Silicon Milkroundabout As A Wannabe Developer

I’m looking for my first junior front-end web developer role.

I read about Silicon Milkroundabout being a major tech jobs fair in London, and thought it would be a good idea to apply for a ticket – not really expecting to get one only having a half-finished portfolio at the time.

A ticket was duly issued. Panic duly ensued as I rushed to complete half a dozen websites and my portfolio. Weekends were sacrificed in full, evenings and early mornings consumed with code and come 10:30am on the morning, I had what I thought was a decent portfolio with 6 various websites, albeit a couple not quite 100% complete. But good enough to put on show.

The downside was that I didn’t have time to do any preparation as to the companies attending. Having squeezed on the train from Reading with 10 seconds to spare, and a roast dinner and two pints of cider in me, not to mention having soaked up some of the glorious sunshine, I was in a good mood.

Then I checked every company listed as attending on the Silicon Milkroundabout website and none of them were looking for junior front-end web developers. Ahh.

The event itself was held in The Truman Brewery on Brick Lane – an area of London I have fond memories of but that’s another story. My ticket was checked on 4 separate occasions before I entered, and tried to work out a plan.

At first it was a bit overwhelming – one fairly large hall and one medium-sized hall housed 165 companies looking for techies. I walked around in a large loop not knowing what to do, feeling a bit over-awed. I noted where the free bar was. I sat down (not in the bar) and tried to come up with a plan.

I failed to come up with a plan but when I went back into the medium-sized hall, the first company I spoke to were looking for a junior. We had a positive conversation – probably the best conversation I had in there.

I spoke to some very nice people, I spoke to some very interesting people too. I handed 20 CVs out and hopefully made a good impression, most were not currently looking for a junior front-end web developer but do employ juniors so I’d like to think at least a few will keep my details on file.

There were some people that as soon as I mentioned that I had no work-related experience, glazed over as if I had just announced that I’d discovered animated GIFs on Geocities.

There were a variety of organisations there, from huge multinationals to two young ladies running their own food-related start-up.

I spent a bit of time thinking about the design and UX of various stalls as I progressed – some companies seemed awfully quiet and had awfully plain installations with no obvious sign as to what they were looking for in terms of staff. Others were well-designed – and often much busier.

After a couple of free beers and talking to some randoms about their day in the bar, I wandered around a bit more but found by this point I’d spoken to most companies that were of interest, and became more interested in picking up some free jelly beans. At which point I realised that my mission was complete and it was time to go home.

It was a really good afternoon. At the least, I have spoken to people within the industry and taken my first steps towards finding a new job. I had some positive feedback about my actual CV – in particular, one person said I had a good level of experience for someone looking for their first role.

Even if I don’t get a job directly from it, and it is relatively unlikely that I will, I enjoyed it and felt at home with the surroundings and those I spoke to. I felt I belonged a lot more than I do in accounting!

Will I go to the next one in November? Hopefully not. I will be disappointed if I do not have my dream first coding role by then.

I wouldn’t especially recommend it for someone looking for their first role unless you have a super-strong CV and portfolio, with good knowledge of JavaScript, ideally Angular and/or React (one of the latter two being my next subject to learn).

I certainly would highly recommend it to anyone with 1-2 years of work-related coding experience. And at some point in the future, maybe I’ll be back. It really is a cracking event, with great people, very good organisation and a fantastic purpose.

I’m Going To Silicon Milk Roundabout

Please excuse the basic state of the blog styling it will be brought up to date and in line with my portfolio soon.

Those of you that know me will know I’ve been studying towards becoming a front-end web developer for a few years now, but only with a real focus for the last year or so. Those of you that don’t know me – hello.

I applied for a ticket to Silicon Milkroundabout, not really expecting to get one as almost every job listed seems to require huge amounts of experience – I only had a fairly basic portfolio at the time.

I received a ticket. But I decided that I was probably going to be way out of my depth and decided not to go.

Then with two weeks to go, I changed my mind again, realising that I could be throwing away an excellent opportunity.

The problem being that I needed a portfolio. And some business cards. And a new CV. So I cancelled almost everything, spent the bank holiday in front of my computer, much of this weekend, evenings, early mornings and occasional lunchtimes, trying to finish my portfolio – and the websites to go on it.

My portfolio is complete, bar one or two minor issues. Oh and I still need to do some IE adjustments. The websites are not as complete as I’d like but life is not perfect.

Anyway, I’ve absolutely no idea what to expect at Silicon Milkroundabout. I have checked the companies attending and cannot find any looking for a junior web developer. To be expected, I guess, with the laws of supply and demand.

I have no idea what to say or how to introduce myself, I’ve been so focused on finishing my portfolio that I haven’t even had chance to think about it.

Given that none of the companies seem to be looking for juniors, I’m not entirely sure which to go see – I’ve marked down some as being interesting companies to work for but I doubt I can be too fussy!

If it turns out that there are no companies looking for someone with my talents but relative lack of experience, then I at least can hopefully find out more about working in the tech industry, and also what to work towards.

And if I am totally out of my depth – they have a free bar.

I do wish I was wearing shorts right now.

I Need My Indefatigability

A while back I applied for tickets for a job fair in London called Silicon Milkroundabout.

I didn’t think I’d get a ticket, being a novice, yet I have. And then I decided I wouldn’t go because I my portfolio isn’t finished, I don’t have any work-experience, etc etc. And most of the roles advertised are senior roles – only a couple of junior roles.

I was persuaded otherwise by the same person I was supposed to go on a very pleasant country walk with yesterday. So I cancelled on her and had a very frustrating and miserable day trying to fix the bits of my websites that I hadn’t previously completed.

I did at least just about finish my weather forecasting website, bar two issues that I was completely flummoxed on.

So I asked for feedback.

And boy, did I get feedback.

No fewer than 16 criticisms on a website I thought was almost finished.

So now I’m feeling pretty down and it feels like I am further away than ever from my goal of someone taking a chance on me as a junior web developer.

I was supposed to get up this morning at 7am to crack on. It’s now 11am. I’m going out at 1pm. I have no idea how I will get my websites into a presentable enough form for next Sunday. Or whether I should ever bother going – am I going to make a fool of myself?

Time to channel my inner reserves of indefatigability.