Yesterday I promisedto provide an account of the Girl Geek Dinner at Hull University. The Hull event differed from other Girl Geek Dinner events that I’ve attended in that at least half of the attendees were students. Mid-way through my presentation I got onto the topic of open source development and I was shocked to realize that none of the students in the room were involved in open source development. I’m not sure if this is a reflection of the level of interest in open source in the UK, or vice versa.
I believe that open source is an obvious way for students to gain some real world experience on large scale software projects. There’s an enormous difference between submitting your work to be reviewed and rated by your professor/teacher and enduring the baptism of fire that usually accompanies your first submission to an open source project. Another huge benefit that open source development provides to students is that it gives them an opportunity to identify what aspects of IT they are passionate about. Open source projects run the gamut from web browsers to gaming engines and everything in between and there are roles for developers, testers, bug fixers, translators, tech writers, artists etc. etc. I’ve blogged on this topic in the past which you can read here.
I’m looking to fill a junior rolein my team at present and I find it interesting, and somewhat depressing, to note that we are seeing lots of applications from people with 10+ year’s experience applying for a junior role, because of the current state of the job’s market. I am also seeing resumes from recent college graduates, some of whom have not found employment in the tech sector since graduting from college over the past two years. Skimming college graduate resumes is usually easy and I always start by looking for involvement in open source projects and use this to quickly identify the type of self-starter that would fit within my team.
Linda Broughton and Leia Bassett of nti Leeds were my genial and gracious hosts for the English leg of my trip, and given their knowledge of open source I hope that they are able to work with the Hull University students to arrange a future Girl Geek Dinner at which they could provide a speaker who could give an overview of open source and faciliate an exchange of ideas on the topic.
Normally I like to book-end a trip to Europe with a weekend with my family in Dublin, but this time around I had to hurry back to New York because I’d volunteered to participate in a number of events that weekend including a “Polar Plunge” to raise funds for the Special Olympics. And just because I have no shame, and have littered recent blogs with personal pics, I’ve deicded to share a photo of that event with you.