Anyone who knows me will tell you how important I take any opportunity to talk to young people before they enter the workforce, so when the University of Manchester invited me to give a guest lecture to their Advanced Computer Science masters students I jumped at the chance.
So at 11AM on Wednesday the 18th of April 2012 I found myself stood in front of an audience of approximately 30 students. I won’t lie to you, I’d had a very busy week, but this one hour was priority number one for me. The biggest problem was how to condense everything I wanted to say into just an hour – a near impossible task – and so, unsurprisingly I resorted to my usual technique of just talking really quickly! The results are less than impressive, but I think there’s some pretty important insights buried in there. I do regret not having more preparation time to nail down the timings but I think the message still came across OK.
Thankfully I took Gordon Pearce and Natalie Bailey along and Gordon helpfully recorded the whole thing on his iPad so you can see it below.
During the lecture I covered off a number of topics, including the kind of job graduates should look for. I feel it’s important that a first job should be working with other developers where you can refine your skills and learn your craft.
I then went on to talk about how developing code works in businesses, particularly client driven ones. Briefly, I introduced the concepts of process, issue tracking and source control.
The lecture is aimed at people who are just starting out in a career in IT and helps focus on some of the practicality that are often missing from a graduate’s repertoire.
The video was edited down in Vegas Pro. I was asked at the end of the lecture how the presentation had been done (with all the animations). It’s no secret that it was done entirely in PowerPoint. For the video I reedited the aspect ratio from 4:3 to 16:9 to fit the widescreen and saved as WMV – unfortunately the maximum resolution is 1280×720 so I used Vegas Pro to upscale it to 1080p.