Loving what you do

Talking at the BCS Show and Tell 03/05/13

A week ago I was contacted by Prezi, a company which I first heard about at the Gregynog employability weekend in 2011. They had looked at my GitHub profile and had obviously liked what they saw. The job oppertunity was implied in the subject of the email, but required a small amount of coding to decrypt the actual details of the offer, as well as some cool history about the project.

It's really cool that what I've talked about at Gregynog for the past three years - having a decent online presence through facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, GitHub, personal websites, etc. - has actually afforded my the oppertunity for another job.

I have already accepted another job offer from IBM, so I had to turn them down, but that's not the point of this post.

For those who don't herald from Aberystwyth, the Gregynog employability weekend is an event run by the department of computer science at Aberystwyth university for second years planning to do an industrial year. It runs as a mock assessment centre, but with other talks mixed in to give the students a much needed break; as well as some useful information from those who have been or are out on their industrial years.

I've talked there for the past three years on my experiences and on how to improve your social media presence. This follows after a talk showcasing some of the some of the bad aspects of social media - drunken photos and sexist behaviour. The presentation I help to give counters that with some of the better uses of these sites. Sites like GitHub and personal websites which are an excellent showcase of work.

Prezi's recruitment is awesome for two reasons:

  1. They're looking for people they know have certain skills, based on code they've looked at.
  2. They use the coding challenge as a part of receiving the offer.

Rather than read through numerous CVs with unconfirmed skills Prezi have gathered what they really care about from existing projects. One of the criticisms I've heard from the interviewers at Gregynog is the lack of justification students give for skills: the old bullet point of "I know Java" really doesn't cut it.

And yet that's what gets written year on year. But even with points like that, posting a link to a GitHub profile which has a handful of projects shows more than words on a CV can say. A picture tells a thousand words and in our industry code is a picture, even artwork in some cases.

And I'm not the only one pushing this stuff; Stuart Herbert - one of the interviewers from Gregynog and a dab hand at software engineering and management has written a book about what a budding CompSci student should be doing.

Prezi's tagline on their jobs page is "We love what we do", I think this is pretty apt for my advice here (so I used some of it for the title) - love what you do, show it off and some else will love it too!