“It was a sea of Blue SendGrid T-Shirts. Everywhere I looked, I saw SendGrid! You guys rock!”

My first answer when asked the question “What do Developer Evangelists do?” is always: We empower and nurture developers. In previous talks I’ve given and articles I’ve written, I’ve described how teaching, mentoring, empowering, and nurturing are the most important parts of my job, and there’s no age limit to which this help is confined.

In the many hackathons I (and the rest of the Developer Evangelist team) travel to, I see developers of all ages and I’m never more impressed, and quite frankly in awe, at the level of knowledge in the younger coders.

Last week, Young Rewired State (YRS) hosted its annual Festival of Code. The festival brings together centres spanning the entire UK, matching young coders with mentors, empowering them to build excellent software, and get excited about coding and the world of hackathons. SendGrid has been mentoring with YRS for a few years now, and I’m eager to say that we intend to continue!

Parallel to the festival, Ben Nunney from Twilio, along with SendGrid and the Twilio crew, embarked on Code on the Road. While Ben and the Twilio crew traversed the UK starting in Scotland, and ending in Plymouth, myself, Will, and Alex toured 10 centres around London mentoring some of the brightest young coders I’ve ever met. The week-long tour culminated in Plymouth, South-West England for the Semi-Finals and Finals, in which myself and Alex were also judges! (Which was absolutely awesome.)

During the week, in the London centres, we gave a helping hand to many groups in the forms of both code/hacking aid and presentation/pitch feedback. Having only 3 minutes to pitch their hacks, timing was of the utmost importance. Many of the young coders of YRS had never attended a Hackathon before, or pitched an idea to a room full of people. Being able to instill confidence, and pride was, and always will be, one of my favourite things about mentorship.

Overall, I was incredibly impressed with the level of technical skill in every YRS participant. The passion, skill, confidence, and general attitude of the attendants will remain in my mind as one of the most awe-inspiring things I’ve ever seen. Instead of drivelling on about how incredible the week and weekend were, I’d like to share some tweets and photos that I found particularly awesome.

Before I do that, however, I have to give massive shout-outs to both my Ambassador Alex Reed and my Dev Rel colleague Will Smidlein. Alex did an incredible job in taking the lead on organising much of our tour. Both Alex and Will did incredible jobs in mentoring and instilling confidence and values in the young coders. To each, awesome job chaps!


@SendGrid thank u for all ur help Alex and Will, ur the best !!!!!!!

— Alice Wenban (@Alicewenban) August 1, 2014

@ws thank you for all your support to @Team404YRS at #YRSFoC

— Nkechi_Creative (@Nkechi_Creative) August 3, 2014

@SendGrid are so cool. Thanks for your support @rbin and @alexerax – you were a blast. pic.twitter.com/bNEhvZYJ1r

— Shad (@ShadJahangir) August 4, 2014

SendGrid Devangelist. London based polyglot hacker, mainly playing with Golang and Ruby. Musical Hacker, Hardware hacker, Hackathon lover, API abuser and NoSQL user.