Glen Pike : Senior UI Developer - Software Cornwall

“Don’t just learn to program, learn to build things that interest you.”

Employer : Headforwards   

Years in software industry : 15 

Location  : Redruth

Job Description :  Senior UI Developer (User Interface)

Employer : Headforwards     

Build front-end pages and applications for managing cloud computing systems.
Predominantly working in JavaScript, HTML & CSS.  Also use Python & Perl in this job.
Have to use Linux and the “command line” a lot whilst also wrangling with tools to help us automate things: NodeJS, Grunt, Make, Docker.
We do TDD, and we’re getting better at it.  We write tests using Mocha/Chai/Karma JavaScript test tools and we work in an Agile fashion.
We’re not perfect, a big skill is being curious enough to learn better ways of doing things.

What does your company do and what’s great about working there?

We build and maintain systems allowing customers of NTT to manage their computers around the world.
Headforwards often put on barbecues on the beach in the summer.  At other times in the year, they organise events for us, e.g. Christmas Meal, paintballing, karting, etc.  We’re a big company, so some groups of employees make their own arrangements meeting up, playing sports, going for a beer, etc.

Career Pathway 

I started working as an embedded programmer, after a degree in Electronics, Music & Media Technology.

When I moved to Cornwall, it was hard to find similar work.  I’d taught myself Flash because I loved getting audio/visual programmes working.  I also taught myself web-design and built my second website for a client.

I carried on learning web-based programming from there, but have always maintained an interest in multimedia and other stuff which gives me a broad skillset and knowledge.

What’s your favorite part of the work you do?

Learning and improving myself.

I also work with some really smart people, who come from around the world and most of us all want to improve and do things better, which means we can do good stuff as a team.

What piece of advice would you give anyone considering a career in the Software sector?  

Learn things in your own time, but not too much.  The best place to learn is on the job.  It’s hard to convince an employer that you have a skill that matches the specific one their looking for, but transferrable skills are useful, which is why looking around you is important.
Because things change so quickly, paper books can go out of date, but there are some really useful ones about JavaScript and other languages that have not changed much over the years.  O’Reilly have some good examples and the e-books on this page are good:

If someone was interested in doing the job you do what advice would you give and what resources might you recommend?

Read this page, then do all the things it tells you: then the later one:

There are tons of web-development resources out there, but watching old JavaScript conference videos is quite useful.

“Don’t just learn to program, learn to build things that interest you.”

What’s the best thing about living and working in Cornwall? 

I hate commuting, but it only takes me 15 minutes to cycle home from work and I can see the sea from my house.

What are your favorite products and services you have helped to develop? 

Some of my freelance projects with Flash were my favourite things to do.  Electric December was possibly the most rewarding because it was entirely my responsibility and I managed to achieve a good result, on time & in budget:
I also enjoyed working on RoboThespian: because I had to do lots of different programming to get the robot working and it was a tangible thing.

Contact Glen

Contact Glen