Yesterday I went down to Bristol to sit on a panel at the Web Developers Conference, which is mainly aimed at university students that have an interest in getting into the web industry. It was a really good idea that Alex (and Dan) started last year – to bring the industry to the students so that they can figure out what the reality is and ask questions.
I’d had a late one coding the night before and got an early train down just in time to catch James Box‘s talk, which was very cool and exactly the kind of thing that would work at most conferences, very thoughtful and a great introduciton for the amassed (mainly) student audience. The panel I was on, along with Dan W, John Gibbins, Elliot Jay Stocks & Elliott Kember went pretty well. There were some good questions asked and I think we all had different experiences to draw from to paint a broad picture. It was my first time in this kind of set-up and I really liked it, despite a yearning for my missed breakfast.
Alex had done a great job of organising the event and getting some really interesting people involved, in addition to those I’ve already mentioned: Rick Hurst, Jon Tan, Mel Kirk, Peter Coles, Joe Leach, Patrick Lauke and Chris Garrett were all great and it was a great oppotunity to have a chat with most of the them before dashing off for a train.
Seeing what was done with this, it could and should be duplicated in any major university where there is a decent amount of interest in web development. I know when I first started out I had no idea what to learn, what it was like to be a pro and so had many misconceptions. It was actually really nice to chat with some of the first years who were really keen to get into it and be reminded of what it was like for me starting out and hopefully offer a few constructive words of encouragement.