WordCamp London University Panel – Digital Media and WordPress

Yesterday I had the pleasure of taking part in a unique event run by WordCamp London. I was part of a three person panel talking to the students of London Metropolitan University about employment in the digital sector, and specifically in WordPress.

The other panellists were Franz Vitulli (@franzvitulli) of Human Made and Fabio Torlini (@torlini) of WP Engine. The different experiences within the panel definitely helped to give a broad overview of employment in the sector. Franz was able to talk about his successful internship at Human Made, and working within an agency, Fabio has experience at the corporate level and working with big business, and I provided the freelance angle.

The event was split into two sessions.  The first was a Q&A with pre-prepared questions. The questions focused primarily on employment in the digital media and WordPress sectors. Advice was given on how to prepare for employment and job seeking whilst at university, and strategies to find jobs when they’ve left university.

The answers were as diverse as the experience of the panelists, but there were some common themes:

  • Networking and community involvement is crucial – join meetups and go to conferences (WordCamp London is coming up!)
  • Make things now – don’t wait until you have a job – start designing, building, etc. today
  • Start publishing your work and thoughts – establish a voice and build a body of work and opinions
  • Work on soft skills – communication, teamwork, determination, resilience, etc. – they are as important as the technical skills and knowledge

After lunch we gathered back into the room, and each panellist had an audience with a smaller group of students who were interested in their experience. I had a group of about eight students, and we talked for around an hour. The questions were great, and we covered topics such as:

  • Dealing with difficult client requests and scope creep
  • How to get into WordPress development
  • Finding your first clients
  • Project pricing
  • Design and development workflow
  • Tools of the trade

I really enjoyed this part of the session, as the students were asking questions that were important to them. They were really engaged, and I hope that my experience can give them a head start in their careers.

I’d like to say a big thank you to WordCamp London, especially Stef, and the nice people at London Metropolitan University for the opportunity to inspire the next generation. I’d also like to thank my fellow panelists, Franz and Fabio, for making the day so enjoyable, and for sharing their experiences – I learnt a lot too.

If any students would like to follow up with any questions, you can reach me on Twitter @keithdevon.

About the author

Co-founder and lead front-end developer at Highrise Digital. Keith has a passion for building beautiful, fast and usable websites.