his partner for the week Mo was a whisker away.  They’d worked on a graphical component, a bit like a radar chart, which appealed to me.   Mind Doodle and other projects I’ve worked on are highly visual, so this is my “bag”.

Generally speaking, my advice for the students, and anyone looking to get into tech, is to get as much experience as possible.  _nology is a great place to start.  A lot of the problems I solve are the same or very similar to ones I’ve solved in the past.  For the students this clearly begins with getting a job in tech, which I’m sure they will do.  They should also look for MeetUps they find interesting – Bristol has an abundance – and conferences like WordCamps, did I mention WordCamp Bristol is next month?

I’d like to thank Peter Antsey, their co-founder, for inviting me.  It goes without saying, I’d like to wish all the students the very best in their new careers.

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