Before I begin, I'll add that Ed spent most of the week reminding us to connect on twitter and use the #TechCampUK hashtag, so feel free to look through my twitter; I followed everyone involved (including fellow TechCamp-ers). All the fantastic pictures Emma took will be going in TechMix magazine, which we will all receive a copy of. Some of Emma's and many of our own are also on twitter, if you don't want to wait (or only see pictures that include me).
On Monday we went to Mindshare, a media agency which is part of Group M. It was interesting learning the difference between an ad agency (who create adverts - the what) and a media agency (who facilitate ad campaigns - the where, the how, the when); learning how the internet has changed both how advertising is bought, placed and categorised, and how advertising affects us; learning about the entire concept of a media planner. They also gave us CV and job application advice from the Group M recruitment team, which was fantastic and included things I would never have realised.
On Tuesday we went to Fujitsu, who talked about the internet of things (IoT), how systems are made, maintained and serviced, and (importantly) how security for those works. In teams, we came up with our own IoT-inspired service for the elderly, considering how we would make, market and maintain our products, considering support, price and security. At the end of the day, we were able to pitch our ideas to the Fujitsu team. As much as this was a great chance to get the feel for real office presentation, it was a chance to be entertaining: our product was named FRIJitsu, many teams punned on Fujitsu, and there was even a prize for best "Humorous Presentation".
I'm not going to lie; Wednesday was the day I had been looking forward to the most. We went to FabLab, a fabrication laboratory which has 3D printers, laser cutters and various high tech tools, and does school groups, free sessions and membership. We knew we would be learning about the machines and do a 'tear-down' of a home printer. It was a fascinating day, and we all were excited about the prospect of booking ourselves into the free sessions after TechCamp. The renewability of such cutting edge technology is amazing. Not only did they explain how the 3D printers print replacement parts for other machines and even themselves but as we took apart the printer, they explained how each part can be reused and even the plastic can be melted down and made into reels for 3D printing.
On Thursday we went to HP. It was really interesting hearing about their history of innovation and upcoming split into Hewlett Packard Enterprises and HP Inc, especially the invention of the scientific calculator and the 2013 Guiness World Record for the fastest printer, but the highlight of the day was the demonstration of Sprout. An incredible new computer that scans objects as 3D in 17 seconds, we were shown a few of the things you can do with Sprout and its touchscreen pad by the person who created it. My notes from that are a series of photos and a scribbled "I want one", which sums up how impressive it was!
On Friday we went to Sapient, a pairing of Sapient Global Markets and Sapient Nitro. In the morning, Sapient Global Markets explained how apps and similar things are made, and how important user experience (or UX) is. In groups, we were given a brief for an energy monitoring app, and went through the research, mindmapping, idea forming and designing steps, then presenting to the room. This time, it wasn't a competition; just as we had each mindmapped our own interpretations, functions and designs before comparing and combining as a group, the SGM team explained that the same would happen as a company to create the best of all groups' apps for the client. In the afternoon, Sapient Nitro showed us some things the company has worked on, including augmented reality items and a prototype contactless cash machine, before giving us some advice on jobs and careers - including some very transferable, succinct advice: "Don't be an arsehole" and "Give a shit".
Friday, and the whole week, ended with a networking event. Apprenticeship and training groups, and even some recruitment agencies, came to the Sapient offices to give us the opportunity to meet them in person and share contact details. Unfortunately, many apprenticeship schemes aren't available to graduates, as they won't receive government funding for people who they have funded to be trained to a higher level already. I still found useful information about other possible training, and spoke to recruiters. With my bag filled with leaflets and business cards, I went home feeling as if my head were overflowing with information, and slightly sad it was all over.