Last week I had the pleasure of attending the first ever Work in the Web. A workshop that aims to give University students an opportunity to gain the fundamental skills needed to survive in this industry.

The event was organised by Mixd, a Harrogate based Digital Agency and ran through the course of 3 days; during which we were taken through the various stages of a Web Project, all cut up into digestible chunks for us to wrap our heads around.

You can read up on the weeks events on Mixd’s blog. This post will focus on my personal experience from the event, as followed:

Relevance

It’s to nobodies surprise when I say University isn’t good enough when it comes to media. Various people have voiced their opinions (and even spoken about it) over the years and it all comes down to the same verdict; it doesn’t work.

The Web Industry is fast paced and grows at an exponential rate with new tools and workflows around every corner. it’s not fair to assume that Tutors have the time to keep up to date with these current affairs whilst trying to juggle the academic legalities that come with course amendments and academia in general.

This is something that in my eyes, WITW cures.

Instead of having to conform to University modules, we were instead allowed to learn the core of what it is to be a Front-End Developer.

With sessions on RWD, Sass and Workflows, we could jump through the invisible shields that Universities restrain us in and learn something that’s really going to shine on a CV or interview.

It also went the extra mile and we were given the chance to learn about the more advanced techniques such as Version Controlling and Server Deployment, whilst also tapping into tools like Grunt and WordPress. Something that you’d have to toy around with in your spare time, whilst still never fully grasping it’s concept; even if it would only take 2 minutes of guidance to explain.

Environment

The sessions themselves weren’t the only exceptional attribute to these workshops, it also had a lot to do with the environment in which it was held. Being sat next to and potentially boring the living day lights out of the Mixd Team with questions is a great place to be and you are able to really understand what you’re doing. If I needed help, I was only two seconds away from getting it, unlike at University where I would have to wait for my Tutor to go through 15 of my peers first.

Meeting new people

Finally, the last major attribute which makes WITW so appealing to me is the social aspect.

Just as the University Tutors have shown us; skills come and go. Eventually we will all have to drop the old and learn the new. However, the one attribute that will stay is the people you meet at events like WITW and Hey!Stac. The mere fact that you’re able to socialise with individuals that get just as much of a buzz off using Sass as you allows you to connect with the Industry in a way you wouldn’t be able to if it was just a normal job.

During the week and especially at the Hey!Stac event on the Tuesday Night, I was able to befriend many different Developers, Designers and Speakers, all of which are crazily talented in their area of expertise. Going forward I now have friends whom I can turn to if I need a helping hand.

Concluding Thoughts

After talking to the guys at Mixd and my own Tutors from University, you can really see that Academia in Media needs to drastically change. It cannot be a rigid structure that works for static subjects such as Maths. Its the workshops such as these that are going in the correct path and as Students or Professions alike, its our jobs to make these Workshops known.

I thoroughly enjoyed my experience last week and I would recommend it to anyone seeking a job career in the Web Industry.

I would like the thank the entire Mixd team for hosting an invaluable workshop. I’ve learnt hell of a lot from you guys and I’ve started to use my new-found processes and tools within my workflow. Kudos.

Keep up the great work guys, I’m sure the next one will be even better.

October 2014

If you’re a student and would like to attend the next WITW (and you most definitely should!) then applications open in October 2014 for January 2015. Details of which will be updated over on the website or twitter.