Hello and welcome to Coding Your Future (cdyf.me) the guidebook that will help you to design, engineer, test and
code your future in computing. Also published at cdyf.pdf & cdyf.epub, this book is aimed at ALL students in higher education. While the guide supports undergraduate teaching at the University of Manchester, it doesn’t actually matter:
- what stage of your degree you are at, from first year through to final year
- what level you are studying at, foundation, undergraduate or postgraduate
- what subject you are studying, as long as you are computationally curious
- what institution you are studying at, this book is University and institution agnostic
- where in the world you are studying
There is something in this guidebook for any student of computing, both those inside and outside of Computer Science departments. 👨🏿💻👨💻👩🏽💻👩💻👩🏿💻
This is a self-help guide but a lot of self-help literature can be dry, dull, textbooky, generic and boring with few illustrations and conversations. In the novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Caroll 1865) shown in figure 0.1, the protagonist Alice wonders why her sister is reading a book without pictures.
Pictures explain. Pictures help you understand. Pictures help you imagine. So this book uses pictures (and conversations) to help you imagine and visualise your future.
This guidebook aims to help you develop stronger habits of mind, body and soul using five key ingredients:
Code: Instructions, algorithms, recipes and strategies contained in this guidebook. This
codeis for your consumption, not for a machine.
- Data: Facts, statistics, graphs and pictures collected together for your analysis
- You: Activities for you to do in addition to reading
- Futures: Possible futures for you to think about. Try not to dwell on the past. Think about the future. Think about your future. (Ryder 1988, 2019)
- Me: Hello, my name is Duncan. I’m your tour guide here. If you’re feeling a bit lost, follow me.
Coding your future explores techniques for making career decisions, job searching, submitting applications and competing successfully in interviews and the workplace.
Alongside these practical engineering issues, this guidebook also encourages you to design your future by taking a step back and reflecting on the bigger picture. You will apply computational thinking techniques, to reflect on who you are, what your story is, how you communicate with other people and what your experience is. As there is a computational theme, you will also need to reflect on what your inputs and outputs (I/O) are, both now and in the future. You’ll also need to think about what recipes (or algorithms) you might start experimenting with
This guidebook tackles professional issues in computing, for those with and without Computer Science degrees in the early stage of their careers.
This guidebook will NOT teach you how to write code, there’s already lots of fantastic resources to help you do that. We discuss some of them in chapter 6 on computing your future.
So what will you learn from this guidebook? After reading this guidebook, watching the videos and doing the exercises you will be able to:
- Improve your self-awareness by describing who you are, what motivates you and your strengths and weaknesses
- Decide on a job search strategy and identify employers, sectors and roles that are of interest to you
- Improve your written communication skills both for job applications and communicating with other people
- Plan and prepare competitive written applications using standard techniques including CVs, covering letters, application forms and digital profiles
- Compete successfully in interviews and assessment centres by preparing for technical and non-technical questions
- Plan further steps in your career such as promotion, postgraduate study & research, alternative employment and longer term goals
- Search and navigate a large “wordbase” (this guidebook and the work it cites). A wordbase is like a
codebase, only written predominantly in natural language.
As the title of this guidebook implies, there is a computational flavour here, but you do not have to be studying Computer Science to benefit. There are two main target audiences for this guidebook:
- Undergraduate and postgraduate students studying Computer Science as a major or minor part of their degree. This includes software engineering, artificial intelligence, human-computer interaction (HCI), information systems, health informatics, data science, gaming, cybersecurity and all the other myriad flavours of Computer Science
- Undergraduate and postgraduate students studying any subject, with little or no Computer Science at all. You are curious to know about what role computing could play in your future career because computing is too important to be left to Computer Scientists, see chapter 6 on Computing your Future
So the prerequisites for this book are that you are studying (or have studied) at University where English is one of the main spoken languages. You may have some experience already, either casual, voluntary or otherwise, but this book does not assume that you have already been employed in some capacity.
Reading this book from cover to cover like a novel is not recommended. That would be foolish.
Instead of reading this book, I suggest you follow the advice given to historian William Woodruff about reading books when he was at University:
“You don’t READ books, you GUT them!” (Woodruff 2003) 🐟
So, gut this book like the fish in figure 0.3. Identify the chapters that are most useful to you (the flesh), and skip the rest (the guts). Which chapters are flesh and which are guts will depend on what stage of the journey you are at. This guidebook is designed to be as “guttable” as possible. To aid gutting, the version published at cdyf.me has a built in search and tables of contents. Before you can gut the fish, you’ll need an anatomical map shown in figure 0.4.
This guidebook is split into three parts. The first part (Chapters 1 to 6) is on design while the second part (chapters 7 to 13) is on building and testing your future shown in the map in figure 0.4. The final part is a help section for supporting your future (chapters 14 to 20). Let’s look in a bit more detail at the content of each of the three parts of this guidebook:
The first six chapters of this guidebook look at what engineers call design. When you build anything, a bridge, a piece of software, a car or a plane you’ll need to do some design like the blueprint in figure 0.5
Building a career isn’t that different to building anything else, you’ll need to do some design work and it will probably be iterative. Designing things often involves asking tricky questions. So when you’re designing your future you’ll need to cover the following:
- Chapter 1: Rebooting your future discusses why you should bother reading this guidebook
- Chapter 2: Knowing your future challenges you to reflect on who you are, what makes you unique and why you are here
- Chapter 3: Nurturing your future encourages you to take care of your mental and physical health
- Chapter 4: Writing your future explores your soft skills, and how they complement your hard skills and why employers value them so much
- Chapter 5: Experiencing your future asks you to reflect on your work experience and help identify where you can improve it
- Chapter 6: Computing your future looks at the role computing can play in your career, especially if Computer Science is not a major part of your degree
The next seven chapters look at building (and testing) your future, what engineers like to call implementation or execution shown in figure 0.6.
Once you’ve started to answer the design questions in the first part, you can start to implement (or build) your career and think about what the next steps will be.
- Chapter 7: Debugging your future looks at debugging your written communication such as covering letters, application forms and digital portfolios.
- Chapter 8: Finding your future looks at where and how can you look for interesting opportunities
- Chapter 9: Broadening your future encourages you to broaden your horizons. What are the possibilities beyond the obvious?
- Chapter 10: Speaking your future looks how can you turn interviews to your advantage and negotiate any offers you receive
- Chapter 11: Surviving your future looks at the next steps. Once you’ve landed a job, how will you survive and thrive outside (and after) University
- Chapter 12: Achieving your future looks at evidence you can collect of your learning and development using various kinds of certifiable evidence
- Chapter 13: Researching your future discusses if a Masters degree or a PhD right for you?
The third part of this book, contains supporting material that will help the design, build and test phases described above. You’ll need good support to help with the stresses and strains of building your future shown in 0.7
- Chapter 14: Ruling your future provides Ten Simple Rules for Coding your Future, this book in a nutshell
- Chapter 15: Hacking your future invites you to put yourself in the employers shoes by hacking other people’s CVs
- Chapter 16: Moving your future looks at opportunities outside of capital cities like London
- Chapter 17: Hearing your future invites you to listen to students stories of their transition from education to employment
- Chapter 18: Actioning your future gets you to think about your actions by emphasising verbs on your job applications
- Chapter 19: Scheduling your future is the live synchronous sessions for this course, if you’re not participating in these, schedule a time every day or week for personal development
- Chapter 20: Reading your future lists everything cited in this guidebook.
This guidebook aims to help you build a bridge from where you are now to where you’d like to be in the future. Each chapter of the book contains the following recurring themes:
- Learning your future: What you will learn from any given chapter
- Watching your future: videos and animations for you to watch
- Listening to your future: audio and podcasts for you to listen to
- Speaking your future: articulating from a script or by improvisation, particularly when preparing for interviews
- Discussing your future: breakpoints invite you to pause your code and think about the variables and parameters you are using. Can they be improved? Reflect and discuss.
Reading your future: reading stuff because its good for your mind, body and soul. Read The Friendly Manual.
RTFM. Read THIS Friendly Manual.
- Writing your future: written exercises using natural language
- Quizzing your future: quick quizzes to be done in real-time live scheduled sessions described in chapter 19 (synchronously) and in your own time (asynchronously)
- Assessing your future: activities to be assessed by yourself, your peers, an employer or an academic (depending on who and where you are)
- Challenging your future: coding challenges are designed to take you out of your comfort zone by encouraging you to experiment with your thoughts, discussions and actions
- Signposting your future: the most useful resources that I recommend you read, listen to or watch
If you’d like to contribute this guidebook, I welcome constructive feedback from critical friends, see figure 0.9. All contributions will be gratefully acknowledged section 0.8 unless you ask for your contributions to remain anonymous.
I’m looking for feedback and contributions on everything in this guidebook from the small things like typos, grammatical errors and spelling mistakes through to bigger issues for each chapter such as:
- Does the chapter make sense, is it clear?
- Does it strike the right tone, is it pitched at the right level? Not patronising? Too many platitudes?
- Are there too many motivational (or demotivational) quotations?
- Where is it too long and waffly (see figure 7.14) or too short?
- Are there too many (or too few) pictures? What needs more illustration?
- Is it well scoped? Too broad or too narrow?
- Are the stated learning objectives met by the chapter?
- Are the activities clear? Can students understand why the activities are recommended? What other activities could be added?
- Will it make sense to global readers e.g. will students from China and India understand the quirks and idioms of English language and culture
- Are there too many metaphors? Mixed metaphors? Awkward analogies? Idiotic idioms? Annoying alliterations?
- Too many citations? Not enough citations? Missed any key citations?
- What’s missing?
- Where are the unstated assumptions? Where is the unconscious bias?
- What are the issues with equality, diversity and inclusion?
- Are there too many musical references or annoying emoji? Please bear in mind I’m trying to strike an irreverent, light-hearted and playful tone to improve readability 😜
- What else should be ruthlessly edited out?
All suggestions welcome! Don’t be shy. There are several ways you can contribute, depending on how comfortable you are with Git:
If you’re familiar with git and markdown you can github.com/join and:
- Raise new issues at github.com/dullhunk/cdyf/issues/new
- Click on the
Edit this pagelink, which appears on the bottom right hand side of every page published at cdyf.me when viewed with a reasonably large screen (not a phone)
- Contribute at github.com/dullhunk/cdyf/contribute and help with existing issues at github.com/dullhunk/cdyf/issues
- Fork the repository, make changes and submit a pull request github.com/dullhunk/cdyf/pulls. If you need to brush-up on your pulling skills see makeapullrequest.com
- From the command line, clone the repository and submit pull requests from your own setup:
git clone https://github.com/dullhunk/cdyf.git
Most of the guidebook is generated from RMarkdown, that’s all the
*.Rmd files. So markdown files are the only ones you should edit because everything else is generated from them including the
If you don’t want to (or can’t) use Git and github.com then you can:
- Add comments by annotating cdyf.pdf using your personal weapon of choice (tablet, reMarkable or whatever) and emailing your updated version to me
- Add comments by annotating cdyf.epub and emailing your updated version to me
- Suggest changes by editing the Microsoft Word version at cdyf.docx. The text is all there, but the images are all over the place. This is because the pagination, typesetting and graphic placement algorithms in Word aren’t anything like as good as the LaTeX ones used to create the cdyf.pdf (output) from the cdyf.tex (input).1 Make sure you’ve turned on track changes in Word. Track changes is Microsoft Word’s killer feature that allows your corrections to be easily identified from the original text.
- Just email me suggestions for improvements
Any corrections or suggestions will be gratefully received and noted in the acknowledgements section 0.8, unless you tell me otherwise. I welcome all improvements, big and small.
The content of this book is based on hundreds of conversations I have had with students of Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics and Engineering, since 2012. It is also based on conversations I’ve had with many of their employers too.
First and foremost, I would like to thank all the students who have helped with this book, both directly and indirectly see figure 0.10.
So, if you have studied some flavour of Computer Science at the University of Manchester since 2012, there’s a high probability you have contributed to this book. Thank you for having the courage to tell me your stories. Thank you for being ambitious, hard working, talented, fearless, creative, inspirational and listening to me (sometimes). It has been my pleasure and privilege to work with you all.
I’d especially like to thank industrial experience (IE) students who have completed a year in industry as part of their degree as well as those who have done summer internships, either as part of the Master of Engineering (MEng) program or otherwise, particularly Sami Alabed, Luke Beamish, Eirik Björnerstedt, Petia Davidova and Kristina Radinova. In addition, the PASS leaders and facilitators, UniCSmcr.com, HackSoc, CSSoc and Manchester Ultimate Programming members have all been influential on the content of this book. I’ve learned heaps by manually trawling through thousands of your CVs too, so if you’ve shown me a copy of your CV, thanks! If you sent me a CV and I didn’t reply, I apologise. There are limits to what is humanly possible. Chapter 7 on Debugging your future (self assessment) and chapter 15 on Hacking your future (peer assessment) are based on the most common bugs (or are they features?) I’ve seen in CVs.
So, thank you students for being studious. 🙏
Thanks to all the organisations who have employed students from the Department of Computer Science as either summer interns, year long placements or graduates. A big chunk of this guidebook documents their experience of employers and their graduate recruitment programs.
So, thanks employers for employing our students. 🙏
I would especially like to thank Jim Miles for encouraging me to write a book shortly after he offered me a job. I thought he was joking (about the book) but it actually turned out to be another one of Jim’s great ideas. Thanks Jim. 🙏
I’d also like to thank the only three people in the whole world who’ve had the misfortune of reading all of my PhD thesis; Robert Stevens, Anil Wipat and Steve Pettifer. I suspect it was as painful for you to read as it was for me to write it. Thanks Robert for your relentless patience and giving me a well timed, well aimed kick up the (proverbial) arse to write this book in the Midland Hotel, Manchester at the May ball.
Thanks Steve Furber for playing bass guitar in our “boy band” Tuning Complete. Thanks to Carole Goble for patiently re-teaching me how to write by covering early drafts of my MSc thesis in red ink and less patiently (on subsequent revisions) swear words. 🤬
Thanks to past and present academic colleagues, PhD students and teachers at the University of Manchester (and elsewhere) who have contributed to this guidebook and the environment it was written in. We are bound together by the power of weak ties (section 8.6) alongside stronger forces and friendships. They include (in alphabetical order):
Pinar Alper, Sophia Ananiadou, Mikel Egaña Aranguren, Constantinos Astreos, Terri Attwood, Sam Bail, Robin Baker, Richard Banach, Riza Batista-Navarro, Michael Bada, Niall Beard, Sean Bechhofer, Lynne Bianchi, Helena Björn van Praagh, Stewart Blakeway, Petrut Bogdan, Caroline Bowsher, Linda Brackenbury, Judy Brewer, Nick Brown, Mihai Bujanca, Oscar Corcho, Christian Brenninkmeijer, Andy Bridge, Andy Brass, Andy Brown, Gavin Brown, Terry V. Callaghan, Grant Campbell, Angelo Cangelosi, Peter Capon, Andy Carpenter, Nicola Carrier, Barry Cheetham, Ke Chen, Sarah Clinch, Ian Cottam, Brian Cox, Simone Di Cola, Paul Dobson, Clare Dixon, Danny Dresner, Nick Drummond, Warwick Dunn, Doug Edwards, Iliada Eleftheriou, Anas Elhaig, Suzanne Embury, Michael Emes, Alvaro Fernandes, Jonathan Ferns, Michele Filannino, Nick Filer, Paul Fisher, Steve Furber, Andre Freitas, Aphrodite Galata, Matthew Gamble, Jim Garside, Kristian Garza, Chris Gilbert, Danielle George, Richard Giordano, Birte Glimm, Carole Goble, Rafael Gonçalves, Antoon Goderis, Roy Goodacre, Graham Gough, Bernardo Cuenca Grau, Peter R. Green, Keith Gull, John Gurd, Luke Hakes, Robert Haines, Guy Hanke, Simon Harper, Phil Harris, Jonathan Heathcote, Lloyd Henning, Gareth Henshall, Andrew Horn, Farid Kahn, Matthew Horridge, Ian Horrocks, Toby Howard, Roger Hubbold, Luigi Iannone, Jane Ilsley, Jules Irenge, Daniel Jameson, Caroline Jay, Mirantha Jayathilaka, Huw Jones, Simon Jupp, Yevgeny Kazakov, John Keane, Douglas Kell, Catriona Kennedy, Rachel Kenyon, Chris Knight, Joshua Knowles, Dirk Koch, Nikolaos Konstantinou, Christos Kotselidis, Ioannis Kotsiopoulos, Oliver Kutz, Alice Larkin, Peter Lammich, John Latham, Kung-Kiu Lau, Margi Lennartsson Turner, Dave Lester, Peter Li, Zewen Liu, Phil Lord, Mikel Luján, Darren Lunn, Matthew Makin, Nicolas Matentzoglu, Paul Mativenga, Erica McAlister, Mary McGee Wood, April McMahon, Merc and members of the Manchester University Mountaineering Club (MUMC), Simon Merrywest, Eleni Mikroyannidi, Colin Morris, Norman Morrison, Georgina Moulton, Boris Motik, Christoforos Moutafis, Tingting Mu, Ettore Murabito, Mustafa Mustafa, Javier Navaridas, Kostas Nikolou, Aleksandra Nenadic, Goran Nenadic, Steve McDermott, Jock McNaught, Mary McGee-Wood, Pedro Mendes, Sarah Mohammad-Qureshi, Tim Morris, Jennifer O’Brien, Tim O’Brien, Steve Oliver, Pierre Olivier, Mario Ramirez Orihuela, Stuart Owen, Ali Owrak, Pavlos Petoumenos, Luis Plana, Jackie Potter, Malcolm Press, Colin Puleston, Paul Nutter, Ignazio Palmisano, Dario Panada, Michael Parkin, Bijan Parsia, Jon Parkinson, Norman Paton, Jeff Pepper, Steve Pettifer, Rishi Ramgolam, Allan Ramsay, Alasdair Rawsthorne, Farshid Rayhan, Alan Rector, Giles Reger, Graham Riley, David Robertson, Jeremy Rodgers, Clare Roebuck, Jeremy Rodgers, Mauricio Jacobo Romero, Nancy Rothwell, William Rowe, Oliver Rhodes, David Rydeheard, Graham Riley, Daniella Ryding, Ulrike Sattler, Ahmed Saeed, Pejman Saeghe, Rizos Sakellariou, Pedro Sampaio, Sandra Sampaio, John Sargeant, Andrea Schalk, Viktor Schlegel, Renate Schmidt, Jonathan Shapiro, Liz Sheffield, Bushra Sikander, Lemn Sissay, Vangelis Simeonidis, Kieran Smallbone, Alastair Smith, Stian Soiland-Reyes, Irena Spasic, David Spendlove, Robert Stevens, Alan Stokes, Shoaib Sufi, James Sumner, Peter Sutton, Neil Swainston, John H. Tallis, Paul Taplin, Federico Tavella, Chris Taylor, Tom Thomson, Dave Thorne, David Toluhi, Tony Trinci, Dimitri Tsarkov, Daniele Turi, Jake Vasilakes, Laura Vasques, Delia Vazquez, Giles Velarde, Chiara Del Vescovo, Markel Vigo, Andrei Voronkov, Niels Walet, Alex Walker, Louise Walker, Dieter Wiechart, Igor Wodiany, Katy Wolstencroft, Natalie Wood, Chris Wroe, Crystal Wu, Lisheng Wu, Yifan Xu, Viktor Yarmolenko, Yeliz Yesilada, Serafeim Zanikolas, Xiao-Jun Zeng, Jun Zhao, Liping Zhao, Ning Zhang and Evgeny Zolin.
So thanks academics for being even more sceptical than Christopher Hitchens, see figure 0.12. Thanks academics for being academic. 🙏
Thanks also to the superb support staff (past and present) from professional services, especially the Academic Support Office (ACSO), Student Support Office (SSO) and external affairs office in the Kilburn building. Professional services staff continue to make all the magic of teaching and learning possible: Alyx Adams, Cassie Barlow, Jennie Ball-Foster, Emma Bentley, Christine Bowers, Karen Butterworth, Chris Connolly, Ellie Crompton, Jean Davison, Gavin Donald, Miriam Cadney, Chris Calland, Ben Carter, Hannah Cousins, Holly Dewsnip, Tammy Goldfeld, Penney Gordon-Lanes, Amelia Graham, Iain Hart, Kath Hopkins, Lynn Howarth, Yvonne Hung, Susie Hymas, Radina Ivanova, Dan Jagger, Alex Jones, Jessicca Kateryniuk-Smith, Mike Keeley, Stephanie Lee, Dominic Laing, Gill Lester, Jez Lloyd, Ruth Maddocks, Cameron Macdonald, Tony McDonald, Karon Mee, Anne Milligan, Rachel Mutters, Matthew Oakley, Alyson Owens, Chris Page, Melanie Price, Chris Rhodes, Graham Richardson, Martin Ross, Julian Skyrme, Elaine Sheehan, Angela Standish, Martine Storey, Bernard Strutt, Jannine Thomas, Joseph Tirone, Daisy Towers, Anna Warburton-Ball, Richard Ward, Sarah White, Elizabeth Wilkinson, Andrew Whitmore, Lisa Wright and Mabel Yau.
So, thank you colleagues for being collegiate. You make the University of Manchester an enjoyable place to work. 🙏
Beyond Manchester there is a wider academic community of scientists, engineers and scholars that have influenced this guidebook:
- Thanks to Sally Fincher and Janet Finlay whose report Computing Graduate Employability: Sharing Practice (Fincher and Finlay 2016) has had a big influence on this guidebook.
- Thanks to Steven Bradley, Quintin Cutts and Jane Waite for helping me setup and run SIGCSE journal club. Thanks to all the journal clubbers too, both regular and irregular including Brett Becker, Ceredig Cattanach-Chell, Tom Crick, James Davenport, Rodrigo Ferreira, Colin Johnson, Nicola Looker, Julia Markel, Jim Paterson, Sue Sentance, David Sutton, Moshe Vardi and Michel Wermelinger. Many of our journal club conversations have fed directly into the content of this guidebook
- Thanks to David Malan (@malan) for CS50 which continues to be an inspiration to me and many others. (Malan 2010, 2020, 2021) Thanks to Cristian Bodnar for inviting David to run CS50 in Manchester in 2017 which was a great introduction to David’s work (Malan 2017)
- Thanks to Laurie Santos (@lauriesantos), for The Science of Well-being (TSOWB) (Santos 2021) which was been a significant influence on this book had a gradual but dramatic effect on my personal and professional life. I’ve tried to distill some of the ideas into chapter 3 on Nurturing your future
- Thanks to Hadley Wickham (@hadley) and Garrett Grolemund (@garrettgman) for R for Data Science (Wickham and Grolemund 2017) which helped me get started with R and bookdown. If you’re reading this page in some kind of web browser, the stylesheet used here is re-used from r4ds.had.co.nz
- Thanks to Athene Donald and Stephen Curry at Occams Typewriter for writing stuff that has entertained and inspired me
- Thanks to Jonathan Black (@JonathanPBlack) for his book Where am I Going, Can I Have a Map?, his Financial Times columns and videos. (Black 2017, 2021)
- Thanks to David Alan Walker for his book Energy, Plants & Man which inspired the conversations and pictures idea behind this book. (D. Walker and Walker 1992)
So thanks scientists (and engineers) for being scientific. 🙏
As a graduate of the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) in Science at the University of Bath (graduated 2011), I have been heavily influenced by the fantastic work of PGCE science course leaders Caroline Padley (Physics), Steve Cooper (Chemistry), Malcolm Ingram (Biology) and fellow students on the course.
Thanks to Stuart Ferguson, David Booth, Chris Almond, David Ball, Caroline Dallimore, Mr Travers, Caroline Moss and all the other staff and students at Shaftesbury School who hosted my first PGCE teaching placement. Thanks also to my fellow Shaftesbury/Bath trainees Katharine Platt, Harriet Edwards, Vicky Dury and Joan Shaw for sharing their hard won knowledge through peer learning. Thanks Joan for keeping me awake on the long and winding west country roads to and from deepest darkest Dorset. Thanks for sharing the heavy burden of driving too.
So thanks Shaftesbury for lessons on top of Gold Hill and the Hovis Advert, one of Britain’s best-loved adverts. (Scott 1974) 🍞
Thanks to headteacher Clive Zimmerman, his team of staff, Mr M. Carter , Mr K. Thomas and the students of Greendown Community School (now Lydiard Park Academy) in Swindon, Wiltshire for hosting my second PGCE teaching placement. It was fun teaching you about waves using @Alom Shaha’s jelly babies and kebab sticks shown in figure 0.15.
Thanks to headteacher Joanne Meredith, her team of staff and the students at St. Annes R.C. High School, Stockport for hosting my Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) year. Thanks to Keith Doran and other members of the alternative staff room for your emotional, moral and practical support throughout the year. According to the Manchester Evening News, St. Anne’s is “the forgotten school” (Johnson 2020; Gill and Statham 2021), see figure 0.16, but I’ll never forget you or the lessons you taught me.
Thanks to all the schools who interviewed (but rejected me) for my Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) year. Doing interview lessons, meeting your students and your senior leadership teams was a gruelling but fascinating magical mystery tour of the UK education system, both public and private. Although unsuccessful, these interviews were very productive failures:
- Wrightlington School, Radstock, Somerset, see their amazing Orchid project wsbeorchids.org run by Simon Pugh-Jones
- The Cooper School, Bicester, Oxfordshire, see their teacher in my pocket project
- St John’s Marlborough, Wiltshire - not to be confused its posher and more famous next door neighbour Marlborough College
- Oasis Academy, Brislington, Bristol
- Redland Green School, Redland, Bristol
- The John of Gaunt School, Trowbridge, Wiltshire
- Didcot Girls’ School, Didcot, Oxfordshire
- Cheltenham Ladies’ College, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire2
- Blackburn College, Lancashire “I read the news today, oh boy! Four thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire” (Lennon and McCartney 1967)
So thanks schools, for schooling. 🙏
Thanks to Greater Mancunians Paul Bason, Martin Bryant, Darren Dancey, Shaun Fensom, Tony Foggett, Katie Gallagher, Emma Grant, David Haikney, Ross Keeping, Tony McGrath, Chris Marsh, Geraint North, Martyn Spink, Julian Tait, Rachel Thompson, Wesley Verne, Paul Vlissidis and Travis Walton for friendly Northern support and advice.
So thanks Manchester for being Mancunian.3 🙏
Thanks to Thsespal Kundan, Principal of the Moravian Institute in Rajpur, Dehradun, Uttar Pradesh, India for hosting me and my friend Doug fresh out of high school on a gap year. We learned loads as visiting supply teachers of English and Mathematics, thanks to an introduction from a mutual contact Angus Barker. Thanks also to the Moravians in Manchester at Fairfield High School for Girls for hosting undergraduate students as part of coding their future.
So thanks Moravians (and Angus) for life changing and formative experiences. 🙏
Some of the most important influences on this guidebook are people I’ve only met very briefly, virtually or not at all (yet).
- Thanks to Gayle Laakman McDowell (@gayle), for her cracking series of books (McDowell 2014, 2015; McDowell and Bavaro 2013; Bavaro and McDowell 2021) which have been very useful resources both for students I’ve worked with and me personally
- Thanks to Yihui Xie (@yihui) and contributors to bookdown.org, the software used to produce this book alongwith the comprehensive and well-written documentation on using it. [Xie (2017); Xie (2015); Xie, Dervieux, and Riederer (2020);]
- Thanks to Bronnie Ware for her The Top Five Regrets of the Dying (Ware 2011) which helped me to re-align my priorities when they were all out of kilter
- Thanks to blogging blokes on the interwebs whose words I’ve enjoyed reading. Your writing provides an existence proof that engineers and scientists should also be good communicators:
- Thanks to Jo Hobbs at Lancaster University for advice on placements and employability in undergraduate teaching
- Thanks to Sophie Milliken for From Learner to Earner: A recruitment insider’s guide for students wanting to achieve graduate job success (Milliken 2019) which draws useful distinctions between graduate jobs and graduate schemes
So, thanks influencers for being influential. 🙏
Thanks to everyone who has contributed via github, listed below in order of github usernames. I will credit any github contributors here, small or large. Even the typos, it all counts. You can easily add yourself to this roll call (see section 0.7) by correcting my delibreate mitsakes. 😉
Aman (@amanrana1), Keith Mitchell (@apiadventures), Zee Somji (@ezeethg), iliketohelp (@iliketohelp), Jan Machacek (@janm399), teobalmos (@teobalmos), Tsvetankov (@Tsvetankov), Richard Gourley (@richardgourley), Tristan Maat (@TLATER)
So, thanks githubbers for cloning, forking, pulling, adding, committing and pushing. 🙏
Special thanks to English speaking Wikipedians Evan Amos, Abd Alsattar Ardati, Caroline Ball, Alex Bateman, Dan Brickley, John Byrne, Lucy Crompton-Reid, Daria Cybulska, Andrew Davidson, Paul Gardner, Madeleine Goodall, Aaron Halfaker, Melissa Highton, Eoin Houston, Darren Logan, Magnus Manske, Andy Mabbett, Charles Matthews, Ewan McAndrew, Joshua Minor, Peter Murray-Rust, Richard Nevell, Frank Norman, Rod Page, Bhavesh Patel, Mike Peel, Martin Poulter, Joseph Reagle, Dario Taraborelli, Sara Thomas, Denny Vrandečić, Ian Watt, Alice White, Jessica Wade, Taha Yasseri for insights, inspiration, support, software, data, pictures and guidance. Thanks also for educating me on issues of equality, diversity and inclusion, especially gender and race.
So, thanks Wikipedians for being Wikipedia. 🙏
Bryan is an artist, visual thinker and entrepreneur, who also happens to have a Bachelors degree in Computer Science from the University of Glasgow. His combined skills in art, science and engineering made him the perfect fit for illustrating this guidebook. You can find out more about Bryan at bryanmathers.com and visualthinkery.com. I’m sooo glad we randomly bumped into each other at a conference shown in figure 8.10.
So, thanks Bryan for your witty illustrations, this book wouldn’t be the same without your visual thinkery. 🙏
Thanks to my friends, especially those who I’ve enjoyed singing, dancing and live music with. I hope we can sing and dance together to live music again before too long.
So, thank you friends for your friendship. 🙏
Hello, my name is Duncan Hull and I wrote this guidebook for undergraduate and postgraduate students as part of my job at the University of Manchester where I’m a lecturer (≈ Assistant Professor) in the Department of Computer Science.
So what’s my story? Like many people, my path has been what Helen Tupper and Sarah Ellis call a “squiggly career” rather than classic linear one. (Tupper and Ellis 2020, 2021) I’ve been gainfully employed as a paperboy, supermarket cashier, shelf stacker, sausage factory worker, pork pie filler, chef, dogsbody, field assistant, database administrator, deli counter server, consultant, matchday steward, envelope stuffer, high school teacher, postdoc, research scientist, software engineer, lecturer, external examiner, tutor and scholar.
I’ve done a range of voluntary work too, serving as a competition judge, fundraiser, code club & coderdojo leader, rabble rouser, digital council member, school governor, curator, librarian, beer drinker, wikipedia trainer, journal clubber and editor. But as Ronnie Lane and Ronnie Wood (figure 0.20) once said:
This guidebook documents some of what I know now, that I wish I’d known, when I was younger. If you’re starting your career, I hope you find these insights useful. I’ve sat on both sides of the interview table, as interviewer and interviewee. I have had some spectacular failures, alongside some modest successes, and have included personal stories where they are relevant.
Most of what I have learned about employment comes from listening to, and watching students interact with employers as they take the first tentative steps in their careers. I’ve documented some of what they taught me, so reading this book may help you learn from some of their successes and failures.
I am not a lawyer (IANAL) but any opinions expressed in this guidebook are my own and not representative of my current employer, the University of Manchester. This guidebook does not therefore, represent University policy.
The text of this guidebook is published under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License (CC-BY-NC-ND) license see figure 0.21.
This means you can copy and redistribute the written material provided that:
- You provide full attribution by linking directly to the original source
- You do not use the material for commercial purposes
- You do not make any derivative works
See the full license (CC-BY-NC-ND) for details.
The images used in this guidebook are published under different licenses, depending on their source. For example, Bryan Mathers illustrations are licensed CC-BY-ND, see figure 0.22. Other images have different licences, for example, images from Wikimedia Commons (commons.wikimedia.org) are published under CC-BY or CC-BY-SA, fair use or public domain. Each figure caption gives details of the pictures licence.
So now that we’ve dispensed with the formalities, let’s look at why should you bother reading this guidebook in the first place.