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24PullRequests – Andrew Nesbitt

At the last BathCamp I met Andrew Nesbitt, who has recently moved to the area and was the driving force behind 24PullRequests – a hugely popular festive project to encourage developers to contribute back to open source software. The project ran from 1st to 24th December 2012.

Andrew describes himself as a ‘passionate, full stack developer, who loves experimenting with new technologies and techniques to help ship kick ass products on the web’, and he has kindly put together this post about his ’24PullRequests’ experience. 


andrewnesbitt“I came up with the idea for 24PullRequests during November when a few friends were participating in Movember, the viral nature of everyone growing moustaches made me wonder if the same approach could work for contributing to open source software on GitHub.

As a web developer, I use open source software on a daily basis. Ruby on Rails, Node.js and WordPress are all open source – you can download and view the source code of the project.

One of the most popular places to find open source software is GitHub, which provides a great way to contribute, the “pull request“.

The idea behind 24PullRequests is for developers to try and send 24 separate pull requests to open source projects during the month of December – think of it like an advent calendar for developers.

When I launched the site on 1st December it was a very simple, static HTML web page that explained the idea. I made the site open source and uploaded the site to GitHub and submitted the site to Hacker News.

The initial reception was excellent and developers quickly started to add functionality to the site, like the ability to login using your GitHub account and record all the pull requests you sent.

Over 1000 developers signed up to the site over the first couple days. This popularity caused a couple of problems!

The influx of traffic began to slow the website down, but luckily we had used Heroku to host the site so scaling up was a piece of cake.

The second problem was the sheer amount of pull requests being sent to the project itself. The developers participating were fixing bugs, adding features and even correcting typos on the site – managing all of them was taking a long time.

Thankfully the developers stepped up again and a team formed around the project to help out with the influx of activity.

By Christmas Day we had recorded 3175 pull requests on 1498 different projects from 886 developers, a massive success and some brilliant contributions to the world of open source software.

After the success of 2012, we’re are going to run the project again in December 2013. If you would like to get involved you can sign up to the site now and you’ll receive an email a bit closer to Christmas.”

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New talent? Why not grow your own…

Getting into the world of work is tough for new entrants, with many jobs in creative industries over-subscribed. Yet it can also be hard for small and medium sized companies to find the right new talent when they’re hiring – whether it’s a sole trader taking tentative steps to recruit their first employee, or an agency choosing the right fit for an established team.

For eight years I’ve run a range of projects between private, public and education partners to find and place emerging new faces with creative companies – from the BBC and large indies, to digital start-ups and partnerships. I’d love to say I’ve found a magical solution as a result of making those many successful discoveries, but alas I can’t. There are no short-cuts, it takes time and nurturing.

Something I have learned is that talent can be found in unusual places and whilst graduates make the best fit for some roles, there are many talented young people who are ready for work and teeming with ideas straight from school or college, they just need the right environment and encouragement.

With that in mind I’ve been enthusiastically wearing an ‘apprenticeships’ hat for Creative Skillset as they’ve rolled out a suite of creative workplace-based qualifications for non-graduates, including the Advanced Apprenticeship in Creative & Digital media. It’s not the answer to everything, but it’s certainly an option to look at, with many success stories already coming through. This summer will see a new ‘Pick the Tick’ accreditation for apprenticeship providers to help recruiters find quality assurance, and the soon-to-launch Higher Level Apprenticeships will broaden the offer to a wider range of creative jobs.

Gone are the traditional, fixed ‘day release’ models, replaced now by more flexible employer-friendly solutions – and for a limited period in 2012 smaller companies can access government grants to help cover the cost of their first apprentice. So while you’re wondering whether to place an ad, call an agency, or visit those graduate shows, take a look at apprenticeships and weigh up all your options – if you’re willing to invest a bit of time for the right person, you might be pleasantly surprised at what you get.

You can find more at: www.creativeskillset.org/qualifications/apprenticeships

Based near Bath, Lisa Howe is a freelance project manager specialising in developing creative people, their talent and skills. www.howe2.net

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HashBang.TV Episode 9 “Get the knowledge on Hailo Cab”

Russ and Gary join the boys to tell the Hailo Hollywood script style story – learn how three cabbies came up with the idea in a Covent Garden coffee shop, launched and spread the word amongst the London Black Cab community, and went on to raise one of the largest A rounds in recent European startup history. James seems to have developed a serve case of the “yeah’s” during the interview. Tweet us (@hashbangtv) with the number of “yeah’s” for a prize!

Listen to the Podcast from our Podcast page or iTunes & Podbean to get the extended interview, including talk of a “Hailo Fest” meetup, and the Dragon’s Den application. Finally check out Russ and Gary’s other project, their football Podcast “CabCast“.


Hailo Cab
CabCast Podcast
Mobile Industry Review

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