Student sessions

To help people who are starting out on a career in software development, Mike runs talks and sessions for computer science and software development students on tech careers, hiring, technical interviews, and modern software engineering approaches.

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Mr. Monkey


These talks and sessions have expanded over the last five years, and have been run at a diverse group of tertiary education providers including University of Abertay Dundee, Edinburgh Napier University, Dundee and Angus College, Dundee University, City of Glasgow College, and very frequently at CodeClan code academy in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

The sessions are run free of charge. No expenses or reimbursement are accepted. In all cases the target audience is students following a course of software development, software engineering, or computer science, who are looking to embark on a career in software development.

If you think any of these would be useful for your institution, please email to start the conversation.

#1: Software development careers and technical hiring

Duration: ~90 minutes
Requirements: digital projector and room

This is a talk covering the broad landscape of software development roles and organisations, and how companies recruit for them. The talk also gives some advice about the pivotal first few years, and how to make the most of technical mentoring:

  • What makes a great developer
  • What technical interviewers are really looking for
  • A typical recruitment process, and the people involved
  • CVs, GitHub profiles and portfolios
  • Handling technical phone screens and online tests
  • Technical interview formats to expect
  • Coping strategies for nerves and mental blocks
  • Approaches to verbal, competency-based “HR” interviews
  • What to look for in your first software development role
  • How to maintain momentum in your first few years
  • Long-term portable skills vs technology ephemera
  • Non-obvious mechanisms for job hunting and company research
  • Practical steps to prepare for the job hunt

Highly informal and occasionally lighthearted, these talks are always run as an “ask me anything” format. Experience has shown that students often have questions about any and all aspects of software development in the wild, so all questions about teams, organisations, company culture and all aspects of life as a software developer are welcomed.

Although the talk duration is estimated at 60 minutes, it’s advisable to book a room for 90 minutes to allow for any followup discussion, and questions during the talk.

#2: Technical interview hands-on practice

Duration: ~3.5 hours
Requirements: digital projector, room, access to laptops/lab, and whiteboards

This is a variant of session #1, with less time spent on the talk, and more time on hands-on practice of three of the most common technical interview formats. The structure is:

  • An edited version of the Session #1 talk, lasting ~40m
  • Practice session on whiteboard design interviews
  • Practice session on online coding tests
  • Practice session on verbal technical Q&A interviews

All sessions are run in small groups or pairs. Access to computers will be needed for the coding test practice - these can be student laptops or a lab environment.

Between each session is a short 10-minute retrospective.

#3: Hands-on introduction to TDD, clean code, and simple design

Duration: ~4 hours
Requirements: digital projector, room, access to laptops/lab

This is a half-day hands-on introduction to key concepts in modern agile engineering. The session starts with an short overview of the mechanics of micro-incremental test-driven development, a live coding demo of the practices in action, and then three programming sessions with a retrospective and between each. The focus common to all sessions is:

  • Test-driven development
  • Simple design
  • Pair programming
  • Clean code and continuous refactoring

This can be undertaken in any language. Technical prep guidance is given in advance of the session to allow participants to get the most out of the time available.

Contact Us

You can reach us via email or phone, and we're always happy to meet in person to talk through any ideas or requirements you have:

Unit 8 Deer Park
Fairways Business Park
EH54 8GA

+ 44 (0)1506 343015

Alternatively, connect with us on LinkedIn or Twitter to stay up to date with news and events.