While I plan to cover some information about the current job market and hiring landscape in this post the main idea for this is to share what we’ve been up to as community first Django Developer Recruiters over the last 12 months.
January started with some exciting news for Foxley Talent with Josh O’Brien joining our team. I’ve worked with lots of recruiters over the past 16 years and very few care as much about what they do as Josh does. A perfect fit for our business where the people we work with and the community we support always comes first. Even the way he let me know his decision to join the business with this message was spot on.
We also grew our Django.Social network with new groups starting in Cambridge and Manchester. We held a board games night for the Bristol group which was great fun. The London group met for a long lunch in the pub.
On a personal note, I was invited to appear on the Django Chat podcast. This was an amazing experience and opportunity to talk about my career as a recruiter in the Django world. You can listen back to the episode here.
Tickets for DjangoCon Europe 2023 went on sale for the conference in Edinburgh along with the call for talk proposals. I submitted an idea to talk about job searches and hiring Django Developers hoping to share my knowledge on the subject.
In London we held the Django.Social in Brewdog Tower Hill and took advantage of their shuffleboard tables. It’s a surprisingly difficult game to master but we had a great turnout and everyone enjoyed the evening. The Cambridge group met for the first time for drinks.
We re-affirmed our commitment to the DjangoCon Europe event by upgrading our sponsorship to the GOLD level. Having attended DjangoCon Europe in Porto in 2022 as Bronze sponsors we wanted to have our own stand and the opportunity to speak to more people. I would highly recommend taking a stand at a conference in the future if you want the opportunity to speak to people within the community about your product, service offering or to find great Django Developers for your team.
The London Python Meetup group met for a night of talks, pizza and beers in the City. I hosted this night along with an AI company as our host/venue. We had nearly 100 Python and Django People show up on the night and all had a lot of fun. We had talks from our hosts along with Dan Knell (who actually is the developer responsible for building this website - THANKS AGAIN DAN!!) and Andrew Aikman gave us a preview of his DjangoCon Europe talk on green coding.
In April we had a return to the London Django Meetup. Hosted at Octopus’ new London HQ, a brilliant space for events. Our London Social was washed out with constant rain. *Note to self - don’t plan a walk outside in April…
We also co-ran a DBBUG (Dee Bug) with Torchbox in Bristol. This was supposed to be the return of quarterly Django talks in Bristol and Bath, unfortunately we haven’t been able to schedule another yet but plans are underway for 2024. If you are interested in speaking at a Django event in Bristol, please let us know.
On a business front, we made our first placement of a Django Developer with a Django company in the USA. This turned out to be the first page of a new chapter for Foxley Talent.
With the three of us at Foxley all having children in the same school year (different schools) we were all affected by the teacher strikes a number of times during the spring and summer terms. One of these dates My daughter and Josh’s twins were off on the same day so we opted to take the day off and take them to Legoland in Windsor. The kids enjoyed it almost as much as the adults.
Django Social in London celebrated the first anniversary with a night in the pub, the Cambridge group went to a beer festival and we also hosted a special Pre-DjangoCon Europe social in Edinburgh.
I wrote about our DjangoCon Europe exploits in an earlier blog post. You can read it here.
Although I have already written about DCEU, I wanted to re-iterate what a brilliant event it was for us. We met so many people, re-connected with friends made in Porto and spread the Foxley message a bit further. Our stand and table, along with our water bottles and t-shirts were very popular. If you haven’t already heard, the 2024 edition is in Vigo, Spain. I hope to see you there.
When we returned from the conference we moved into our newest office which 6 months on is still our home (a record for a Foxley Talent Office).
The Social in London was a picnic held after work in Hyde Park. People brought along picnic food, blankets, chairs and some outdoor games. This was the 2nd time we have picnic’d and will definitely be doing it again! The socials took a summer break. Returning later in the year.
With our ever growing network in America and our commitment to being present at the major Django events we committed again to being GOLD Sponsors of DjangoCon US held in Durham, North Carolina later in the year. We booked flights, an AirBnB and set our countdown! This was something to really look forward to in the calendar!
Our new website also went live in July. A re-design and build that started in October last year and took lots of hard work from all involved. We built the site with Wagtail and Django (of course) with the help of our amazing friend Dan Knell - He’s a contract Django Developer and you should definitely hire him if you need any help.
The height of the summer is always a bit slower paced. School summer holidays are always a priority in my house, this probably comes from both my parents being school teachers and having lots of time off in the summer. One of the great things about running your own business is being able to work when you need to and take the time off when you need to.
Working with more US based clients means that my days in the UK are really varied and over the summer I was able to spend time with the kids during the day and catch up with people in the evenings.
September is always busy in the recruitment world. People realise that they only have a few months left to achieve the things they set out to do in January. This often means hiring or prioritising projects which then has a knock on effect for us. We noticed a significant uplift in the number of jobs being registered across the Django and Python community. Hopefully this trend will continue into 2024.
held a co-working day for the London Social, another successful event in our calendar and here to stay. Using one of our clients’ office spaces we invited 15 or so Django people from across the London region to come together and spend the day working on their own projects in the company of other Django Developers. Like a real day at work in an office but still doing your own thing. If you want to host this in your office in the future, please let us know.
I also signed up to speak at Django Day Copenhagen, giving the talk I proposed for DjangoCon Europe earlier in the year. The Django Day CPH event is really special. A one day mini conference held in the capital of Denmark. Starting early in the morning and running until late at night with a party and quiz. I would highly recommend attending if you fancy a Friday at a Django event and a weekend exploring Copenhagen (you can even get the train to Malmo in Sweden if you have time)
My talk was titled Unlocking the Django Job Market: Strategies for developers and employers. You can watch it here.
Our 2 year anniversary coincided with the HIGHLIGHT of our year was definitely our trip to DjangoCon US in North Carolina!
We had a couple of days before the conference to explore Durham, we also attended a Duke University Football match. WHAT AN EXPERIENCE! 44,000 people in attendance for a college game, Duke won convincingly. GO Duke!
I’ve been meaning to write up our review on the conference which I’ll publish another time. But if you want to read about it now here’s a great blog post from Kayti Mitchell.
Our sponsors stand was popular again, along with a selection of new Foxley t-shirts and goodies. One of the t-shirts travelled an approximate 21,000 miles in a few weeks, appearing at DjangoCon Africa later in the month. Thanks again Afi!
Again we met so many amazing people and simply had the best time. We even held a pre-conference Django.Social which has launched a Raleigh/Durham group, we attended an arcade, I gave a lightning talk and so many more moments, here’s a highlights reel over on our instagram profile and keep an eye out for our next blog post.
Coming towards the end of the year we took on a number of new roles and closed off some more positions with our clients.
We finalised a re-structure of the business with both Liam and Josh becoming Directors and Owners of Foxley Talent.
Liam will be building out our contract offering, allowing our clients to flex their workforce on request, bringing in top Django talent at short notice to reach deadlines and have confidence to bid on new projects.
Josh will be looking after and building out our UK Permanent Business unit, the foundation that Foxley has been built on. Josh’s focus will be helping our network of UK Django companies built over 15 years to fill their jobs with outstanding Django talent.
My role will be to continue our international growth, building our brand and spreading the word of the Django community.
In November each year we make our donation to the Django Software Foundation, giving 5% of our profits to the organisation that makes Django tick! I wrote about why we do and how you or your employer can in a recent post here.
The last London Django Social event was a Karaoke Spectacular… Joined by our friends from the community we sang long into the night… well ok, from 8-11 but we did have to book an extra hour! It was lots of fun, a very sociable way to end the year for this group. The Cambridge group met for a Christmas Lunch and the other groups had their end of year celebrations too.
This time of year is always the perfect time to reflect, looking back at what you have achieved, learned and importantly all the new people you have met.
Having attended 2 Django Conferences, many meetups across the country and around Europe the list of people we’ve met is so long, every person we have interacted with has confirmed why we do what we do, why we dedicate our time to bringing the community together and having a presence at events as often as possible. Why we love working with Django people and the companies who use Django.
It all comes down to the people, the community. We are lucky to be able to help so many people and next year we hope to help many many more to connect and forge the next stage of their careers.
“You come for the code but you stay for the community!”
We hope everyone has a Happy Christmas and with best wishes for the new year. See you in 2024.