London, Charity, Forward

It has been a few months! Lots of cool things have happened:

  • I graduated
  • I went to America
  • I got a job working at Forward
  • I moved to London
  • I got involved in lots of cool charity stuff

This post is less tech heavy, more catchy uppy.

Deciding against education

I decided to steer myself away from pursuing education further. Originally the plan was to do a masters and/or PhD but by the time I had finished my undergrad degree I had had enough of education. It didn’t feel like I was doing anything useful, I just wanted to get into the “real world” and do “real things.”

Applying for jobs

So I started interviewing for jobs in May, I think it was. I applied at a start-up called GoCardless and thought the interview went really well. It was my first ever proper technical interview so I did stumble in places. Unfortunately, they thought I lacked the experience to enough of an asset to their team.

The day I got rejected from GoCardless I was sitting idly at my desk, drinking beer and watching my Twitter stream with a glazed look on my face. One tweet caught my eye, though*:

Applying for Forward

So I checked out the Forward Tech website and starting working on a new CV. By about 3am I had one made in LaTeX that I was happy with and I submitted it.

A few days later I got an email asking me if I had time to do a phone interview. I said yes and did the phone interview. Then I was asked if I could do a code test. Again, I said yes and did it. Then I got asked if I could visit their offices. I said yes. All of this happened within a week (part of it spanning a weekend, I seem to recall) and long story short, I got the job.

The office interview part of the Forward application landed smack bang in the middle of exams, I remember. I had to decline the original date given to me due to having an exam on the day.

Moving to London

You’re going to read this next bit and either not realise how stupid it is or you’re going to just laugh at me relentlessly. Here goes. I set my Forward start date as August 1st 2012. I know, right? What better time to start than in the middle of the Olympics. Even better, the day I chose to actually transport my life from where I was living down to London was the day of a road cycling event. One might say I don’t keep up with current affairs.

But I survived the trip down thanks to an old employer and good friend called Dan who has a van and a wonderfully sick sense of humour. We had loads of fun driving into London from the North only to realise that it was impossible to get across the river because of the cycling. In the end we had to drive out and around. Yes, he is still a friend.

Starting at Forward

Forward is a truly, truly brilliant place to work. I cannot possibly imagine a better way to start my career as a professional programmer. The atmosphere is relaxed, there are so many great people to learn from, there’s free food and drink, a pool table, table tennis, nights out. It’s just amazing. It’s everything that people try and convince you work isn’t. Hell to them!

Charity

So this is the part of the post that motivated me to start. Over the last few months I’ve been involved in a hand full of charity events, primarily linked to CoderDojo London. Andy Kent was one of the people who interviewed me and, fortunately, one of the driving people behind CoderDojo in London.

Since joining Forward in August I’ve been involved in 3 CoderDojo sessions, one of which I took responsibility for and did a large portion of the planning. It has been amazingly good fun and I’m really looking forward to future sessions.

Hackney Pirates

Earlier this week I visited a charity called Hackney Pirates with Stephen Lloyd, a colleague from work. We did an hour long session on basic HTML and got the kids to the stage where they could use images and links to create a choose-your-own-adventure style story. Unfortunately we didn’t quite get to making the stories but we’ve been invited back in the new year to continue the session.

Wrapping up

Phew. I think that’s most of the last 6 months of my life covered. In the next post I want to go into more detail about what does and doesn’t seem to work when trying to teach very young children how to write code :)

* Just spent half an hour scrolling through tweets to find the right one. MLIA.

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