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Feeding Penguins and securing a graduate job

It may not come as a surprise to everyone that knows me, but I love penguins! There isn’t one of the 17 different species that I don’t like. Unfortunately though, I only have the chance of meeting with Humboldt penguins in the UK due to our climate (however The Deep in Hull will be getting Gentoo penguins in March).

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Two Great Performances at Humber Mouth

Humber Mouth - Carol Ann Duffy & LiTTLe MACHiNe

Yesterday, as a “member” of the English Society, I went along with the group to Ferens Art Gallery to see amazing performances from Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy and poetry band, LiTTLe MACHiNe. Although I am a science student, I do have other interests and in the case of this event, literature. Although my tastes in literature don’t broaden past sci-fi/fantasy fiction, Shakespeare and a few classics, my girlfriend Hannah is always showing me how interesting literature is.

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Career Opportunity at Bloomberg

Bloomberg Logo

Bloomberg

Bloomberg are hiring!

I’ve recently received an e-mail from Bloomberg about a job that is available with the company after I have helped them out with a project they are working on. This blog post is basically just a way to let everyone know that there is a place available and that if you’re interested, then you should apply! If I wasn’t still studying this year, I probably would have gone for the job myself which is a shame but never mind.

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Last day at Seed Software

Today marked my last day as an intern developer at Seed Software. A lot has happened along the 1 year journey including getting locked in my room and experiencing paintball (I’m sure that won’t happen again). I’ve met with some great developers and worked alongside people I wouldn’t normally work with. Although many people love working in groups on projects with their friends, it’s a better experience overcoming the challenges of working with people who you know nothing about.

The experience at Seed has been great though. I think anyone who has gone through an internship year will say that it was worth doing. Not just because you get paid for working, but because the experience you gain is something that students need if they have never worked commercially before. You may feel that you are ready to go into a job but I bet most people actually aren’t and will feel overwhelmed. However I know that I am ready to work now and I know that the experience I’ve gained will even help me finish my university degree to a standard where I will feel satisfied with.

Although along the way I’ve gained great knowledge of a variety of programming languages and learned cool techniques to develop, the one thing that I am more proud of than any piece of work I have produced at Seed is myself. I was definitely the most introverted of the interns when I started Seed. I wasn’t chatty, I didn’t really like to socialise or chat about just anything. I was a work-a-holic and all I wanted to do was just sit and code then go home day in day out. Although I’ve come away knowing that I am still introverted, I am definitely more confident and appear to have gotten very chatty (even my girlfriend’s mum thinks I have gotten more chatty since working… is that a good thing?). A working life and socialising come together. You can’t work in an environment where no-one talks, you would go insane.

I’m glad that Chris gave me the opportunity to be the lead developer on a new project at Seed which I think I have managed and developed quite well and can see it doing very well! I just hope the next interns are as excited to work on it as I was. Although the majority of the application was built by myself, its great getting other developers involved who have no background knowledge of the application or the languages you are developing with and getting them to add features. Working and helping others is just great.

I wish all the best to Harald, Andy, Tom, Alan and especially Chris. Thanks to Emma for two Wispa Gold chocolate bars. Although Will probably doesn’t read my blog, good luck to you when you return to university in Scarborough! It’s nice to work with an actual graphic designer. Good luck to all the new interns who will be taking over in June. And to all the remaining interns at Seed, I can’t wait to see you back at uni next semester. Its been great working with everyone! I will be keeping an eye out on the Seed website. Hoping to see the actual website up at some point :P

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My 22 before 22

After Hannah’s birthday in December, she decided to do this thing called “22 before 22″ which is where you create a list of 22 things you want to do before you turn 22. I suppose you can do it for any year, but it seems like a great way to set goals to do for a year so I thought I would give it a go. Unfortunately, I’m not going to be making mine into more than just an online list unlike Hannah did. She made this cool jar with sticks and each one has her 22 things on: http://hannahackroyd.wordpress.com/2012/12/13/my-22-before-22/

So here is my list:

1. Update my existing Windows Phone applications

A while back I mentioned that I wanted to update all of my current Windows Phone applications on the marketplace after I lost the source code through neglecting to backup my data. With all that has gone on recently including work, holidays and Imagine Cup, I just haven’t found the time to start rebuilding my applications. I am determined to get them all updated though so this is on the list!

2. Get fit

Now this is probably a stupid choice as I know I won’t get it done. I wouldn’t say that I am the laziest of people and I do regularly do small exercises at home or go for walks, but I could do with getting fit. I discovered how unfit I was when I went paintballing with Seed last year. I think the reason for becoming unfit was due to not doing regular sporting activities like I did when I was at school. It would be great to start playing tennis, badminton or squash again.

3. Get an application on the Windows 8 store

It seemed quite silly that my last attempt to get an app on the app store resulted in me getting it rejected because Microsoft said “it wasn’t finished” when all the functionality of the Windows Phone app was there. They were exactly the same and yet my Windows Phone app is on the marketplace. Well I am determined to get at least 1 app on the Windows 8 store!

4. Add more to my portfolio

My current portfolio on my website is really only projects that I have done outside of my university studies. I want to show my employers after finishing university that I can do more than just what everyone has done. Its obvious that any employer will look at someone who has put the effort into working on projects outside of studies and choose them over someone who has just done the least effort. It shows determination and I want to get a larger range of abilities in my portfolio.

5. Carry on development with PhysiHealth

My Imagine Cup project won’t be going on the back burner now that I have submitted it. I want to carry on working on this project and eventually have it ported to iOS and Android. I may be a huge Microsoft fanboy as you might say but it is clear that when providing for customers you need to take in their needs over yours. This means that not everyone will have a Windows Phone device so I need to make sure the application is accessible to everyone.

6. Get a team together for Imagine Cup 2014

This year I was a bit silly in leaving my application to Imagine Cup late and having no one to work on the project with me. It would be awesome if I could get together a team of developers and get an amazing idea together for the next competition. If you are interested, let me know!

7. Take part in Three Thing Game or Global Game Jam

I’m not sure how Global Game Jam works but if there is one next year I would like to enter it! As for Three Thing Game, I haven’t entered the competition since October 2011. I can come up with loads of excuses for why I haven’t been going but the main one is that I am too busy. I enjoy the atmosphere of these events. It’s great and I want to do it one last time before I leave university.

8. Kickstart my career

As I am leaving university next year, I need to start thinking about jobs. Especially for the companies I want to work for. This includes applying, interviews and all that jazz.

9. Take a break

It seems that I am always busy. I don’t know how it happens but I always have something to do. Maybe it’s because I don’t like having nothing to do. But I know that I need to take breaks. This one is already achievable with my holiday coming up!

10. Clean-up my computer

I don’t know how this happens but I have documents everywhere. I have projects on my desktop, I have folders with the same name in various places, unfinished projects which I have duplicates of. It just needs a full on clean-up. I also need to stop saving things on my desktop. I hate unclean desktops. No icons for me.

11. Spend more time with Hannah

Working at SEED hasn’t given me a lot of time to spend with Hannah. While I know that after this year it will be the same again when I get a job, but I want to spend as much time together before we both have to work. I’ve really missed going on our trips out!

12. Learn to develop for iOS and Android

Although people might think that I have Microsoft written through me if you cut me in half, I am going to have to learn to develop for iOS and Android for my final year project.

13. Go somewhere new

Since being with Hannah, I’ve taken trips to all sort of places that have been amazing! It would be great to go somewhere new that maybe neither of us have been to!

14. Get more things into mine and Hannah’s scrap book

We’ve kept a scrapbook of things that we’ve done or places we’ve been since we have been together. We both haven’t had a lot of time to put things into our scrapbook, so it would be great to get more into it.

15. Learn a new craft

Well Hannah has gotten me into crafts. She makes me presents for special occasions and because I love what she does, I make her things! I already know how to cross-stitch and the last present I made for Hannah was crocheted, I think I might learn another craft to make her a present!

16. Finish Frankenstein

Hannah won this book for me from a Penguin competition after I said that I don’t understand how Frankenstein is classed as a sci-fi book. I understand that sci-fi doesn’t have to be futuristic gizmos & gadgets and flying space ships, but she told me to read it so that’s what I’ve done. I can’t get into it at the moment and it would be great to finish it and see if I change my judgement.

17. Better my cooking skills

I know that I can cook although I don’t really cook food for myself and usually just for Hannah when she comes around. It would be great to learn some easy recipes for dishes I can cook from scratch. I only know a few basics and I’m not going to want to live like a student once I have finished university.

18. Get a new laptop or tablet

Although this can be accomplished by me just going and buying a laptop, I really need a new laptop or tablet for when I’m out and about. I don’t really want it to code on, but I want one that I can at least code on if I want to and not be tied down to Windows RT. Also don’t want it to be too expensive because I don’t see the point in buying expensive laptops.

19. Save money for after uni

Every student will still need some money to live after finishing university. So I’m going to save, save, save! Then once I have my job, I’ll be all sorted for life…

20. Start playing the saxophone again

It has been a long time since I properly played my saxophone. After I finished GCSE music, my saxophone playing sort of stopped. It wasn’t that I lost interest, it’s that work gets in the way. But with having a little more free time at uni, I might as well do something that I enjoy!

21. Go see the penguins at The Deep (when they get them)

Penguins are coming to the Deep in Hull!!!!!! I’m definitely going to be dragging Hannah down to have a look! Better put the date into my calendar for when they get here!

22. Have a sort out

I have a lot of stuff that I don’t even use any more. So I suppose I should do a bit of a clear out and get rid of a few things I don’t need which probably won’t be much. I can see myself hoarding everything as I get older…

 

I think I’ve set a lot to do here but I think I can do it! It’s definitely a great idea for getting started with a list of things that you should do even if it’s not things to do before your next birthday. It’s great to write a list of things to do so you get stuff done!

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