New Ventures

I’ve been building something for a while now, it’s something that’s very close to my heart.

I’ve built a new tool which I believe will help people start a career in Software Development. Right now it will only help people start careers as Junior Java Developers, but it’s expandable to other languages and disciplines.

You can find it here:

So here is a mini interview with myself which may be interesting for you to read.

How long have you been building this for?

I’ve been actively developing this site for close to 10 months I think now. I’ve had the occasional break in there but pretty much all of my spare time for the last 10 months has been dedicated to this.

What does this site do?

This site provides links to external content which has been curated for quality and relevance. It then provides a learning path of different topics to complete along with assignments and opportunities to record evidence. An up and coming feature is to be able to share this evidence with others, such as prospective employers, so that they can assess who created the evidence and hopefully offer them a job.

Who is this site for?

This site is primarily for people who either haven’t been to university or have but have found themselves in a job they don’t like because they didn’t get the grade.

What problems does this site solve?

I think this solves 3 problems:

1, it provides clear direction of which topics need to be learnt in order to start a career as a developer. Right now that direction is difficult to find just from browsing because most learning focuses on a specific topic, tool or language rather than a joined up eco-system of skills which are all required.

2, it provides an opportunity to people who companies may otherwise over look. The assignments and recorded evidence means that there is something else for a company to look at and assess instead of university grades. It also automatically demonstrates desire because anyone using this site is actively giving up their free time in order to learn something new.

3, there is a shortage of good Software Developers in the world right now, this tool helps to address this by providing all the relevant training at the relevant depth required for a Junior Developer. This is the first step on the career path and it helps provide a quality source of Junior talent for different companies talent pipelines.

Which bit of the site are you most proud of?

I think I’m most proud of the subject page. This represents a fully self contained page which links all the required materials and then provides the assignments and places to add evidence. The evidence is really the key point of this site. Companies need Junior talent, but without evidence of capability (that is usually looked for in a university degree) they are taking on more risk. By recording evidence, a person is essentially saying “Hey, look at me, I may not have the degree you are looking for, but I can still write pretty good code, plus I’m motivated like crazy which is something you can’t tell from a university degree.”.

Which bit of the site was the most difficult to build?

The most difficult bit was probably the registration and authentication system. There is so much involved here such as email verification, password reset links which are significantly more complex than they sound. Resetting a password involves several steps which need verification at each point. It’s like having a conversation split up over multiple communication channels without any clear context of what the last piece of the conversation was.

How many versions/iterations have you gone through so far?

This is currently my 4th implementation. I’ve refined, scaled back and changed the implementation a lot. Arriving at the problems being solved took at least 2 iterations and a lot of thought and feedback.

What does success look like?

Success here is solving the problems I mentioned above. I want to be doing something meaningful and have a positive impact on the world. I’d like to make enough money to live comfortably too and allow me to invest more time into this product. There are a lot of different ideas I have for this tool which I’d like to try and see if they work. I don’t know if they will, but I’ll only find out by trying them and getting feedback.