Karlin Fox and I recently visited some CIS students at GVSU and gave a presentation on source control during one of the cool Lunchtime Seminar slots they run over there. We got a warm reception, saw some familiar faces, and had a good time talking.
Our clandestine purpose in visiting GVSU is to get a chance to meet and interact with smart, up-and-coming programmers that might wish to join us for an internship or apply for work. But that’s what every employer wants when they stroll onto campus and start peppering the student body with business cards and schwag. We’re hoping our plan has a much better chance for success than that.
A group of us Atoms has begun reaching out to local universities, starting with some of our own favorite profs from GVSU. Our goal is to attract smart interns (and then great coworkers); our approach is to make a down payment with something of value.
By that, I mean: We want to get in front of students and give them something they can actually use. We’ve got a whole universe of tips, tricks, stories and wisdom we can share from our years of experience as software developers. We also want to open the window into the Atomic atmosphere and give these future software developers a chance to see how much we enjoy our jobs, how successful we’ve been doing what we love, and how very real the topics they’re studying can become once you’re out here in “the real world”.
The presentation itself (Everyday Source Control) was designed as a persuasive and motivational piece: Source control processes and tools pervade the software development world, inside organizations and on the web, and can furthermore improve your own code even if you’re just working by yourself. The concrete examples we included were designed to show our audience what a day in the life of an SVN user might look like, and how simple and productive the commands can be… not necessarily how to get started from scratch and become an overnight master of SVN.
We’re already thinking through a nice practical follow-up to the presentation. We’d really like to get into a lab and run a guided practical exercise; after all, that’s pretty much how all of us Atoms learned to use source control. Additionally, we’d like to spend a little more time educating students about Git, because it’s relevant, popular, and just plain fun!