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Ranting at the youth

2014/01/16 Comments off

Since graduating back in 2006 I’ve been honoured by Northumbria University by being asked to return and speak with their students with the hindsight of having spent time out in industry, I covered my last trip here. So when I got an email at the tail end of last year I didn’t think twice in agreeing; though in hindsight I should have asked more questions, previous sessions have been 15minute slots, this time around I was booked in for 2 HOURS!, after I’d already agreed. – Think I nearly fainted at that point.

Thankfully one thing I’ve never had a problem with is telling war-stories, anecdotes and lessons learned. As the Uni were looking for real world experience this seemed ideal so I based the presentation around incidents I’ve encountered and (hopefully) help others learn from my experiences. For anyone willing to follow along at home the slide deck can be found here, though I doubt it’s particularly useful as the slides were more memory jogs for me, than actually useful information.

As I was unsure how long I’d be able to talk for (anyone that has seen me talk previously will know I can get rather, speedy, as I get excited) I setup a lab environment to demo some of the technologies discussed, honeypots – no surprises there. The plan was that the lab could expand and fill whatever time was left in the session after I ran out of slides. At least that was the plan; as it happens the content generated sufficient levels of debate, interest and questions that I managed to fill the whole slot and even overrun slightly with some Q&A after the event.

Remembering my experience on the other side of the divide, bored stiff listening to those in the ‘real world’ whilst at Uni caused me plenty of trepidation for the last couple of weeks that I’d be wasting everyone’s time. So I was delighted to (nervously) check my twitter feed after the session closed, to find several messages with positive feedback in my timeline; taking a leap that all the students weren’t just being polite the session seems to have been a success and of some benefit. Adding this to the usual buzz I gain after public speaking in general I’m currently a very happy geek.

Many thanks to Northumbria University for extending the invitation in the first place, and for Onyx Group’s continued understanding and flexibility to enable me the time to get involved with this and similar activities – not all profit is commercial.


Andrew Waite

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