Attaining work life balance

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Technology and start-ups are both renowed for being able to take over your life. Therefore it’s probably unsurprising that after 8 years in tech startups I’ve completely lost the concept of a balance between life and work. One thing that I began to realise is that “work” is not just that which your boss expects of you, the targets that have been set or what your company pays you for, it’s also everything that you have become obliged to maintain – that online game you wrote, some websites you host or an open source project you released but then stopped using.

Take a look at your life. How many days, evenings or even hours are you truly able to put your feet up and relax? Play a game with your family? Go for a walk or cycle in the great outdoors? Do you see your friends enough and when was the last time you just chatted to your parents?

I reflected recently and decided there was nowhere near enough time put aside for these things. It probably contributed to worse than average health too. So in an effort to bring things back into balance I’m heading into 2016 with the plan to spend more time with friends and family, seeing the countryside and generally relaxing. To that end I’m wrapping up 2015 by moving house, heading out of the city and into the countryside. Sure weekdays may still be busy and I still need to prune the list of projects I have on the go, but if I can spend the whole weekend in a different context I think it could really make a difference!

Image thanks to tech.co

Bring more talent to Edinburgh!

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Edinburgh is a beautiful city. It’s a place that strikes the balance between nature and urban activity, friendliness and business. We are lucky enough to have a combination of heritage centres, world class universities, record breaking arts festivals and substantial business support all spread out round Scotland’s leading tourist attraction. I have travelled round the world (literally), visited many countries, and I always look forward to coming home.

Business, whilst often hidden in town house buildings or behind historical facades, is booming and also varied. Edinburgh is home to HQs of worldwide banks (RBS, Standard Life), engineering hubs for huge games companies (like Rockstar), home to Scotland’s only two Unicorns (FanDuel and Skyscanner) and boasts the UK’s largest technology incubator (CodeBase).

Whether you’re a graduate, job-seeker or seasoned professional looking for the next challenge there are technology opportunities galore. You don’t have to attend too many job fairs or recruitment events to see that companies are keen to snap up more skilled people than there are currently available. In fact there is a well documented skills shortage, particularly in the technology sector – something that ScotlandIS, CodeClan and others are working hard to fix.

Another factor here is the great startup communities that exist around Edinburgh and central Scotland. A huge number of businesses are being successful in starting up and staying in business by beating the odds. Not only are these companies adding to the requirement for staff but they are also often started by ex-employees of larger companies that would have otherwise filled a gap in another company. Whilst this adds to the significant challenge of finding enough people to staff these growing companies it’s fantastic that there are opportunities to pursue whatever career path you choose. It also shows that there’s plenty of opportunity to bring your own idea to life and keep that Scottish inventive spirit alive.

So where else can we go to encourage more people to join us in Edinburgh and be part of this eclectic mix of business, technology, culture and fun? That’s exactly the question that the StartEDIN collective have set out to solve. Scotland has a history of not promoting itself widely and this group believe it’s time to change that. They want to let everyone know what opportunities are available in Edinburgh and the lifestyle improvements you could just get at the same time!

In such a beautiful city with a vibrant, growing tech sector don’t we owe it to those unaware to let them know of all the opportunities here?

(image by Kim Traynor)

Be part of the future today – get coding!

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There’s little doubt that computers are here to stay, they’re embedded in most aspects of modern life and will continue to be a growing part of our daily interactions. In a world of geek chic, wearables and mytwitterbookplus it’s no longer a beatable offence to be interested in technology or computers.

Add to that the salary that’s associated with a good software job is comparable with a lawyer or finance broker without needing to be one of “those guys” or wear a suit to work. Also remember that IT is a significant growth industry (second to health and they have to get their hands dirty).

So basically, why are you not already thinking of it as a career? You are but it’s too much to learn? Not any more – get yourself a place at CodeClan and you could be in a great new programming job before the end of the year!

Respect for medical workers

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Hey guys, I know I’m no medic but I’m pretty sure if I was I wouldn’t have gotten into it because I like working long hours or weekends. Have we at some point forgotten that these generous people look after us all and on a daily basis put others’ health above their own and are literally life savers?

Can we stop arguing about pay or hours and instead be grateful and figure how to inspire more people to take this honourable path?

EDI update and shiny new icon

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It’s been quite some time so I wanted to provide an update on the EDI project. The aim was to make getting into Linux development as easy as possible, and to help developers learn how to builds apps using the EFL. Clearly that’s a grand plan and along the way there was a lot of challenges to overcome.

The first major hurdle, beyond actually creating a vision, project definition and basic application, was to make an editor that was powerful but easy to use. None of the available components at this time met the challenge (the early pre-releases were built on existing editor components as best we could), so a new editor needed to be built.

Elm_Code is this new component – it’s been in development for around 6 months now (since early planning began at the E Dev Day alongside LinuxCon Europe 2014) and it’s shaping up nicely. We have highlighting support, inline error overlays and great performance (a few leaks aside…) – and it fits into EDI like this:

ss-elm_code-may2015

As it’s all under heavy development there aren’t many releases just now, but it’s moving forward really fast. We’re more tightly coupled to the EFL development at this time so our next exciting release will be alongside their 1.15 release in August.

In the meantime I’d love to leave you with this excellent snippet from an Enlightenment user who recently tried out EDI.

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 16.19.51

Lastly for this post I wanted to thank raster for the great new icon he made for the app earlier this week – it looks much better and fits well with the Enlightenment suite of apps. We also created a page on the main web site to give a more refined summary of the project.