Video details

An Introduction To Accessibility & Why A Techy Needs A Personal Brand


Hi Manc Webbers,
Welcome to Manc Web 20!
We're back after a short summer hiatus and we've got two great speakers lined up, Rob Precious from The Hut Group and Rachel Skelton from Covea Insurance
We'll end the event with an open Q&A session with 2 of our organisers Laura and Parul. Laura is the Head of Talent at Street Group and Parul is a JavaScript recruiter in Manchester. They're both in the talent space so this is an excellent opportunity to ask any questions around hiring, navigating the job market, salaries, tech.
Our speakers this time --------------------------------- -Rob Precious, Lead Accessibility Specialist at The Hut Group @RobPreciousA11y
"Getting Started with Accessibility"
-Defining the Accessibility challenge -What are the tiggers that start accessibility work at an organisation -How do you respond/get started? -Breaking down the problem -How to start testing, start fixing right away -Where you could go from there -Q&A
--------------------------------- Rachel Skelton, Engineering Experience and Community Lead at Covea Insurance @Techyrey
"Why a techie needs a personal brand (and why now more than ever)"
As a developer, finding new ways to stand out in a crowd of other devs is becoming more and more necessary. Whether it’s to land a role or leverage your opportunities, building your personal brand is the new CV. Sadly, though there are a lot of myths around personal branding, and how it might be just for extroverts, or those who have a personal brand might seem… stuck up. Join Rachel as she speaks about:
-Why it’s getting more important now more than ever to have a personal brand as a developer. -Why a personal brand isn’t just for extroverts. -Debunking personal brand myths. -How you can use your personal brand to leverage your opportunities, get better pay and to ditch the CV.
Rachel develops and implements strategic large-scale people and tech opportunities around cultural growth, innovation, transformation, and employee experience.
With a background in computing and software development, Rachel is a tech speaker, mentor, DEI ally, STEM advocate and community builder. At, Rachel speaks about tech career advice, leadership, self development & personal brand, and hosts TechyChats vlog series with inspiring guests and opening the door to tech.
--------------------------------- Parul Singh, JavaScript Recruiter at Manhattan Partners @parulsingh1995
Laura Whitworth, Head of Talent at Street Group @_lsummerfield


My name is Robert Precious. I'm a lead accessibility specialist at THG. I'm a software engineer by trade with a computer science background, and I'm a certified professional in web accessibility, which basically means I've passed a couple of exams and I'm part of TV, the IA P, which is the International Association of Accessibility Professionals. I should probably describe myself. I'm a tall white man with Brown hair, Brown eyes and a beard. Sometimes I wear glasses and you can all follow me on Twitter at Rodriguez Ali so Alley Stan is the shorthand for accessibility. It's a eleven characters and y. So you might see that throughout the presentation. So what am I talking about today? So I'm going to kick it off by describing and defining the accessibility challenge and talking about what challenges we have in accessibility sphere. And the main proof of this talk is I want to show you where to start and give you actionable knowledge, something that you go into work tomorrow and you can assess your site, your app, or your service, and start finding issues that are affecting your users. The technique I'm going to show you today is going to be accessible to all levels. So whether you're a technical, non technical, developer, designer, or recruiter, no matter what your profession is, everything I show you today should be accessible to you. And finally, I'm trying to show you something novel. There are so many fantastic talks about excess birth, and I'm going to link to a couple of them. So everything in this talk is in a LinkedIn article. So basically every slide, all the content from it, any links I'm going to refer to all there, and I'm going to finish off by highlighting next steps of this talk. So where you can go from where I show you and I'll highlight some critical problems and gaps in what I'm going to show you today as well. So it's quite interesting. So the accessibility challenge and it can be defined in so many different ways. Generally, we think of accessibility. We think web development. So web development covers like the actual development, design, content, writing, the use of media, whether it's videos or images. But accessibility has so many other different scopes as well, such as building margin, think ramps and accessible toilets. Hedgehog recruitment, trying to ensure that disabled people can join your company are able to apply and successfully make it through your recruitment process as well as be supported to be successful at your organization as well. And there are so many other parts of accessibility. One of the things I want to try and I'm not going to really talk about today, but I cannot not mention is that all of these things can be sold by creating a culture of accessibility at your organization. Top down, bottom up the my white knee where you go at it. The cultural change in your organization will affect all of these areas, whether it's web development building management or your Hedgehog recruitment. You can set that culture that we care about accessibility. We're aware of accessibility. Then these things will start to change and improve for the better. But for this talk, we're going to limit it to Web accessibility. Specifically, looking at trying to figure out where we are right now, can all of your users use your site and Web services? What are the issues that we can start fixing right now? Before I jump straight into that, I want to talk about the triggers that would prompt an organization to take action with accessibility in the first place. So there's a couple of triggers that come to my mind. The first one is a user is discriminated against and starts legal proceedings. This is probably the most common. And put simply, your organization is being sued because the experience of a disabled person is different to that of an able person, and you're going to have to do something about it. If you are very lucky, a user is discriminated against gives you that feedback directly. They might send you through an email. You might have good feedback processes. It might go on. One of those external could be a trip advisor review or a review review. My advice for that is, do not waste the opportunity that they've given you. They could have brought legal proceedings, but instead they've told you directly. So engage with that customer or that user and say, yeah, sorry, we are going to fix this. Now. When you do fix it, go back to that customer, ask them, have you fixed that issue? Have we fixed issues that you come across? Is there anything else that we can do because you essentially found yourself a free test trying to give you that advice back on the last one trigger I can think of is a colleague has advocated for accessibility and has succeeded. You have now got top down stakeholder support, so make the most of it and start taking the opportunity to improve your customers or user experience forever. So these are the ways you could be triggered. Now you've been triggered. How can you respond? So there are a couple of go to things when a company has been a lawsuit or they need stock accessibility work. The first thing people tend to turn to is an external audit. They go to a professional and say, hey, look at our site. Tell us everything that's wrong with it. And I'm going to share a couple of links of where a good place to get started. That's the route you want to go. You could hire a consultant. So there are plenty of organizations out there. You just have to Google. You're looking for something like Ability. Net or similar. And if you can use a nonprofit, do so that you are supporting further accessibility work rather than putting money in someone else's pocket. Probably the most common is you assign and you train someone in turn tends to be the person who says, hey, we should fix excess birthday, and they go, okay, go for it. What's really important there is you take that time and make sure that you are training and learning, gain that knowledge based in the tools you require to do that job. So if an organizer could do that, do it properly. And one of the things I really wanted to highlight is avoid shortcuts. I'm not going to discuss it at length, but there are providers out there that advertise that their little piece of code that you can add to your site will immediately allow your site to be accessibility compliant. And that's a complete lie. So you should check out, should I use an accessibility overlay or I can save you a lot of time, say, TLDR no. So that's definitely something that's worth working. There's plenty of talks about that. So I have a couple of ideas of how we can respond. Let's say in a scenario where we've been sued, this is how you could respond. But there's a lot of things we can do without any prior expertise. We don't have to wait. We can get started right now. Get started right away. And that's why I'm going to show you today. You don't have to take notes for this. All of this will be written down in the notes I'll share. But we're going to start off by breaking down the problem. So first big question you have to ask is, what does your site app or service do? If it's an e commerce, it's buying a product. If it's the Council bin day checking service, it's using your users address to put it into the search, and it will return which days which bins would be collected. So that's your service. That's what's important to your users. So find that in your service. So take that primary flow and choose five to ten pages that cover that flow. So for Ecommerce, that's a home page product search, product baskets, login and register and check out that's six pages. And then from those pages, identify three to five shared components, things that are on every single one of those pages that we don't necessarily want to assess again and again. So that could be header, footer or navigation. It's generally worth splitting header navigation, because sometimes it's very different on desktop to mobile. I recommend splitting it out there. So you now have this list. So we've got pages. Ecommerce sites got six pages home Product search, product basket, register and check out. And we've got navigation on desktop navigation on mobile footer and even possibly a mini basket. That's part of the header. So when you Hover over basket, it gives you a little preview of your basket. We've got ten things to test there. It's quite a manageable project scope to assess. So you've taken a side that are thousands of pages. You've boiled it down to ten things that you are going to test, and now each of those we do the following. Start with a mouse and we make a list of everything that you can do with a mouse. So if it's hovering over the basketball and shows the mini basket preview, write that down. If it's hovering over ahead of menu item, shows a submenu, write that down. What you want to try and do is just find everything that you can do specifically with a mouse. And then there's a couple of accessibility things around mouse users. So you want to check that all the interactive elements, your links and your buttons are big enough. So if you've got big chunk of fingers and a small mobile, you can still click on those items. Or if you have tremors and you struggle to use a mouse on really small items because you can't quite keep it on that item for long enough. So make sure the big enough. Generally, you're looking at about 44 pixels, and that's all in my notes that's remember that. And you generally know if you as an unable to click that interactive component first time, it's probably worth noting that down. Finally, you want to check that the Hobbit styles are clear enough. So the Hover style is a style that is put on an interactive element whenever you Hover over it. So you should expect a change in pointer, which is your mouse icon. It should probably change from an arrow to a little hand pointing, and then you want to change in color or shape or both. And that will mean that it's very clear that this element is interactive. Any issues with that? Make a note, and we'll give you a demo of this as well. So up to now, nothing that we haven't done before just using a site with a mouse and taking some notes. So now what I need to do is put the mouse aside, leave the trackpad alone and get your keyboard out or you start using your keyboard. We've got this list of all this interactive interactions that you can do with your mouse. What I want to do now is check that all of those things are possible with the keyboard alone. So the way you navigate with the keyboard is to use the tab key and the tab keys will navigate from each interactive element. And if you do shift tab, it will go back up. You can use enter and space to activate things like links and buttons or drop downs. You can use up and down arrow to move the page, scroll the page up and down. And while you're doing that, it should be clear at every single point where you are on the page. And I'm going to try and demonstrate that essentially like Hobbit styles. When your keyboard is on an element, you should have a focus style that will clearly indicate that you are on that element. And ideally you want a changing color and the changing shape. The reason why you want both is if you are colourblind, you don't want just a change in color. You want that changing shape. That might be an adding a border. It might be making bigger, make it smaller. So adding an underlying any issues with that, make a note. So we started to build up these issues. Now we've covered a big proportion of what can go wrong with accessibility. If you can't do it, do everything with the keyboard that you can do with a mouse. You found some really good issues that you can start to fix. So up until this point, we've needed no additional expertise or any additional software. So what we need now is just a little bit of a help in hand from some free software, and we're going to use Ax. So Apps is a Chrome extension. It's also available Firefox and what it does. It runs. You can run this tool against each page and component on our list and record the results. It'll give you a list of issues. It'll try and explain where those issues are, where and what those issues are and how to fix them. So I'm going to demo that as well. Some of these things are easy to show you. So by completing these steps, you've got a good list of issues we can start fixing. You didn't need any specialist software, at least any software that you have to pay for. You just got Chrome extension or any additional expertise. You just need access to a desktop or laptop just to work through these issues. So what I'm going to do now is have a quick go. So I'm a big techie and one of my favorite toy shops growing up was Korespc World. So what I'm going to do is we're going to very quickly break down this site and create a list of pages and then a list of components that we want to test. So Perry's is an ecommerce site. So the primary buying flow is buying a product. So let's say we're going to buy a laptop. So we start on the home page. Homepage is always included on my screen. I've got a split between Curries and I've got some notes on the side. You can do this anywhere you want, but I'm just going to try and show you it's in my simplest form. Homepage. Let's try and buy a laptop. So if I click laptops on this page, we've got when it loads a list of products and filters and all that stuff. So I'm going to call that as a product list. So we're going to test this page. We want to test products as well. So go to products. The actual product page very slow now doing quite a lot of things. Product page. While that's Loading, you can think about some of the shared components on all those pages. So I've got the header. What I'll do once that loads, I'll check if there's any difference between head of desktop and head of mobile as well? Very slow. Sorry. I've got product page. Wait for this to drag on. You also have a footer. Try and do things like load footer. There you go. I've got header. Right. Let's just double check if I change the screen size. I'm going to have a desktop mobile version. There we go. So we do have a bit of a difference between the mobile header and the desktop header. You've got this, like, different menu model. There you go. Okay. So I'm going to put two components there's header, desktop and a header mobile. Two different scenarios on the test from product page. I'm going to add a product to basket. That's the next part of the flow. I assume I've got a basket page. I've got add to basket mode on test that separately. That works. Continue to basket come a basket page. Cool. Think it's a every time I practice this demo, it was much faster. Right. So we got basket page, and I assume if I go to check out checkout page as well. Cool. I've got 12345 pages, four components. That's the scope of my testing. And for each of these, I'm going to create another note. I think for the demo, especially being this slow, I'm going to do the header. So I've got a new note. It's component header, desktop. And I've basically got the skeleton of my testing framework. So starting with a mouse, we're going to create an interaction list. What can I do with a mouse? So I'm going to Hover over some things so you can see that this is a good example of a hobby style holistyles on these links. That's fine. I've got a changing pointer on the Curries logo. I've got very clear Hover style, and I've got some functionality there. When I Hover over one of those header items, I've got a header item like submenu, so I'm going to write that down. I'm going to Hover over these as well. So these buttons, the Stars button, the signing button, the basket button. They got changing pointer, but I think I'd like it to be a bit clearer, like it is for these. So I'm making notes. There no specific cover style on stars. Signing and baskets start to build up these issues. Is everything big enough? I think you could argue that maybe this text size is a little bit small, but the click area is big enough. So as a mouse shoes, I'm roughly happy with everything on here. We're only testing the header. That's the scope of this particular part we're doing. So I'm happy with that. So I've got my mouse specific mouse interactions, and I've got a Hover style issue that found. Okay, so now I'm going to put my mouse aside. I'm just going to click at the top and I'm going to start using my keyboard. So I'm going to press the tab key. I've tabbed onto the first element so you can see as I'm pressing the tab key. I'm moving between interactive elements. These are all links and I've got the browser default focus style. It's very clear that I am currently on Care and Repair continuing through. I'm on Curries and then I want to search. I've got quite a custom focus style where it's called purple. I can start typing laptop. I'll get some results so I can navigate those results on the keyboard. I can't navigate. You can see that it's gifting from the results to Stars, so I can note that down as the keyboard user cannot access product search results. I think I also saw something here. So I'm going to tab once, but I'm not currently on laptop yet and I could be on either of these two. Right. So I only tab one. There's something tabable between this and this. So what I want to do is double check what that is. You can inspect to open up your dead tools and to check that you are currently element you are currently focused on when you can't see it, because clearly one of these is interactive and it's got no focus style. What I'm going to do is I'm going to tab to it. I think I'm on it now. I'm going to go into console and you can see that once I run that instruction, it finds that search one. Yes, it's highlight the search bar. That search one has no focus style so I can keyboard onto it. I don't know. I'm there and I think this shows the importance of knowing where you are with a curse. If I go to that search button, I know where I am on the page. If I'm just using a keyboard, I have no idea that I am there north broker style on the search button and something really easy to fix. And obviously there's two buttons there. There's that clear button, but I cannot tab to it all. Let's just inspect that. See why. And that's because it's just a spam. It's clickable added some JavaScript that allows you to click it, but it's not actually flexible because it's not a button. So clear input button not accessible to Kilo. And one last thing I want to test is when we Hover over that menu, we could have opened submenu. I just want to check that and do that with a keyboard alone. So I'm going to tag through this. Right. So now on those menu items and it's not opening them up with a keyboard. There's no way as a keyboard use of accessing those submenus. I've got some list of issues. The next thing I want to do is use Axe. So I'll start from the start of using apps, so you download the extension. I'll share the link again. That's all in the notes you can inspect. They'll open up the Dev tools and then Lighthouse should be there at the end. There you go. So axe is there is one of the Dev two options. Sorry, my machine is very slow today. There you go. Right. So I'm going to scan my entire page. Let's see how many issues it finds. I'll give you a quick talk. I think with the screen sharing it's my computer. My old MacBook is struggling a little bit patient. There we go. Cool. So we've got 51 issues. We can start to know what those are. I'm not going to show you all of them, but the top one is area. Hidden elements must not contain folks for elements. So if you don't know what it is, then you can check out the description saying that if you've got focusfall, basically, if you've got focusable elements, you shouldn't put Ari hidden its parent. Let's have a look at where that is. You can inspect. You can see that the entire container of everything in the header has a area hidden. True. Okay, so header container hidden despite containing so you can go through that. You can do some investigation work out what those are. I am going to come back to this issue in a minute, but before that, back into the presentation. So what I've shown you is a very basic you test with a mouse, test with the keyboard, download an extension and start lifting those issues out. The next step is to get those issues, start fixing those issues and do that by priority. The way you prioritize issues you prioritize by the effect on the user. Is this completely preventing the user from completing the journey? Is it making it difficult and so on and working your way down? There's a little bit of investigation needed to do that. But you've got a list of issues. You can go to your stakeholders and say, hey, this has got X number of issues. We need to fix these now and you can start fixing them right away. You didn't need an external orbit to find those issues. The next step is to learn how to test with a screen reader. So for those that haven't heard of a screen reader before, it's a software that allows generally people with low vision or blind to use a laptop or computer without actually being able to see what's on the screen. I think this is the first point at which you actually have to gain some expertise. It's something you have to learn. I'm going to try and show you how important it is because it's a critical gap in what I've shown you today. So if I continue with next steps, I just want to go back to careers and I'm going to turn on my screen read and we're going to have a look at the effects of this area hidden on the header component. So I'm on the Mac. I'm going to open up my Mac voiceover. It's going to open up the caption window. This is something that's going to read out what dictation system dial go read out what element it is. You are currently on a text element brave vertical link and it's going to read out the contents of new link heading level five by link heading level five. We're not testing out. What I'm going to try and do is for some reason it didn't go on to the headings. I'm just going to try and speech image you are currently on an image brief current link head link heading link headlink skip to deals name. That sound you're hearing is I am hitting the top of that page to the screen reader. There is nothing else above this main container. What they've done is on the entire container. They put Aria hidden true on their whole header and what that does is it tells the screen reader ignore this. So we're talking about triggers and how people can be discriminated against if you cannot see and you'll use the web using the screen reader you're using Cories you cannot access any of the header without one attribute that acts found for you. They have blocked all of that out and prevented you from using that. So as much as what I'll show you today is really easy, you can get started right away. This is the next step. Have a go and learn how to use a screen reader because otherwise you might not fully understand what Axe is telling you and you might not find all the issues library. This is probably the first time ever seen a screen reader and they are quite hard to learn how to use it's very initially steep learning curve, but once you get it, it's actually quite easy. Emily Christian has left the meeting. Emily Christian has joined the meeting. Voiceover off and voiceover will also tell me any notification. So Emily Christine just got added by the Voiceover. That's a great demo of a screen reader. So everything I'll show you today didn't need any expertise. I recommend this is the first bit of expertise. You go out and try and get the next steps from that is you've got this list of issues you prioritize, you start working through and fixing them. Next thing is probably hire an expert or a consultant or train an expert in the house and get an external audit. The reason why I really like this way of doing things is you have been able to find a hell of a lot of the issues by yourself and you haven't had to pay someone to go and find that for you. So if you get an external audit that runs you anything between 15 and £25,000 and they'll just give you a list of everything that's wrong with your site. If you can reduce that list to things by doing this process of finding the things that we can find, you'll get more for your money from the external it'll tell you something you don't know. And finally, if you are trying to push accessibility join the Alley community. On my notes, I've shared a comprehensive number of Twitter accounts that you should start following, and I think one of the things I'd recommend more than anything else. There are so many talks on this. Start an Accessibility Champion Network essentially find your allies in your organization. The other people that passionate about accessibility and work together start running presentations, raising awareness and building that culture because that culture really takes on its own momentum and starts fixing all of those things within the accessible challenge, and not just your web development, because you can fix items forever. Because if you've got a web application, there constantly new features that might introduce more issues. If you don't get to the culture of the company, you'll never really solve. Accessibility and Accessible Champion Network is a great way to do that. Thank you very much for your time. I hope that was interesting. Does anyone have any questions? Yes. So Elliot Evans, I've got a couple of questions I'll start with. Elliot. Got a quick question for Rob. What level of Ali does Axe check for? Right. So little explanation is the Web Accessibility guidelines, which is international standard. Define all of the criteria by three levels. Aaa or AAA. Axe will find quite a lot of the success criteria from all of those ranges, and it'll tell you what level that is generally what you're aiming for. Isa. So all government websites have to be AA. All US sites generally have to be a probably liable to get sued. Aaa goes a little bit further. The color contrast rules are a little bit stricter, a lot more visible and it just goes out a little bit further. So a is what you're looking for. Axe will find all of them. How do you find the Alley community? Twitter. They're all on Twitter and there's some fantastic brilliant people out there. Go and add them. If you got questions, particularly from I want to offer. If anyone's got any questions after this or any question accessibility, I'm always open. Just going to my DMs on Twitter, all LinkedIn and go find me. They'll answer those things. And so in shared MBA access, that's the Windows most popular screen reader in the world, mainly because it's free and it's comprehensive for Windows. If you've got Mac, you've got voiceover and if you got Windows, you've also gotten the Raiders so you can use a basic screen reader. Commerator without any guidance. And I'll share the links to some really good getting started. Guys. Any other questions? Hi. Awesome talk. I have one question like have you reached out to Carol PC and all the issues we have noted right now and we have reached out to carry PC about this issue. Have you reached out to Caribbean about all the issues on the Web site? Yeah, I did. I did tweet them. Can you talk to my know how to say no. I'm not going to do your job for you. No, it's fine. They could remove that one attribute from HTML, and suddenly it's way more accessible. They're clearly doing a lot of work on the header, doing a lot of modernizing. So someone just made a mistake somewhere and tried to hide that from the screen reader. I'm going to probably guess it's because of their mobile one. So if you've got the mobile hidden one, they want that to be hidden when it's hidden away. But the one I've done is put that on desktop, and that'll be my guess. I have tweeted them. But no response from them. I shared my notes. That's a full plain text version. It's actually got recording as well that I did earlier. Like, practice, and I'll share some other things as well as all of the links to the slides, et cetera. Awesome. Thank you so much for that, Robert. I was super interested, and I'm definitely going to be sending all of your notes and slides. Obviously, our Dev team would be like, Have you all looked at this? So. Yeah, really useful. Thank you. So I think we're just going to have a quick break. Just a couple of minutes, grab a drink, nip to the bathroom if you need it. And then we will get started on Rachel's talk in a couple of minutes. Time. Cool. Right. I'll see you all then. Thank you. I'll just go here just in case anybody. Hi, Steven. How are you? Hello. Nice to see you. It's been a while since we've been at one of these methods, isn't it? Yeah. These virtual ones have been all right over the lot down, haven't they? Yeah, definitely. I'm usually pretty wiped out by this time, but at the moment not feeling like too bad to Denise, but we're just talking about getting them back in person. I think maybe like, the start of next year, but there's a lot of logistics and extra steps to take into account, so. Yeah, I don't really know what that's what it's going to look like. Really? Has anybody here been to, like, a face to face meetup since Covet? Yeah. Okay. How did you find it? Was it quite different? I literally haven't been to one face one. There was really a few people there. But the meet up was the same as it always would have been, which meant by that. I mean, it involved pizza, so all the amenities of that. But there was just really few people who turned up, so it was a little bit quiet. So the talk is called Why is he needs a personal brand and why now more than ever. So really looking forward to this. And like I say. I think it's something we can all take away because it's very relevant to a lot of different industries. I think so. Yeah. Over to you, Rachel. Let's get started. Oh, thank you so much for a wonderful introduction. Okay. So, Hi, everyone. Hopefully now you can see my screen. If not, shout and make sure you are in a position where you can type because I'm going to ask you some questions along the way. So this is my presentation about my talk about building your personal brand. So half an hour so I won't be going into, like, really heavy detail. But I'm going to be going. There's so much to cover, but I'm going to be covering the high level stuff. So what is a personal brand? Because there's a lot of miss out. There a lot of kind of speculation. What is it like? It's a bit. I don't know if want to get involved while having a personal brand can level up your career. Why? It's not just for extroverts and how you can start managing your brand before we start. I'm Rachel. You probably know me because you've already agreed to come to the meet up and you've read the meetup description. As Laura said, I am an engineering experience and community leader. Kavaire. I also am a tech content creator in my third time. My weekends, my evenings, lunch breaks, I create content. I help people get into tech. I help people with their brand. And I have, like, a leadership journey at the moment that I'm kind of documenting. So that is a little bit about me. If you're on Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, feel free to connect, reach out. I'd love to hear from you. So before we start. Can you write in the chat? If you feel comfortable what a personal brand is to you, what does it mean to you? So if you can just type in the chat, I realized that I actually can't see the chat. So if you're sharing your screen, if you have any near the button that says I got it, stop sharing. I'm like, okay, I'm presenting. So I'm not going to touch the screen at all. So if you pop in the chat, what you think like a personal brand is to you. While people are writing or not writing, however, they feel I am going to put some inside. So this is how you market yourself. So this is a definition from personalbrand. Com. The conscious and intentional effort to create and influence public perception of an individual by positioning them as an authority in their industry, elevating their credibility and differentiating themselves from the competition. So ultimately advance their career, increase their circle of influence and have a larger impact. That's like official definition from personalbrand. Com. So I feel like it's got some credibility if you know what I mean. I'm just going to jump into the chat and say how you market yourself. Thank you, Steven. Laura said. I would say it's the image that you portrayed to the world and how you want others to perceive you. Guy Lancaster said. What I put on my card, my LinkedIn header, my CV style. Lovely. And Tom said, how people you don't know. See you based on what you put out into the world and what people say about you. That's really interesting. Absolutely. Right. So let's go to the next slide. I'm going to debunk some myths now because people there's loads of myths around personal brand. Has anyone ever felt this or come across this had to set to them, or have you said it about someone else? Have you seen someone post on LinkedIn all the time? You're like, they are so stuck up. Okay. That's a myth. I'm going to tell you that right now. I'm not going to debunk them right second, I'm going to do a little bit later. Another myth. You post too much. Okay. Another myth and too much personal stuff. You're posting too much and too much personal stuff. Another myth. Not necessarily. Having a personal brand isn't about posting every detail of your life. It's a carefully created strategy. And then another myth brand is only for business. Have you come across this one? That branding is only for a business. So why should it be for you? You're not a business. So these are some myths. Okay. And I'm going to kind of debunk them a little bit later, but I'm Firstly going to go into a reason to stand out. So this will all follow into the debunking of the myths. And Pearl said definitely hurt. Felt all of those. Yeah. Absolutely. Thanks for sharing that. So reason to stand out. Has anyone heard of this tech industry bottleneck that's happened at the moment? I know. I've mentioned it a few times before talking to people. Basically, this is my wonderful little diagram. This is the bottleneck. So at the moment, we have done so much good stuff as an industry to get people into the industry. We've got the different opportunities, self teaching, all the free content, apprenticeship degrees, beginner boot camps, there's others. There's so many more because we're filling these roles. And this is developer specific. So it does kind of lead into the other areas as well. But there's loads of roles out there and tech needs people. So what we've done is we've gone out and we've like, right, get them, get them. Except for you can buy content. You can buy a beginner boot camp place and stuff. But you can't buy that experience that takes time. So if you see my mouse, it's at the top. And we're all here. We're becoming junior developers. There are only a few junior developer roles, but there's so many senior and mid roles out there. But then you get to this time this bit here where you need the time and the experience. So we've created a bit of a bottleneck. So what happens when all these junior developers and junior roles, they get to this area? Well, there's going to be absolutely loads of them. And that's fantastic. We need more people. The more people we have, the more creative minds we have, the more innovation we have. And the better. Our lives will be. Absolutely. But what do we do? What can we do that about it for ourselves. Because when you get to that point, you suddenly have all these CVS that say, yes. I work hard. Job? Yes. A coded node. Yes. Sometimes I speak. Sometimes I'm a mentor, and suddenly you're up against, like, ten techy people. And the name is a CV. The credibility and network is going to set you apart. Okay, how can it level up your career? Okay, now I've gone on about all this bottleneck and all this stuff like that. Well, let's talk about some pros. What do you think a pro is of a personal brand? Can you pop it in the chat? I'd love to hear what are some pros and cons. And I just want to hear the pros. At the moment, I'm going to go through my pros, but there's absolutely loads. Let's go through the pros that I've got window so you can leverage your salary. Did you know this bringing in extra recognition to your brand? It means people can see the brand that you work for. So if someone goes onto your LinkedIn, you're like, wow, you've got such a brand. You do cool stuff. Oh, my gosh. You work at X-Y-Z. That's automatic. Like marketing for the place that you work. So you can leverage that. It might not be a salary. It could be extra benefits. You can really work with your employer to see how that can benefit you. Another one. We've got some great ones coming into the chat, by the way, thank you so much for contributing everyone. It's easier to get jobs. People can probably talk more about this. But I'm just going to say a little bit. If you have a personal brand, it means it's easier to get a job. It's your CV. Someone says your name in a conversation. I'll know that person because I've seen them a networking thing. I've spoken to them at a networking thing. I've seen their name online. They create content, they reach out to people, blah, blah, blah. Okay. Your name is your CV, and actually, it can be easier to get a job, grow your opportunities and your network. So especially at work and external to work. So for both, it helps be incredible. You can increase your network and increase your opportunities. For example, last year I won an award for Digital awards, and this year I was asked to come back as a judge. Another example is I did the similar presentation to this to Grads NHS Digital recently because Jasmine, who invited me. She knew that this is the stuff I do like I put out there that I can do this and that's given me more opportunities like that. Okay. You can create a second income. This could be through events, getting paid to speak or log in or login or podcast, different things like that. So there is a potential to create a second income and then another one is two. I should say it is a great benefit to employee, which I did mention in the leverage in the salary. And finally, it can help you build your confidence, which is really nice. I just want to look in the chat real quick and see what we've got in here. So we have there's loads of great ones. Thank you so much. Hidden job opportunities. Yes. To get head hunted. Speaking opportunities. Finding a mentor, passive income influence people recognize you off the crowd. Hence her twented. Again, you filter out opportunities. The company are incompatible. That's a really good one. Yeah, I will actually go on to that a little bit later. But your values and how you can align your values up to your companies and to your audience. And then finally, yes, exactly. In the chat pool said you have loads of people to find out about market salaries and independent skills, which is really easy to level up. Your career knowledge is power. Yeah, I love that. Okay, so I'm going to go back to confidence. So how does it help you build your confidence? Okay, well, these are the zones here. Find out where you sit. You don't have to put it in the chat if you want. Where do you sit here? So your comfort zone is safe. You're in control your fear zone. You might find excuses. You might be affected by other people's opinions. You might not want to put yourself out there because you're worried about what people will say. Well, they start lighting these myths to you and maybe you lack a bit of self confidence. Your learning zone is where you start to acquire these new skills and you can deal with the challenges and you're extending your comfort zone when you get to the learning zone. And finally, your growth zone. This is where you find your purpose. This is where you conquer your objectives and you can set new goals. So have a think about where you're sitting right now in this zone. Different zone level. Where are you sat? Okay. Now I'm going to talk a little bit about cons to a personal brand all day, every day. Okay. We had a comment in the chatroom for all. I think you can be in duplicate, like two zones, not duplicate zones. Two zones. You can be in your growth, though, but maybe you do fear a little bit. Still, it really depends where your feelings are, or maybe you're in the learning zone because you still fear a little bit. Okay, so let's talk about these cons. What is the cons? Cause I'm sure people are asking what the cons are of having a personal brand. Okay. It takes time. It does take time. I spend, like my evenings and my weekends and my lunch breaks creating content. I do it because I'm passionate. I'm going to be honest with you. I haven't started earning a second income from it yet. But I'm very passionate about it. And people in tech are very passionate about it, and they also need to balance that with burnout. So that's something to think about. It takes time. Absolutely. It takes some extra work. I pretty much said that it takes extra work. I just mentioned that there may be some restrictions with your employer now, depending on who you work for and what you do, there might be some restrictions with your employer, because when you are out there promoting your own brand, you're also representing them. It goes back to the beginning, where you are representing them, too. And then conflict and opinions. I know we mentioned in the chat. People are going to have their opinions on you. I mean, it's not your business, it's their kind of business, but it does come into leaks into your world and your zones. They do have their opinions, and there is a little bit conflict with people disagreeing you. But that's okay. That is a Con because different people handle it in different ways. So I'll put that in there. Okay. So those myths debunked. Okay. So being stuck up, actually, no, you're leading a topic. That's what it's about. Posting too much and too much personal stuff. No, your content is purposeful and planned. For example, if I post a photo of me and my dog, which I rarely do. But if I did, I probably planned that way in advance. I probably took that a month ago. And definitely the point I've been making there is have some rest or something like that. And you know what I've probably got? I've probably got messages from people saying, oh, you know what? You're just reminding me? Say Red, this stuff is planned and purposeful. That's a very small example. But they are as an example. And also you provide an education and value to others, which is really important in the world that we live in and especially in our industry. We do provide a lot of education and value to other people, and that's important to contribute in our community. So you're doing a really good thing. So how do you do it? How do you build your personal brand? Okay. Firstly, choose your area of expertise. So this is an example of some of my posts on my Instagram account. I am doing a leadership and management course at the moment. But at the moment. I've been doing it for the past, what, two years and I've been documenting that. So stuff like getting a coach versus a mentor setting badass work goals. Well, there's actually quite a lot of theory behind setting goals. It's not just like, oh, yeah, people do it differently. It's important to kind of recognize that building trust in the workplace and psychological safety and stuff like that. I've been learned about sharing with people. So this is basically my area of expertise, but you will have your own and you can have a niche, and you can have a micro niche. It's important to have a micro niche too. So I go a bit more in detail on my kind of blog and my own kind of sites and things like that. I don't really have time to touch on that just now, but you should probably choose between three to five content pillars. These are topics to stick to. If you can keep the content flowing about these topics and what your audience will know you for that's success. And think about this. Think about, like, the next three to five years. Can you talk about that for three to five years? That's why we had three have three to five because one thing for the next five years, I don't know. You might run out. It depends what you choose, but then that's when you go from your micronees to your niche to your micro needs. No. Okay. So find your community. And I think this is awesome because Rob mentioned this before. Building your community, finding your community and get involved with, likeminded, people who are doing the same kind of niche as you. And I don't mean Echo Chamber. It's a very different thing. But the people who are doing the similar kind of stuff in terms of what you're honored. If you're a developer, are you going to look at react? Is that going to be your niche? And then are you going to go into micronese and then you can collaborate with people too? So I'm just going to quickly check the chat. Let's have a look. There's some interesting things in here. Communities. Oh, yeah. Communities there. I'm having to read. I can't read out loud and actually reading messages at the same time. I do apologize. So have a look at the chat. Okay. So what if you're not an extrovert? I think this is a really important message and topic to delve into. Like Perl said, I want to talk about the kind of stuff that you can do to make it suit you better. And obviously finding your own flow is really important. But let's get specific play to your strengths and know what your strengths are. Okay. If you know you're an introvert. Great. That's great. That you know what kind of level you're at and how comfortable you are to maybe go out networking or to reach out to people. So understand your own strengths and your weaknesses. So do a swap analysis to see what your strengths are. Your weaknesses are your opportunities and your threats. That's really helpful. Number two, focus on relationships one at a time. Now, this is like, for example, if you decide I'm going to go networking, I don't like really talking to people, but tonight I'm going to make one contact, and I'm going to work on that contact, and I'm going to focus on that one person and build a relationship with them. And you can do that like, one at a time. There's no rush. You don't have to go. There's no expectation that you go to a networking event like tonight and say we're in person and say Hi to absolutely everybody. And then suddenly you have, like, 20 LinkedIn requests and 20 people talking that could sound like an introvert nightmare. So there is a focus on one at a time. That's a helpful tip. I think create a plan now, this is a planning and different topics. So planning networking, like I just mentioned, if you're going to go to a network event and you're not really keen on them, maybe I'm going to go to one a month and I'm going to make one great contact. I'm really going to focus on that. I'm also going to plan to rest. I will start creating content, but I don't want to go on social media all the time because it's like draining for a start and mental health is impacted from that. For example, there's many different reasons why people may not want to use social media. Create a plan. Okay, schedule your posts. Potentially create content. If you want to do that, schedule a post on Instagram, LinkedIn pages, Twitter, things like that, YouTube and have some time to rest. You can put it on there, get it automated and then just don't go on it. Have that break and planning those times. So there's a lot of plans that you can make. If you're planning, then this is awesome for you. If not, then you could just make one at a time, just focus on one thing at a time and then finally use social media to your advantage. For example, like tonight, we're all virtual. This is great for the people who potentially don't want to speak to anyone, but they really want to listen to the content and really want to get involved. But maybe the lacking a bit of confidence that you've talked to. People use this your advantage because you could be attending this meet up. I don't know, maybe eight meterks or whatever before you go to a real person one and you've actually seen someone talk who has attended a bunch of times and you're like, oh, okay. I can start building that relationship here online. And then when I speak to you, I feel a bit more comfortable. You got to really work out what's best for you to tell you what to do. But I find that helps. And to the people who I've spoken to. And if you have someone who's more extroverted as a friend or someone, you know, maybe you could ask them for tips as well and see how they manage it and kind of build up your zone to whatever you're comfortable with, but also you're growing it's completely up to you. So I'm going to talk about some best practices and tools. I'm also going to talk about this picture a little bit later. So quick view of that. And yes, three tools your brand. This is all about your brand. This is your storytelling is the most important part of building your brand. Okay? It's the most engaging. People love stories. That's how people listen. If you don't have a story, then people aren't really going to listen. If you're just throwing it, people want to see you. They want to see it's called personal brand for a reason. They want to see you and they want to tell your story and how you got here. Basically, for example, how I got into tech. I tell that story all the time. Basically, I used to sing, and I wanted to build a website for, like, Masking and Stirfry Band and whatnot? And I couldn't build a website for, like, me. This was back in College just before College when I had to choose a College course. So that's why I did it software development at College because I was like, this is going to help me build a website. And then that's where I fell in love with tech. So tell your story through your even if it was like a news article that came out, can you link your story to this news article? Can you write something that someone couldn't copy? Vulnerability. And I'm not saying you have to put your what's it called dirty laundry online or a public line. No, this is really good in leadership. So admitting failure. So I did a really good talk called Let Go to Leadership. I think it was really good. Anyway, I had some feedback, so I can say that. But this was Let go for leadership. I got let go from a job. It was a junior developer job. May I add, I didn't have enough experience at the time. It felt super embarrassing. And when I kind of put out there, I was like, oh, my God, it's so embarrassing. I got like, oh, basically fired. But actually, it taught me so much, like a valuable lesson from I got such a valuable lesson from that the whole situation. I also turned into a talk. My talk was completely about red flags from companies. Mistakes I'd made what I'd do better next time. Failing isn't embarrassing. Failing teaches us valuable lessons. It's very important to learn. So be vulnerable. And you can do it to the extreme that you want to do it's completely up to you. Okay. Authenticity. So be authentic. People can really tell when it's not authentic. So don't write something about something just because you want to do it. That plan for three to five years if you're suddenly well into, I don't know, carpentry, but you're going to start posting carpentry. But then in, like, twelve months on to the next thing, then it's not authentic. Write about something you want to talk about because it's really helpful when you're maybe a year down the line and you've been creating content every single day or four every single day and showing up every single day and getting out of bed to do this kind of thing. You need to be passionate about it. So can you write about this for the next five years? Okay. Values. We mentioned this before in the comment section. So what do you value the most? What's important to you and your work and your brand? And how can that shine through your work? Okay. And like someone said in the chat, when you're looking for a new job and your values are very visible and you know your values because they're very visible. Companies can see your values. Do they match up? Do I really want to work for a company if our values don't match? Well, no, not really. And it's good for the community as well to know your values. Have the word community in my notes. I'm actually not sure why I had that. Anyway. Community is always good insightful. Where is your brand being heard? Do you know who your audience is? Does the data line up? Where can you go next? Use your insights. There's two parts of this. Use your insights. And like when you're collecting data about who your audience is, okay. And how that's going. The other part of that is insightful in terms of providing value to people and actually be insightful to the topics that you actually know about. Because if you don't know anything about them, then you could market that as a learning journey, which is really good. But if you're just talking, like out of your ears or whatever, then it's not going to be insightful. So be valuable. Add value to your audience. Otherwise they're not really going to care. Oh, and use your past experiences. This is great. So before I was in tech, I used to work in retail and actually that helped astronomically get me my first developer job because I had a load of skills transferable skills. But I was able to really work with my team. I was able to kind of communicate really well. I was able to present because I didn't sing in the past. All these little things in the past. You can bring them in and use them as transferable skills and use your past experiences a massive advantage. Okay. So I saw this on Twitter, this person, I don't know them. I got it off Twitter and they got a full time remote job at Rapid API as a developer advocate because they had a strong online presence and they were creating content on Twitter. This is just a huge example of how this can kind of change your life and level up your career. If you want a copy of the slides, just log onto the tower code there. You can kind of get it from there. Or there is a link in the chat which I've just sent where you can get a copy of the slides. And if you find this useful, please let me know. Drop me a message. I'd love to hear and let's connect. So there's some stuff in the chat that I want to have a quick look at. If you're not an extrovert, that is what Twitter is for. Thank you, Tom. Absolutely. Okay. I think I've got some questions in here, too. I put them onto a note for you, Rachel, just to save you tickets. Three up again. But thank you so much. But I have learnt so much. Lots of personal brand. But we have a question on how do you maintain your own personal boundaries around Privacy while still finding ways of being engaging? Great question. Yeah. So I think as I get older, I'm a more private person. I will show only what I want to show. There's something called the jihadi window. I suggest people check that out and that's basically what people can kind of see through the window and what you show them. So someone would say to me, oh, your Jihadi window is kind of open. I can see into your life. You can see my backdrop, but this is like my office room backdrop, which I have created for this. I don't really post. I try to not post much personal stuff just because I don't care for that. So I don't really need to let people know what I don't know. I've been eating or park. I've gone to. That's not what I do. I post specifics for my journey. So I also have a reason for posting. I don't really like sharing the kind of personal stuff, but just because I don't have really a reason, don't bother. It's like enough posting non personal stuff. So I think you're able to set your boundaries. You're able to choose what you talk about. I love that guy said, I think you need two social medias, one for worker and one for play. Yes. I think a lot of people do have that maintain those Privacy boundaries. If you've got private Instagram, that's really helpful. If you have a non work one, you can put it private stuff like that. And also if somebody is violating your private boundaries on social media, then report them, block them, don't entertain it. Don't let it get to the point where it's really bothering you. There's absolutely no harm in that. Yes, but also a good thing for mental health as well. I found is I mute people. I don't follow them because I still want to support them. Sometimes I'll go mute them for a little bit because they're doing so well that sometimes it makes me feel a little bit like an imposter. It makes me feel like I'm not as good, and that's completely my own feelings. Not bad. They're doing brilliantly. So I go mute them, and I find that helps for a little bit. So it's just like, follow people who don't make you feel good on socials. I like that we did have another question as well, which was around. Is it possible to build a brand if you have a diverse range of professional interests, all of which are important to you. What don't fit in a coherent box. And what if your employer might not like if you present yourself as not totally in that sector? Okay, there's like, two questions there. So what if you have a diet, like a big, diverse audience? Okay. Interesting. So each platform really has a completely different audience. A lot of the stuff I post on Instagram, I probably won't post on LinkedIn because it's a completely different audience. So maybe just kind of figure out what stuff you want to talk about and what stuff is important to you and somehow not tie them together. But have it as your pillars, your three to five content pillars. Can you keep rotating them? Maybe one topic is more towards Instagram. Maybe one topic is more towards LinkedIn and professional or YouTube, and things like that. Maybe you can use different platforms that's worth exploring. And then the second question I've already forgotten. Please, can you remind me? Sorry. The second question because there are tons of links. What if your employer might not like it if you present yourself is not totally in the success. So if you are getting involved in I guess a few different kind of like mini areas of your personal brand, but then most of them don't relate to what you're actually employed in, and then your employee doesn't make it. Oh, that's interesting. So if I'm honest with you, like what you do outside your job is kind of I want to say none of their business in the nicest way, because that is you. That is your time that's weep out. However, yes, you are representing the brand. Still, that's a really good question. I think it's important to get that balance. And I think it's important as long as you're not violating any rules of the companies because you are employed by them, you sign the contract, then you need to have a conversation and you need to know what they and say. My opinions are not reflective of my employees. I have said stuff like that before. These are my opinions, and a lot of people do that. They put that on social media. This is my own opinions and trying to find that balance. Hopefully your employees understanding do they line up with your values? Are they happy for you to do that? If not, you just got to figure that out with them. I think it's very like on a one to one situation. I think it's a matter of if it's not anything, which is really controversial, like you said, if it's time that you're not spending, for example, obviously, a lot of my job is being like on LinkedIn. And if I was spending a lot of that time doing stuff that wasn't entirely so different from work and that's on wax time. But if it's outside of that, I also wanted to ask you if this is in the slides, like in the notes. I do apologize, but you mentioned like automation tools for kind of like line and not like your post and scheduling them. So do you have those on slides or is there any that you can think of the top of your head? Not on the side. However, Facebook has this content scheduling platform. I can't remember Tom Edwards called if you type in like Facebook content schedule platform, it'll come up. That's really good for Instagram and some of those free ones that you can use that you have a limited amount of social accounts like Hootsuites buffer. They're two good scheduling ones. You can also schedule on Facebook itself and also Twitter itself. So if you want those, if you wanted to schedule LinkedIn now, you can't schedule personal posts, I believe, but you can schedule page ones. Now. How you do that? I'm not sure because I don't have a LinkedIn professional page myself, but it is possible. That is interesting. We'll probably have to look at some of those. We're just being consistent. And then Jay has a question as well, which is like which is the best day to post on LinkedIn or the best day. I suggest doing some research on that and also doing a little bit of a B testing yourself because your audience is completely different to everyone else's. So for me, I find posting in the morning on any kind of day. Really. I think the end of the week is really good for me as well, because people are like scrolling at work and things like that annoying. So morning is definitely good for me personally and towards the end of the week. But everyone is different. So have a look online and do your own research as well. In terms of how it goes. I just wanted to share another thing that I learned recently about the lovely mysterious links and algorithms. So I don't know if this applies to every post, but the links and algorithms generally does not like posts that have links in the actual post. So if you've been seeing people, including me on every post since I learnt about this, I will share something and then I'll put link in comments down below. Like you said, there's a lot of ad testing. Sometimes it can be set and things with like images as well, or you just have to give it a go. It's interesting that you said that morning is best for you because I very rarely get engagement if it's in the morning, always in the afternoon, and another thing with fills in a brand as well. I think putting out a lot of your own content and getting out and stuff is such a big part of it. But I think as well as like you'll grow your brand a lot if you engage with key people in the industry as well. So find people that post quite a bit that are like, well connected as well engaged with the content and not just the generic. Oh, love this at Penn. Like, actually write something about what they've posted, because then when people see your name in the comments outside and they're like, oh, don't see this person. I'm going to connect with them. And then maybe you saw, like, a message from there. I would always recommend engaging with at least five hosts a day of other people, and that will take you about 30 seconds. So it doesn't always involve, like, investing most of time. Absolutely. And that's why they call it social network in the community and finding people who post the stuff, the kind of stuff that you post and engaging with them and collaborating potentially. I think it's really important to actually be social on these networks. You can schedule things and kind of run away if you're on holidays. That's fine. But I found my engagement higher if I talk to people, if I engage with them. Yeah. Really good point from Rob on accessibility as well, and just keep it on that team. So he can say that you can add, like, alt text to a post as well. So just keeping that super accessible something which I think I was made of aware of recently when I shared a post with a picture with stuff about the job. And if somebody said if they've got, like, a screen reader, they're not going to get any of this information. So it's definitely, like. A good thing to think about actually LinkedIn to it and Instagram to do it. Yeah. I don't know if Facebook do it, but I can definitely confirm the others do it. It's something that I personally need to work on more, because when I write the descriptions, I'm like, is this really helpful? And then often I'm like, oh, I don't know. It's really important. Could you send it to a few people and then see what their thoughts are as well? If you're a bit nervous about, I would say if you're just starting to post and just starting to post up on social media and it's LinkedIn or like, Twitter, and you're just not really as confident what it is. Send it to people, send it to me. I'll take it. I'm more than happy to take a look at it. And if you want a little bit of advice before putting something out, then we'll definitely be more than happy to do it until you build up that confidence. And to just be kind of, like, regularly on your own. Doesn't it seem like asking for help? And that's what you have more people to ask for when you've got a brand? Yeah. Isn't it? Yeah, definitely. And it looks like we need to look into the LinkedIn algorithms. We can go to one last question, and then we will just finish off. There will be a very quick brief Q and a section. So do you think meeting people in person in modern times is better for buying opportunities than posting on social media platforms. Interesting question, because modern times, we've all been in a pandemic. No one. I am interested for what you think of that. But I think from my point of view, it depends how engaged you are with your audience. It depends how much you show to your audience. It depends how many kinds of relationships you build through social media. It's not all about likes, it's all about who's in your DMs, who's talking to you, whose relationships you're building up, however, face to face, is a really way of building those relationships. I think you can do both. It really depends on your personality type, what you prefer as well. So not these people out. What do you think for? I think there's definitely value in both. I think if you go back to an in person meet up where there's people relevant to your market as well. So just try and sign up to any that you're just like, oh, this is like vaguely tech related, like, I'm going to go to it. You want to make sure that people look over and irrelevant to your geographical location and the actual industry that you're in. I don't know, because you can meet quite a few people there. And I think the way that you start to build those relationships when you're bonding over what pizzas they've got or going for a drink afterwards is so different to start and off, like a relationship just through a LinkedIn chat. So it's a different way of doing it. And I find the best way, which is just having enough to face to face. Probably not even talk about any work related stuff. It's, like, so genuine. And you'll find that you'll feel so comfortable going to those people for advice, going to those people for support, because that's how you've started that relationship off. And they'll be probably a bit more, like, a bit more open to helping you out in any way that they can, I guess obviously have loads of questions. They're like, such an engage and talk and so much to learn from. Thank you so much that Rachel. Like we said, we will send a follow up email by the end of the week. Just that everybody in the group, so absolutely all of the links that have been shared, don't worry about that. And there's, like, opens and books. Mark, we'll get those over to you. We'll just hang around for, like, another 15 to 20 minutes or so. We did say we'd have, like, a super informal like Q and a session with Laura, and I basically just what the heck is going on in the tech market. So just feel free to just ask any questions on that or just basically have, like, a little bit of an asset. But if anybody, like, if you want to click on the evening, feel free. We're just going to be on until about four to anyway. Good. Luckily, thank you so much, Rachel. That was amazing. Thank you for having me. Thank you everyone for attending. I'm sticking around after Rob's Fabsog. Thank you so much. I got some claps going on, which is lovely. So, yeah, we'll just literally open it up. I think Norwegian want to give us the one liner about, obviously like your role, because obviously our roles are quite different in the talent space. Yeah, definitely. I'm Laura for anyone who kind of missed the intro. So obviously I help organize Montgob meet up. But as my kind of day job, I work as head of talent at Street Group, so we're like a scale up. I would say best in Manchester, and my job is kind of encompassing everything, sort of recruitment related. But then also once those hires have joined the business in terms of making sure that they have a good employee experience as well. So, yeah, I would say that's a quick summary. I don't know how you saw that. No, that's great. No worries. I know a few people now, which is like, absolutely fine. We just say that the answer is optional. So thanks, Tom's. Just red wine. The weight room might be a little bit late, but we literally about, like 15 minutes anyway. So my role. I'm paralyma JavaScript, based in Manchester in Dennis, just over three years now, like, a little bit too long. Almost. And my job is to work with great companies, finding them great people. But that is not just the case of getting the CVS and sending them across. It's ensuring that the hiring processes are inclusive and flexible. It's fine in the places that have a great culture where people can really thrive. I'm a big I advocate and a mental health advocate as well. So I think all of this definitely ties in and just keeping on top of the market salaries and things like that as well as obviously like a really big part of it as well. So if there's anything that anybody wants to know in terms of, like, the tech market, I know we've got some really experienced people in here. I know we've got people that are just fine in their way, like in the industry, just by anything in the chat. And we'll basically try and get through it between the two of us. We did have a couple of questions come through on slide as well. So if you want to start with those of anything, they can put any other questions in the chat. So the first one was, should you see unlimited holidays as a red flag? Also, what are the rules around this and what prevents someone from booking, like, six months off? Oh, my God. I got asked this all the time because we do actually have some clients that offer this, and we have it at Manhattan Partners as well. So all the businesses, holidays, like, great question I'm going to be totally honest. I don't think it works for every company, like we're a start up, and we've got, like, a really kind of tight friendly kind of like culture where there's a lot of trust and autonomy. So if it's a larger company, you are relying on people to not take the piss. Basically. I think if you're looking at roles which have unlimited holidays or your company are looking into it, I think it's really important to actually have at least a minimum. And somebody in HR is responsible of actually taking care of, like checking in. How many holidays are people taking? It just something like gentle reminders. You can't. Awesome. But there are some studies that show that psychologically people end up taking glass holidays if they have, like, a certain number to take. So yeah, I guess that's the question. Isn't it a lot of us here where we work in, like, the knowledge industry, where you are paid for your expertise and your skills, not the literally hours that you clock in kind of like a retail job or I can't think of, like the other industries. It is definitely very different industry. And to be honest, I take four day weekends. Sorry. Three day weekends pretty regularly. And I actually found that I just got more done than, like those four days. So yes, there is probably a limit to what is like too much, like six months in a row. But if I'm taking, like every other Friday off, but it means that I'm still getting stuff done. I'm a mental health as well then. Yeah. I would definitely like Chris said, look into, like, the small print. Some places might have conditions on the benefit. Someone was saying they only might take ten days over two years in the US, but some of them is really disingenuous. Yeah, definitely. If anybody is curious. I think the average holidays I think that people are offering without bank holidays is anywhere between 25th. See if you've got the options to buy and sell like holidays as well. If they do offer unlimited, ask them what is like the average people have actually taken over the past year or if they don't have a number, can they go and maybe just run some stats and find it out as well, which would be quite important. So we've got another question. This is the a good one for you. I think you do a lot around the internal culture. Yeah, definitely. So yeah. The question is at job huntinginterviewstage, how do you find companies that have a good culture, et cetera. I think what you need to do is just talk to as many people as possible and see what they're asking you in our interview process. And this is culture is so important to us, making sure it's inclusive, making sure that we're kind of setting people up for success. So we do a lot into asking the candidate. Really like what are you looking for what makes you happy, what's important to you? And these kind of questions because we don't want to hire someone. And actually, what they like is like, I don't know, like, loads of structure and policies and things like that that we just can't offer because we're so small and we're not at that stage yet. And if that's the case, then we'll always be really honest and just be like, look, it sounds like what you're looking for isn't matching up. I think from my experiences when I've been like, I'm not sure about that culture. And if it's right for me, it's when it's been like, they've not really asked me what I'm looking for, and they've just gone into pitch mode, like, sales mode kind of thing. And I've just been like, That's not really what I want. And you've not even tried to get to know me as a person. It's a two way thing, isn't it? So I would look for the companies that want to know what you have to say and what you're looking for. I guess that steps would be interviewing with senior devs and things like that. So like asking them what's it actually like to work there, and hopefully they can be honest and tell you the good things and the bad things if it's just all good, it's kind of like, is that believable? We're always like, okay, this is what's good about working here. But if you don't like this, then we're probably not the right company for you, because that's the reality of working here. So, yeah, that's probably what I'd say. I think that's amazing. But I don't think not all interviewers can necessarily be as actively honest as that. So there are some questions that I think you can have on hand to ask that I think there's no perfect way to be able to sell a company's culture before you actually join them. Sometimes things start to reveal themselves. For example, like, a really good question that you can ask in the interview process is if we are kind of, like, behind schedule for a deadline, then what happens? Like, how do you distribute the where clothes? And what do I do if my workload becomes, like, unmanageable and the ways that people answer these questions, I think can tell you a lot about the management style, like, what the culture is like within the team. Nobody's directly going to say, like, oh, we've got a bit of a blame culture, but I think you can tell a lot from what people don't say versus what they do say. And so have some of those questions on hand. Basically, just saying what happens when things are hard, because that happens in every role in every company, in every team. And I don't think most interviewers actually expect people to ask these questions. They ask us like, oh, what's the normal day look like or those sorts of things and about life attack and stuff. I think it kind of just put them on the back foot a little bit. And when it does, people are most honest. Ask them the questions that you just know that they're not going to expect, and they'll just have to be completely honest about it. So. Hopefully that's a good indicator. And then we've got the classic question on, like, counter, just like, reading it out. Sorry. Like, more messages pop up. I think I've definitely got some opinions on, like, the counter offer. And I think definitely like most scenarios, the long story short is that it's generally not always a good idea. There may be some cases when it's not always, like a bad thing. And as long as you're honest with whoever you're with and with on that process throughout this. And I would say don't sign a contract and then take account. Rather do not let it get to that point. And there might be some scenarios there. Maybe, like, you've joined a company. They've grown really quickly. They've been growing pains, and maybe some of the things have been a genuine mistake. But ultimately, my stance is that if you have been raising these things in your one to one, if you have asked about the promotions and the pay reviews and things like that and the increase in, like, salary or any of these other promises has only come at the point when you've actually got another offer on the table, that money has always been there. They've always had the capacity to change the things that you're looking for, and they're only doing it as like a last ditch, sort of, like attempt. And I know people throw around that like, oh, if you take account off, they're like, you're going to leave in six months anyway, genuinely, my experience that has always always been the case. I've had people that have said, you know what? Come back to me a few months. They said, you know what? They said that they were going to do this as this and they've gone back on everything. Yeah, it does happen. I know it's the nature of the industry, but if you have got to that point where you've literally got an offer from, like, another company, I think you probably know where your heart is at. Anyway, change can be really scary, like jumping into something new, like new team, new company, new ways of working, new test and stuff like that. But then it's going back into a team and a manager that knew you wanted to leave as well. I don't know about you. I'm just passing by. Rachel. No, I'm with you there. I've never seen it work out well, but that's not to say it counts for the odd person, everybody. But, no, I'm with you on counter, officer. We had another question come through on Slide. Also, it's as a grad Dev. What salary should you be looking at? So many different ranges? Companies paying 21K versus others paying 30 to 35. How do you avoid being underpaid? Yes, that's a tricky one, isn't it? I can share, like what we've done, but we're only one small data points. I'd be really interested to hear what you've got to say on this peril, because I feel like you've got a wider view over way more companies than I do. We hired three juniors a couple of months ago. We advertised up to 30 kids, and we had people applying at various different levels, like some straight out of, like, boot camps, and then some who had already been in the industry for, like, a year or so maybe. And they were kind of all coming in, obviously the ones with zero experience towards the lower end. And then those that have had a bit more experience coming in at the top end. But like I said, that's just one data point, and we're a PHP house. So I imagine it would be different for different tech stacks as well. So yeah, what do you think, Carl? I think as you said, there's always going to be so much variety and so many base points are actually taken into consideration. And don't forget to look at the package as a whole as well. There will be companies that have bonuses and other things like that to take into account. Some companies might have a higher salary, but they don't have a bonus involved. And seeing whether that is is it on individual performance, team performance? Is it on my company performance? Is it a startup that they have effort options? So look at all these monetary factors as well when you look into that. But I would say, like, the minimum salary that people should be looking at for entry level at the market right now should be about, like, 23 to 25. And I think obviously anything above that is, like, a positive. But you know that within the next year or two, you're literally going to be doubling that. Yeah, definitely. I've just placed two years experience on 40K into, like, a fully remote role, and somebody with three years experience onto, like, 60K. So yeah, they are looking like pretty wild at the moment. So I would say finding that first company to build your good habits have really good engineers around you working on great projects as well is like invaluable obviously never make sure that you've been on paper, obviously start asking questions if it is below that 23 25 Mark. But if it's about that, you won't be underpaid. So look at all of the factors involved. And I would genuinely position a privilege. And I appreciate everybody's position is different. But if you can sacrifice a couple of K for working at like, a company, which you're going to get paid reviews and you're going to progress and you're going to work with some amazing people, I take that if you can. And if it is a little bit on the lower side. Another way that you can negotiate is agreeing a pay rise upon passing probation. So this isn't like a Gray area. It's just completely black and white. As soon as you complete probation, your pay goes up because you've proven yourself. So I used that as a really good negotiation tactic. When it comes to that. We've got one, which is tips on being kind of the startup which can offer equity. So this is something that we've had, like, really recently as well. With regards to equity. I would just genuinely see what these basically options are. I'm not going to go into loads of detail because I'm not a pro here. So I don't want to give loads of advice. But, for example, like, there's one of my clients that offer up to, like, ten K of the salary put into the best of options, which is like, I think it's like four years, but they have grown massively over the past, like 18 months. So you can just basically say what that is going to be worth in, like, four years time. And that doesn't change whether you leave in that time as well. Like, they are basically like your stock options. You don't use that pretty much. I would say, I don't know if anybody else has some experiences start offs and equity and stuff that they want to share. Mine is probably quite limited. Silence. Oh, Tom's, a mute in no. Okay. You have the choice of paying for them or not when they fast, only if the company is not performed, they're worthless. But you don't lose any money either. But the likes of Facebook, I think they have been very valuable to people. I mean, that's a good point as well. It's like you don't want to sacrifice, like, a drastic amount for your equity as well. And it's basically a salary which is 20K below the market rate. But they're saying like, oh, you got equity and stuff, but you're not actually totally sure how. It'S very risky to consider would follow you. Yeah, that's true. That's so many questions as well. Any job or do you recommend to find good companies that's the sites that show big companies that have not very great cultures. Do you know what this is definitely like, such a problem as well, because it's like the big companies that job orbs tend to be quite expensive as well. Obviously, some people might not actually want to hear it, but it does tend to be like recruiters that like myself that are working with the startups, the scale ups that really do invest in like their employee like, wellbeing, and have really good cultures and stuff, and they're not usually plastered all over job boards. So if you can connect with some good workforcers that specialize in your area, speak to them. But there's one website which I can definitely recommend if you're interested, which is called Flexer Career. I don't know if anybody has actually used that before, but it's basically a job board, which is set in the standards for flexible work and for a company to actually join on to that. They have to go through quite an in depth assessment in terms of the flexibility and a lot around the culture and stuff. And I really like how all of the job assets. So I think that would be a less known one than your usual. Do you know what if you are looking for a smaller company and you're looking for weight, culture and stuff like that, I'm not that confident that you turned it on places like Total Jobs and CV library and stuff like definitely. And indeed as well. Definitely. Still, you can set off the list, so you can have them directly to a folder in your inbox and just go through them every now and then. But I think websites actually have quite a lot. To be fair, because I think they provide, like, a more cost effective option for people that kind of want to push jobs faster, like the usual. And there's another one called Angel, I guess, slightly related to the startup question as well. Actually, it's a startup community for jobs, and so you'd be able to find some on there as well. So hopefully that helps in terms of finding the jobs with good cultures and stuff like that overflow jobs tend to be quite decent. But there's not a huge number of them. Yeah, that's true. How do you find causal cruises to connect with? I've had bad experiences to be honest, I hear some, like white stories, so I don't blame you. I don't blame you. And the important reason for this, to be honest, is there's quite a low barrier to entry into the industry. And there's a lot of companies that just push for KPIs. It's all about numbers and stuff, and they don't want people to take out time to actually be a part of the community and different things like that, which is obviously not an excuse. A bit of like an explanation, but I think just look for the people that are obviously quite active in their communities. Like, basically, Rachel was talking about earlier about people that are built in a brand, at least semi regularly, putting some content out. They might be quite limited because of what the company allows them to spend time on. But you can tell they're obviously making the effort to put our podcasts or articles or sharing advice on LinkedIn and things. So I would just pretty much connect with those people. Or an easier way is just basically get recommendations, ask people that, you know, like, hey, here are some good recruiters that you have worked with or like you've spoken to. And obviously you're welcome to connect with me as well, because I'm more than happy to help. And even if I can, I will put you in the right direction. I think if you've got just a few good people on your side and you've SoftEd out who like the good ones are. Then it can be so powerful for your career and getting you those amazing jobs. We will fight so hard for negotiating the best package as well. Getting you, like, the flexibility that you want. So good. Help out. Take your question because I feel like I talk too much, maybe just have, like, one or two and then finish off. No, I think that's completely right. What you've been saying. The other ones that have come through are what advice would you give someone looking to enter the tech industry and is currently on a boot camp? I think what Rachel was saying really applies to this start building that personal brand because there's a couple of juniors in Manchester that had graduated recently or gone through boot camps. And even before we were hiring juniors and afterwards I was so aware of them and would like, definitely reach out to them. So I think if you can do that. That would be good. And then the other one is probably echoing what Barrel just said, find a couple of good recruiters and talk to them if they're good at what they do, even though they probably won't have loads of junior jobs to build, they'll be more than happy to help you point you in the direction of some senior engineers who would be, like, helpful of mentors that kind of thing. So that kind of like networking and personal branding piece, I think, is so valuable and just sort of differentiating yourself a little bit from this big pool of candidates. So yeah, that's what I would say on that one. I don't know if you've got anything to add for use your LinkedIn Premium trial if you haven't already. Linkedin premium is expensive. It's like £50 a month and most people can't pay for that. Learning is a lot cheaper, though. Basically includes the benefits, does it? Yeah. There's a certain way to get a much longer trial of it as well. We could probably look into that then. But you definitely do get a month free, because obviously with the free version of LinkedIn like, you're really limited on, like searches. So I would try to tap into the hidden job market as well, which is why I saw people that I mentor, which is basically identify some companies that are either like in your area or remotely find people with the kind of like hiring managers. Hi also software development manager, engineering manager, talent manager. People like the heads of HR and just drop them an ad and drop them a message as well. I guarantee you, like, 95% of people who have finished the boot camp on getting to that level of proactivity. And even if they don't have anything open, like at that time, they might literally have something crop open, like a couple of weeks time. And you're going to be the person that's at the top of their mind. But if you've applied for jobs, then add somebody and say, hey, like I saw this shop on your website. I've applied like, looks absolutely amazing. Really happy to connect. I connect you just a simple message like that. I think thinking outside of the box and just going beyond the apply. Wait for feedback. Maybe that one interview out of every 1030 applications, it can be a little bit full of destroying. So just put yourself out there a little bit. And I like what Carl said about a weekly blog post, and it doesn't actually have to be a full on blog post, like maybe literally just a LinkedIn post or a tweet. This is really good website that I have been using recently. If you've got me on LinkedIn because I do a little bit of the coding as well. It's called carbon. So obviously if you're a software developer like, this is an amazing website where you can share code snippets in a really aesthetically pleasing way. That isn't just like a screen grab of whatever's going on in your editor. I would definitely pay attention to which theme you're using, because some of them can be quite hard to read. And so I use Accessibility Doc, which is at the top. She just copy paste the code and then it could just be something that you've learned that week or something really cool that you learnt how to do in JavaScript, and then you can just save it and share it on my LinkedIn and Twitter. I do that semi regularly. The last one that I did, I got like 17,000 views or something on it, but that's because there was a bit of drama in the comments. But if you want to see that, go to my LinkedIn page, I think and Ross got some good advice on social GitHub as well. I will share the page with you if you want to see it. Just out of curiosity. And I think if anything else comfortable, if not, we can wrap up or even because they got over a little bit. I know we didn't. We did go over a little bit, but we've just got one final question. So it says if you've joined a company as a grad will find the culture isn't great. What should you do, stick it out for experience or look for jobs again with zero experience. I really hope somebody is not going through that because that sounds horrible, but I'm guessing they are. Yeah, that's really tricky, because my instinct is to say, like if you're miserable find something new. Like I joined a job once and was there for like, six months, and I was like, this is making me so unhappy. I need to just leave. I don't care if it makes me look jumpy, but I'm saying that from a position of privilege where I already had years of experience and it was not super difficult to find another job. So I'm kind of torn on this one. Six months will do if you can stick it for six months because it is your first. The six months might well do a better paid job next time around. It wasn't a great culture fit. And also any decent human being recruiter hiring manager is not going to think less of you for leaving a job with a toxic environment. That's not even a question. I'm not going to be here and be like, oh, why didn't you stay for, like, both? Like, I think the last 18 months has definitely brought to light like how important mental health and wellbeing is. So even if you do find yourself having to explain yourself, I'm sure most decent people would be empathetic with that. And bonus point if they're not that that's not a company that you want to work for. Anyway, that's how you sort it out. So I guess we can wrap up there because I know we're like, ten minutes over, but I think everything just ran behind a little bit, but that was a really interesting discussion. The company failed its probation. Yeah, that's when actually the probation period is not just for the company to assess you. It's for you to assess the company. I guess I did have one last one. It shows how to get mentored by me. I mean, it's informal, so I'm always happy to kind of just give, like, support, so I don't keep it structured. But as long as I've got time in the schedule, which is probably going to be like a few weeks from now, just pop me a message on LinkedIn and I will definitely just try and get something in place for, like, whenever I can and my voice is going a little bit. I forgot now, but thank you so much for everybody that you're still here as well. I hope the Q and A has been helpful and my lovely co organizers as well. Tom, I was glad that you were able to join last minute as well as sorting the kids out. Have a lovely evening, everyone. And hopefully we'll see you next time. It might be in person after Christmas. Maybe keep your eyes peeled on the mentoring just generally, if you can do something to help someone you want to mentor you, that can really make a difference. It should be a two way relationship. Not just what can you do for me all the time? Yeah, definitely. And I've actually found the best way to get somebody to mentor you is maybe not directly asking for it. It's just basically just message them and maybe just ask them for advice or something and then maybe eventually just get like, a call pencil then. Yeah. I think that's a good way to kind of like, stop it. I think once you call it mentoring, you put some expectations around it, which can, I think, makes me panic a little bit because I'm just like, oh, my God. I'm committing to this. And I'm really busy just asking about. Really. But, yeah, I will end this now and have a lovely evening, everyone. And I'll see you next time. Bye. See you later. Bye. Thank you. Bye.