Many moons ago when I was at The Nottingham Trent University studying a Multimedia degree I discovered Flash and started out by creating simple and stupid timeline animations. I soon got bored of the limitations of static animations and so began playing around with code to make stuff interact with the user.
My fascination with Flash lead me to a part time job working at a startup company called Click2Touch as one half of the company, alongside the owner and founder Nicola Davison. The idea was to create web software that would allow a better interaction with clothing online to try and help people get a greater understand of the garments they were buying, with a hope to reducing returns and save lots of money! Things were going great and the idea won a Bank of England innovation award. Sadly the company never transpired into anything and no longer exists, but it was a great way to get into Flash and gave me invaluable experience at the time.
I graduated in 2006 with a first-class honours BSc and that, along with 18 months of part time relative work experience under my belt, meant finding a job was relatively easy after uni. In fact I had my results ceremony in Nottingham on a Tuesday, moved to London the next day and then on the Thursday started my new job.
The job was working at Research Now, a leading online market research field work agency. The company was relatively small in terms of employees when I started with about 80 people, although they were expanding at a rapid rate of about 3 or 4 people a week, and are now a huge global company having been bought out by e-Rewards in early 2010. Being the first Flash Developer at the company my task was simple – make the currently boring radio button surveys more interesting, interactive and just generally engage people more. Simple Flash stuff like fun sliders where seen as a great revelation at the time and the work started to flow in. Since I was the first one there they tasked me with building my own little Flash development team, which at such a young age and with minimal experience was a great achievement.
The trust shown in me at Research Now really set me up well in my career and gave me valuable management experience at a young age. However, after close to 2 years at the company it became obvious that there was only so much you can do with online surveys and I knew I had to move on if I was to continue to develop my skills.
Next stop TMW, a digital agency based on the Kings Road in London. A similar turn of events happened at TMW, with me being the first permanent Flash Developer at a predominantly design focused company. This was a great opportunity to work with some excellent designers and make their ideas come to life. TMW was where I really cemented my knowledge of Flash and working on large scale web sites with a number of developers helped me to continue growing as a developer.
I always had a burning desire to do the travelling thing and after a couple of years at TMW and with some savings in the Bank I decided the time was right so I packed my bags and hopped on a one way plane to Mexico in May 2010 (obviously after handing in my resignation and working a notice period!). I travelled by buses, boats, cars, bikes and anything else I could find all the way down to Argentina stopping at Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Brazil, Peru and Bolivia on the way. I had some real adventures and made some amazing friends. However, I did slightly regret not taking a laptop with me as the desire to program and creative ideas continued to flow whilst I was on the road. It was perhaps a good break though.
Upon returning to England, TMW welcomed me back with open arms and I got stuck straight back into development work from early 2011. However, times had changed at TMW, or maybe I had, and it was never really the same for me. I really appreciated them giving me my job back but felt like I needed a new challenge, a different environment to keep me hungry for learning. Developers are like sharks, we have to keep on swimming (learning) or we’ll die (not literally).
During my first stint at TMW I had worked closely with a small web development studio called Specialmoves. I’d actually been to their offices to work alongside their developers as part of a Lynx project and really loved the laid back atmosphere and the fact that everyone was both great at their job and really passionate about programming and technology. Having decided my time at TMW was up Specialmove was the only place I wanted to apply for and thankfully they had an opening.
However, a dream of mine has always been to live and work in New York City. As far back as I can remember I’ve always wanted to work in the Big Apple at some point, perhaps it’s from watching films based there as a kid. Luckily the opportunity has now arrived! I am really proud to follow a long list of really talented developers to work at Fi, a company I have known about for years.
So that pretty much brings us up to date with where I am now.