Jenko Words & Code

20 January 2013

Silicon Valleys?

opinion 4 minutes and 8 seconds

A little while ago (ok a long while ago, I procrastinate a lot) I noticed someone from the web industry crowd sourcing for somewhere to live. I looked at the responses they received and noticed a few people recommend South Wales. As a born and bred South Walian it obviously perked my interest, but it also got me thinking; would South Wales be a good place to live for a web professional? In this post I aim to answer that very question and to also reflect on why I enjoy living and working in South Wales as a web professional.

The people

The welsh are renowned for there passion, and I could talk about how this is true and even drop a mention for the great welsh rugby team, but as this is a techy blog I will try and keep it relevant.

There are hard working people all over the world. I’m sure you will be able to find people who work hard wherever you are, nothing here sets Wales apart from the rest. However, nothing should set other places above Wales in this regard either. There is a wide net of passionate developers and designers (UX’ers, content writers, marketeers, managers etc. etc.) throughout South Wales. You will not be short of good people when looking for someone to help you work on that idea you have or when arranging a meet up to discuss that new bit of tech you’ve been experimenting with.

The community

Speaking of meet ups there are a number available for whatever you’re interest may be. Speaking as a developer, there is an excellent meet up called Unified.Diff, which I’ve had the pleasure of speaking at and would recommend whole heartedly for anyone wanting to learn/speak about software development. If you’re a designer there are a number of conferences and smaller meet ups available, the recent emergence of the Port80 and Handheld conferences, both of which received excellent feedback, stand out. There is also the Port80 localhost events and the UX book club if you’re looking for something on a smaller scale.

If you’re a freelancer you may be looking for co-working space or people in a similar situation as you to have some community when seemingly working alone. The excellent indyCube is just what you need. IndyCube is a set of premises set up for freelancers to pay a small fee to use as their office, you get internet access, a desk, chair, the all important tea and coffee facilities and more importantly, people just like you to share an office with and who knows, maybe make new friends/acquaintances/colleagues.

The company

You may have heard about Specific Media buying Myspace with a little help from a certain Mr. Timberlake. As part of this take over, it was decided that much of the new Myspace development was to be undertaken in the UK. In London you may think, isn’t there some kind of silicon roundabout or something? Well no, a large chunk of the new myspace is being developed right here in South Wales. If it’s good enough for Timberlake, it may just be good enough for you too?

Of course it’s not just celebrities and world famous brands choosing to innovate and develop right here in South Wales, there are lot of outstanding, industry leading agencies right here in the heart of the country.

From influential designers, to innovative developers it really is no coincidence that one of the most famous websites started right here in the capital city.

The infrastructure

This is a crucial area as to why South Wales and in particular Cardiff is a great place to start a new chapter in your digital career. As well as being among one of the first cities in the UK to get super fast, fibre optic broadband, Cardiff was also listed among the first cities in the UK to have 4G internet access.

Where as perhaps neglected before, Cardiff is now firmly established as one of the brightest cities in the UK and certainly one of the most digitally enhanced. The infrastructure here is first class in aiding you do your online business.

Of course, if you should be without internet access but badly need it, there is that ever present community I was talking about earlier to help you out.


I’m sure working in South Wales is not perfect, it is probably still some way off San Francisco or possibly even Shoreditch, however I think it should be given a lot of consideration if you work in the web and are looking for somewhere to setup home in the UK.

If you don’t mind having to see everything in Welsh as well as English, like being surrounded by passionate people and want a digital infrastructure that’s first class, then come on over, we’ll get the kettle on.

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