The Hardest Things About Studying Outside of Work

Some of you whom have read my blog before will be aware that as well as working full time as a software developer I am studying for a BSc(Hons) in my spare time. Recently I’ve been finding it really difficult to push myself forward through the final years so I’ve decided to write down the advice I’ve given to other people in the past with the hope of taking it in myself ;) . Read more…

Filed under: Personal Development, , ,

Leading a Retrospective – My first time

So today was the first time I lead the team retrospective. It was a little milestone for me as I’ve not really lead anything like that before. It took quite extensive planning (I believe if your going to do something you should do it properly and be well prepared), this involved me reading The Pragmatic Programmer – Agile Retrospective. It’s a really good read and very inspiring. After reading through the activities I decided what I felt we needed to get out of this retrospective and chose to do some data gathering activities.
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Using MEF with Castle Windsor

It’s been a while since I last posted but that’s because I’ve been really busy completing year 4 of my degree (only 2 more to go!) and starting a new job! Anyway I finally got around to posting some of the new stuff I’ve been learning and for this instalment I’ve created a video cast on the basics of getting MEF to integrate with Castle Windsor.

Read more…

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Should I stay or should I go? – Changing your employment

As some of you may know I have recently changed jobs. For me moving jobs is a difficult decision to make as I imagine it is for many others. Changing employment is a life altering decision and it’s not something that should be taken lightly. To be certain the decision I make is the right one I go through a process that I hope will help others if they are thinking about moving on.

There are a number of questions you need to ask yourself throughout this process and I have compiled a list of those that I go through: Read more…

Filed under: Personal Development, , , ,

I must be the all absorbing sponge!

Sara The SpongeI recently went to DDD8 and had a fantastic time. It has to be one of my more favoured tech events for a number of reasons; I get to chat with some very  passionate industry people whom are almost always inspiring in some way. I catch up with friends I haven’t seen in a while and hear what they have been up to, this year I got to catch up with @robcthegeek and @johnnonolan from my RCP sessions which was great. There’s also the insight into new technologies and the explanation from some very knowledgeable developers of some technologies I’ve really wanted to have a look at but haven’t yet had the chance. Read more…

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What are your development new year’s resolutions?

Whilst on my exciting snowy vacation in the French Alps I had lots of time to reflect on the past year. I managed to achieve a number of things on my hit list last year. So this year I have decided to create another goals list. This way it’s much easier to focus on what you want to achieve by the end of the year and makes it far more measurable.

I sat down to think about the things I wanted to achieve this year and I produced a rather extensive list, more like a five year plan! So I’ve managed to whittle the list down to five goals Read more…

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Presenting a Testing Information Forum

A few weeks ago my colleague @duncanbutler and I presented an information forum on Testing.  It went down incredibly well and we have seen an large increase in interest in the topic, which in my opinion is half the battle!

I’ll  do a brief run through of how we presented the talk and you are welcome to download the powerpoint slides if you would like to present it to other groups. Feel free to edit them to suit.

Testing is a huge topic to cover so don’t expect to cover everything in one session. We decided to outline the 3 main subsections of testing, Regression, Integration and Unit Testing. We focused largely on Regression testing for this session as we had noticed that this was of more interest to people. At this stage we felt it was more about getting people interested and listening to the concept rather than dictating how testing procedures should be followed. Read more…

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Remote Collaborative Programming – Give it a try

Remote Collaborate Programming (RCP) is an activity I’ve been dipping into over the past few months and it’s great! Essentially what it is pairing on a wider scale combined with project collaboration from your own home.

With RCP you’re not just limited to two people, you can extend to a group. So far I’ve only tried this with two other people (@JohnnoNolan and @RobCTheGeek) and it’s worked very well. I’m sure there would come a point when there would be too many participants and it would become too difficult to code together all at once so you would have to break off into sub sections, this is where the project collaboration would come into play. The idea is to get together with people  to plan and code a project and at the end of a session/multiple sessions have a tangible product to show for your efforts. This project doesn’t have to be something big it could, for example, just be the completion of a Kata. Read more…

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Review: Balsamiq – For creating mock ups

What’s a mock up?
A mock up is exactly that, it’s a mock used to give an idea of how a project may look and function. To me it’s the transition of ideas in my head to ideas on a page.

Why should I create a mock up?
I find mocks ups allows me to convey an idea in a more structured and visualised manner, which can help others to conceptualise an idea as a real life product. I believe it to be especially beneficial when pitching an idea to non technical people as they often need a visual representation of the idea.

Creating a mock up
I used to create my mock ups on paper or in Photoshop and this seemed like a perfectly viable way of doing things until I stumbled across Balsamiq. Ever since I’ve been desperate to give it a whirl, my degree coursework has given me just that opportunity. Read more…

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Juniors – Feeling like you’re just no good?

This post is for those who feel that they are lacking in confidence or know someone that is. It’s designed to empathise and motivate and to suggest some possible confidence boosters if you’re ever feeling like you’re not quite good enough.

This isn’t just for you, it’s for me too – a little pick-me-up and reminder of what I need to be doing to get my confidence back on track if my reserves are a bit low. It’s not going to apply to everyone, some people are confident all of the time. Much as my last post – this is me and my experiences as a junior however after discussing it with friends of mine I know there are others that battle with some of the same issues. So I’ve made a list of a few common confidence knockers that you may identify with and some confidence boosters I try to employ that may help. Read more…

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