Latest Bristol & SW tech news, updates and training dates for your diary.
One of the main questions we get asked when interviewing students for our Bristol based Coding Bootcamp is ‘Will I find a job in tech as soon as I graduate?’.
Develop Me has a wide pool of hiring partners who interview and hire our Bootcamp Students on graduation. Goram and Vincent have employed 3 of our graduates so far and they explain exactly why they love hiring our Bootcamp Grads.
What does your company do?
Goram and Vincent is a Bristol-based digital agency specialising in enterprise-level ecommerce, offering design, build and optimisation services. We work mainly with direct-to-consumer lifestyle brands selling via Magento and Shopify.
What has been your experience hiring Develop Me Coding Bootcamp graduates?
Despite some initial skepticism we’ve gone on to hire three Develop Me Coding Bootcamp graduates in the last 18 months and we haven’t looked back. We now see the course as a critical part of our long-term recruitment strategy and we plan to work ever more closely with the Develop Me team going forward.
The course is very bold in its aims and as such it seems to attract brave, ambitious individuals who are brimming with ingenuity and a fresh outlook – which is exactly what we look for when recruiting for new G&Vers. More often than not we meet candidates who are career changers who in turn bring a wealth of experience from other roles and sectors they’ve previously worked in. They bring so much to the culture of the company as a result and it helps prevent us from becoming too inward looking and keeps our perspective fresh.
We pride ourselves on the nurturing atmosphere we have within the team and we’ve found the Develop Me Coding Bootcamp graduates seem to flourish within the setup we have – and we’re really proud of that.
What have you learnt about hiring / supporting Coding Bootcamp graduates?
We give the graduates a proper role from the off (no internships), with real/significant tasks to work on, but with the time, space and the safety net of the wider team behind them who’re committed to supporting their progression. This creates an environment where they can grow rapidly, enjoy and take full credit for their successes, while also being allowed to fail (and thus learn) in relative safety – basically owning the whole process. What we end up with in return are new developers who, within 6-9 months, are contributing at a level, and with a confidence, that utterly belies their time in the industry.
If you’re thinking of hiring from the Coding Bootcamp for the first time, it’s absolutely key that you have an established team in place already who are fully onboard and committed to helping develop junior talent – you owe the graduates that much. And if you just think of this as a source of cheap development resource, that’s absolutely the wrong attitude to have.
We’ve taken an organic approach so far, but after the success we’ve had with our graduates to date, we are now in the process of putting together a more structured induction programme specifically tailored to the Coding Bootcamp students.
What the course delivers for us is bright individuals who have proven they can learn at pace and adapt to coding principles quickly, but it’s our job as employers to continue that development and nurture the potential. If you can manage that, the graduates will pay you back in spades.
Did you have any reservations before hiring your first bootcamp graduate (did you think they could really learn to code in such a short space of time)?
Absolutely. As someone who has done the traditional degree route myself, with a placement year in industry, and having over 16 years experience to date, I was utterly cynical of the whole thing.
But Pete the recruitment specialist at Develop Me caught me at a time when I was struggling to fill a mid-weight frontend position and convinced me to see a few graduates from the cohort at the time. Liz who graduated in Autumn 2017 walked in the door and within minutes blew us away with her confidence, attitude and positivity, plus a great piece of final coursework, and a WordPress portfolio done in her own time. We as good as hired her on the spot and she’s been a key member of the team for over 18 months now.
Since then it’s totally redefined how we recruit and build our team going forward. It’s driven us to focus on bringing new/fresh talent into the business more often and to commit to developing them further within the business. Culturally it’s been an absolute joy to work here as a result and the vibe is fantastic. It also has the knock on effect of giving the more senior team members bags of personal development opportunity as a result of building the team this way.
Any tips for companies hiring junior developers / bootcamp graduates for the first time?
You need an established development team in place who are all aligned and on board with this approach as it needs to be a team effort. Doing this right is a commitment and an investment but the developers we’re getting out of this are a joy to work with.
Get your development house in order first. The cleaner your process and the more robust your tech stack and documentation is, the more frictionless the whole process will be. If you’ve got a backlog of maintenance and improvements you’ve been dying to make but haven’t got round to, do them first. You’ll find onboarding Bootcamp graduates far easier and more productive (and less stressful for them) if your ways of working are concise and slick.
Have a development plan in place. When mentoring Bootcamp graduates (and when they start with us), the most common thing they want to know is, “what is it like working in the real world?”, and “how well should I be doing after a week, a month, 6 months, a year, etc?”. We try to keep things relaxed but we give the grads clear things to aim for such as, “deploy something to production in your first week”, “complete a support/change ticket and get it into a release within your first month”, and “ship your first complete small feature/module within 3 months”. We’re planning to take this further and create a more formal roadmap for them to follow, but please just have a plan (beyond a few days) for what you want them to achieve.
There’s nothing worse than turning up to your first development job and finding there’s no computer, your desk isn’t properly setup, nobody has any time for you and everyone is too frightened/busy to give you anything to do apart from “read documentation”. Don’t be that company!
Is there anything you would tell students at the start of the coding bootcamp that you think would help them on the course?
Don’t panic! You’re going to cover a lot of new things at real pace, and in a very short space of time. There’s going to be an inevitable amount of anxiety and an urge to rush in order to keep pace, but in development sometimes you really do need to slow down in order to go faster.
Listen to the instructors, don’t be afraid to ask for help (again and again) and don’t suffer in silence.
If you’re having a good/easy week, help someone else. It’ll be credit in the bank when you have a tough week and you’ll learn far more from explaining something to someone else than you did by doing it in the first place!
Any advice you would give current bootcamp students about how to prepare for their first developer job in the industry?
When it comes to finding a job and doing interviews, there’s probably a lot of personal pressure to just find a job. But don’t accept anything that doesn’t feel right – listen to your gut.
Don’t be afraid to push the interviewer on their approach to hiring junior development talent. Ask – do they have a plan/proper induction programme? What does the established team look like? Can someone demonstrate what the dev stack and code base looks like? What will my first week, month, year look like? Do they have any previous graduates/junior developers that they’d be happy for you to meet/talk to? An inability to answer any of the above satisfactorily could be a red flag.
When I mentor students I normally advise them not to accept too specialised a role unless they’re 100% sure it’s what they want to do. You’re so early in your career and you have plenty of time to specialise later on if you want to. But for your first role, taking on something broad will allow you to explore a wider piece of the development stack and will only help in the long run.
Do draw on previous career experience in the interview and absolutely sell your story of how you ended up doing this. While we naturally try to choose the strongest graduates from a given cohort, it’s normally the graduate’s previous career/life experience and how passionately they told their story that influences our final decision.
Finally, please try to hit some stretch goals and do a really great README on your project!
In your experience how quickly do bootcamp graduates start making a genuine and valuable impact?
We always aim to get graduates working on building releases and doing production deploys within in their first month, which builds confidence and gives a real feeling of contribution very early on.
We typically see a ‘net contribution’ (where the amount of work a graduate produces outweighs the amount of support they need from other team members, or training time they’re being allocated) in the first 2-3 months. There’s generally a huge leap in confidence/ability around the 6-9 month mark where they even have the confidence to help new graduates. After a year we start to see a graduate’s confidence reach the point where they start contributing to process and decision making within the development team.
Our Coding Bootcamp is a 12 week immersive classroom course with a 4 week part time online course as preparation. 98% of our graduates now work in Tech roles most of which we placed in their first position straight after completing the Bootcamp – we are very proud of our students love watching each of them move into Tech from a huge variety of different backgrounds!
The evolution and demand for UX Designers.
With the rapid advancement of digital technologies and the subsequent impact on how businesses ‘interface’ with customers; the understanding, evolution and application of User Experience Design (UXD) within organisations now truly informs their future success.
We have seen the rapid rise of successful companies that are design-led. Good design processes now form a fundamental part of business strategy and decision making – placing human interaction at the heart of their business model.
Every touchpoint of a brand and connected customer experience is now designed as part of a holistic strategy.
As digital interaction becomes an increasing part of our daily interactions – businesses fully appreciate that seamless digital interaction is complex to deliver. However when done right – the whole brand experience rises to another level – from the ‘Visceral’ to ‘Behavioural’ and ultimately to the ‘Reflective.’ [Ref: Don Norman’s Norman’s Three Levels of Design.]
Good UXD in the real world
1) The customer no longer has to scan for ages to find the donate button on a charity’s page.
2) The calls to a customer care line are reduced dramatically because the consumer finds the answer easily on the website.
3) Shopping cart value soars because the website effortlessly shows the shopper items that complement their purchase.
Your competitor is only one click away!
UX is emerging out of the ‘visual design’ world and establishing itself as fundamental strategic design process within any business interface or transaction. We are finally evolving from aesthetic design to a human centred approach to the design of the company ‘experience’. As they say – your competitor is only one click away. So it is vital to deliver a frictionless experience from beginning to end.
“Design used to be the seasoning you’d sprinkle on for taste; now it’s the flour you need at the start of the recipe.” — John Maeda, Designer and Technologist
Demand for UX Designers
With this new imperative to seamlessly satisfy ‘users’ – businesses are now eagerly recruiting talent to help research, prototype and design interactive services that bridge the gap between people and technology – this is the role of the UX Designer.
UX Design Courses
As a result of the increase in demand for UX Designers, we provide two unique courses:
Our 10 week part-time User Experience Design course – has been developed by industry experts to help anyone looking to up-skill and explore moving into the ever increasing number of roles in UX Design.
The programme’s industry informed curriculum will teach how to approach problems creatively in order to design the next generation of great apps, websites and digital products and gain a deeper understanding of the methods, tools and processes of working as a UX Designer.
This course is aimed at people looking to expand their knowledge of UX Design methodologies, tools and processes providing you with a complete applicable UX ‘toolkit’ with commercial experience of working with a real life client on a live project.
Our next cohort for this in September 2019 is fully booked, however, we will be scheduling a new cohort shortly for 2020. To find out more and register your interest here and also see what our students have to say.
We also run a shorter 2 day UX fundamentals workshop – which will give you or your team a short but intense intro to the fundamentals of best UX practice, user research and testing; interface design & brand.
This programme provides introductory knowledge for a holistic approach to UX best practice and is best suited to graphic or digital product designers or small teams who are looking to develop their current skill-sets in designing for digital services.
You can find out more and book one of the remaining places here.
Who we train
We can help anyone to accelerate their career in Tech. To date we have trained: Career changers, Researchers, Marketers, Graphic/Interface Designers, Project and Account Managers and Entrepreneurs to develop their portfolio of UX Design skills.
Live Client Project
As part of the student learning experience on our part time 10 week UX Design course at Develop Me, we work on live projects and we are very proud to have given two Bristol charities a complete UX Design overhaul of their websites. This collaboration has resulted in each organisation receiving highly valuable consultancy services; resulting in several clickable wireframe solutions free of charge which they can implement immediately into their website.
Benefits to the Client
Whichever design they choose will:
– Improve the experience for their website visitors
– Increase the ‘desired actions’ executed on the website
– Improve profits
The students on our course benefit from working alongside a real client from day one by being exposed to real life research, client communication and learning to collaborate and design as part of a team delivering user-centred solutions.
New Client needed!
We are now looking for another local charity to offer this service to and are welcoming applications to be part of this exciting jointly beneficial venture.
Essentially our students, with the involvement and guidance of our outstanding will run a full UX process with you, on your project.
– Unpacking your challenges and what you want to achieve with your website/app
– Defining your audience and their needs
– Audience research
– Website usability testing
– Information architecture (site map)
– User stories and user journey mapping
– Interactive prototypes of new features for your new website
– Final presentation and handover
Past UX Clients
To date we have collaborated with Penny Brohn and The Matthew, both Bristol charities. They have been overwhelmed by the variety of insights, research and applied wireframes they were presented; many already developed and ready to be implemented into their website structure.
‘It really felt like a gift being offered this level of quality work free of charge as we would never have been able to afford to pay for this ourselves’ (Penny Brohn)
Both clients would be happy to discuss with any organisation considering applying for the September project, how they found the process and give advice on how to prepare for the process.
To apply please have this set up, just contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Requirements for a great UX Design Project Client
You would need to attend 3-4 sessions on a Thursday night, between mid September and November:
1. Discovery workshop
2. Audience research
3. Information architecture workshop
4. Project presentation
We discuss with you how the research will be conducted – this would really best suit a website with a fairly complex structure and/or one that serves multiple audiences. Or a site that has been around for a while and needs to be evolved to keep up with the expectations of today’s website visitors.
Register your interest
The best thing to do is let us know if you are interested and we can discuss this further. You are also welcome you to pop down to our campus at Develop Me to meet the team!
Our part-time User Experience Design (UXD) course teaches all the key skills required to research, define, design and develop digital services based upon user-centred design principles. It has been developed to help anyone looking to up-skill or change career and move into the ever increasing number of roles in UX Design.
For more information please register your interest here.
It started with a car crash and ended with a baby
The first web developer bootcamp to run in Bristol has now finished, and, by all measures, was a great success!
3 of the 4 students were offered paid work placements by Bristol tech companies, with the fourth on maternity leave before starting a work placement later in the year.
The feedback from the companies they are working with has been extremely positive.
The Coding Fellowship combines 12 weeks of intensive teaching, covering the fundamentals of web development, with a paid industry work placement and help to secure employment as a web developer upon graduation.
The course – run at the Paintworks, the heart of Bristol’s creative and tech quarter – is developed and delivered by industry experts, with a heavy focus on project work, using industry tools and practices, and hands-on learning.
It takes students from beginners all the way through to being employable junior web developers, while building a portfolio of work.
We catch up with two of the students on the spring cohort to find out how they are pursuing a new career in coding.
Read our Q&A with Simon & Kasia: (more…)
OUR FIRST STUDENTS HAVE JUST EMBARKED ON THEIR JOURNEY TO BECOMING WEB DEVELOPERS
The Spring Cohort of the Coding Fellowship began on May 9th, based down at Bristol’s Paintworks the fellowship is the South West’s first coding bootcamp. The programme includes a 12 week intensive taught element – teaching the fundamentals of web development – a paid industry work placement and help finding employment as a web developer upon graduation.
The Bristol and Bath region has recently been recognised as the largest regional digital hub in the UK and with predictions that the digital industries will grow faster than any other in the coming decade, it’s a great time to be learning to code and joining the thriving tech sector. You can read more about this in the recent Tech Nation Report.
Last week we were lucky enough to be invited to a meet, greet and showcase event at the Bristol Games Hub. The directors of the Games Hub – Ben Trewhella (Opposable Games) Debbie & Tom Rawlings (Auroch Digital) – had organised a visit from The Observer. The aim of the day was to introduce them to some of the exciting things happening in the Bristol tech & games scene. We found ourselves in the company of a number of really interesting tech start-ups, indie game developers and VR specialists.
“How can I become a web developer?” is a common question we’re asked.
With increasing interest in the web, ‘digital’ and apps, more and more people are attracted to jobs as web developers or programmers, and there is plenty of discussion around coding and learning to code, as digital plays an increasing importance in our daily lives.