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LEEDS DIGITAL FESTIVAL: THE ROUND UP!

Thursday 4th May 2017
Last week (22nd- 29th April) marked Leeds Digital Festival!

A whole week dedicated to celebrating all things great about digital in our city. The event was a big hit in 2016 with over 56 events, in 28 venues with over 6,000 people attending.

This year the event proved to be even bigger and better than last year!

This year the week long festival hosted over 115 events and welcomed over 10,000 attendees! 100’s of Leeds based companies got involved in hosting and sponsoring events as well as welcomed support from national and international companies.

In this post we take you through some of our favourite events from the week and some of the events we hosted!


Leidos – Utilising Machine Learning and Big Data to forecast global events
Danny who speciliases in the Data Market at Amsource Technology went along to this event, here’s what he thought

‘As the Data Analytics consultant for Amsource Technology, the event that Leidos had on how they “utilise Machine Learning and Big Data to forecast global events” was something that interested me greatly. I left work a little early and headed down so to get there on time; as part of the presentation we were given an overview on who Leidos are and what they do (they’re an American defence company for those of you who aren’t aware), they then moved on to telling us about how they use Big Data and Machine Learning algorithms to analyse and identify trends in past data in order to create models that can make predictions about the future. In fact, Leidos’ platform is so accurate that they were able to predict that there would be high levels of conflict in Syria three years before the war started, even going in to a level of detail that allowed them to identify which cities/areas would be the hotspots. The accuracy of the predictions their platform makes is staggering and may be providing a glimpse into a future where precise, pre-emptive measures are able to quell the flames of catastrophe before they ever appear.’

Amsource Technology Digital Skills Clinic

Throughout the course of the week we opened our office doors to digital candidates who wanted to get some digital hiring advice. This gave candidates who came along the opportunity to get some advice on how to stand out as a digital candidate as well as hints and tips for interviews.

While the sessions we offered were one on one, we did hold a group session for 15 A-Level students from Appleton Academy. The students who were all studying ICT came in to raise their questions about future careers in the IT industry and ways they can stand out about against other candidates when entering the digital sector. During this session, we were joined by IT professional Chris Moran, Chris has extensive experience working in the IT space as a hiring manager. Chris was on hand to provide some ‘insider tips’ on what hiring managers look for in young candidates and what the students can do to ensure they get the best chance at securing a role. We were also joined by George Grainger of BJSS, BJSS are a leading software consultancy organisation in Leeds, they are passionate about getting young people into IT careers and have introduced an apprenticeship scheme for young people to get involved in. George was able to talk through these schemes with the students and highlight just some of the ways an apprenticeship can set candidates up for successful careers. It was really great to see so many young people enthusiastic and proactive about securing a role in IT.

Amsource Technology Hiring Clinic
The Amsource Technology Hiring Clinic gave hiring managers the chance to come along and get some advice from our experience in the digital sector about how to attract the best talent to their business.

We met with a small family business, well established for over 50 years providing a specialist service. Their IT is managed by a third party and their digital presence managed by a specialist agency.

They are looking at bringing some of this in--house and as this was a company first, they had lots of questions. ‘Who do we need? How available are they? How do we compete with some of the bigger employers in the Leeds area?’

Having found out more about their business and learning about their strengths we were able to identify the type of people likely to buy it to the company ethos and take things from there. We also spoke about attraction methods, recruitment process and how to get their company message out in a much wider sense.

cap hpi – Digital in the automotive industry

cap hpi took over Millennium Square to give the people of Leeds an insight in to what we can expect from the automotive industry moving forward. They had a BMW i8, Tesla S and a Tesla X.

The cap hpi team were on hand to explain in detail what they offer as a business, there place in the market and how they are contributing to the automotive sector on a massive scale.

cap hpi have data on pretty much every car that’s been on the road going back to the 80’s. With all this data they have been able to map out trends and help companies predict what consumers will want moving forward. They are also the authors of a universal cataloguing method which is now used on all cars across the world.

One of the interesting topics discussed was around car ownership, how cars are now collecting data and the value attached to that and ultimately what this could mean for consumers in the future.

It’s fantastic to see a Leeds based tech organisation not only contributing, but leading on the global stage.

LiveCode in the Code Dojo
On Tuesday night we welcomed Grant Crofton and the Leeds Code Dojo to Amsource Technology. We had been planning a collaboration between Tech//Connect and the Code Dojo for some time and the Leeds Digital Festival presented a prime opportunity to do so.

On the night over 20 developers ranging from hobbyist to expert participated and were using an array of languages including C#, Java, JavaScript, Swift and Clojure.

The format of the evening was in a death match style, the topic was Functional vs OO programming. Grant put in place some strict rules to ensure people were coding strictly in a Functional or OO style. 

The task given was to write a 10 pin bowling calculator. On the face of it a relatively simple one, but once undertaken and with the very strict guidelines in place it proved to be quite a tricky problem to solve.

At the end of the task Functional and OO swapped computers to check a) it worked! And b) that everyone had played by the rules. Points were given and deducted across a number of criteria and in the end Functional won with 3 points to OO’s 1.5.

It was really great to see people working together to solve a problem, using tech they wouldn’t normally use and contributing to the success of the Code Dojo. 

Here's what Grant had to say 'We enjoyed a night away from Callcredit’s offices, nice as they are – the new Amsource space is modern and airy, and having a separate area of each of the warring factions suited the session well.  And of course, everyone can appreciate having a pool table and beer fridge to hand!  I hope we can visit again in the future.'

Leeds Digital Jobs Fair 3.0
We popped along to the third Leeds digital jobs fair hosted by HERD at Leeds Arena. Leeds has more than 600 digital vacancies available at the moment. It's well known that there is a considerable Skills gap being felt in the digital industry at the moment, the jobs are there but the people with the right skills are not. The digital jobs fair is an outlet where companies in our region can show case just some of the fantastic opportunities they have available. 
Having attended the Leeds Digital Festival last year it was really great to be involved this year in hosting our own events. The festival is growing in size each year and it will be interesting to see the volume of events and attendees next year!


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