Independant Principle Consultant
Location : Cornwall / London / Global
Years in tech :16
“Done right tech is one of the best careers you can have, so please come and join us – it’s a great industry & we are critically short of talent.“
What does your company do?
My work is a mixture of consulting, coaching, teaching, mentoring, performance analysis and connecting people.
Tech is an incredibly social profession and if you have a mix of tech and communication skills you can make a real impact.
I’ve worked with some of the biggest names in tech, and have started projects that have changed the direction of my bit of the industry.
I am my company – it’s just me and a few associates.
I use a wide range of skills and tools – from programming languages and IDEs to presentation software, authoring tools to writing and presenting skills.
What are your favorite products and services you have helped to develop?
OpenJDK – the basis of the mostly widely used implementation of Java on the platform, used by billions of people every day. I have contributed some small code contributions, but have also encouraged and worked with the community to engage.
jClarity – my first startup, that produces state-of-the-art Java performance tools.
Morgan Stanley MATRIX – One of the industry’s first integrated platforms for content and trading.
And a secret music project I’m not allowed to talk about yet.
Grew up in mid-Cornwall
Dropped out of a PhD to write music & film websites.
Rode out the first bubble, and got a job working with a sports betting website.
Joined the financial industry in 2004, and built a career at leading investment banks, before leaving to start a performance startup.
Got heavily involved in the community & conference side of the industry.
Wrote a book & started writing news pieces and articles for publications.
What’s your favorite part of the work you do?
The variety, being able to make my own schedule (& spend a load of time in Cornwall).
Constant intellectual challenge.
Lots of travel & meeting new people.
The feeling that I’m helping and encouraging people & making the industry a better, more welcoming and more diverse place.
What piece of advice would you give anyone considering a career in the Software sector?
It is a great career – consistently rated as one of the happiest by job surveys.
It isn’t as much about tech & computers as people think. Instead, it’s about people & abstract models of how people think about things that are in the world.
If someone was interested in doing the job you do what advice would you give and what resources might you recommend?
Read: The Nomadic Developer. “How To Ask Smart Questions”. InfoQ. StackOverflow.
Build a network.
Work on your soft skills – they matter *way* more than people think.
If you’re a good “”active listener””, are known as a good & positive, helpful person and have a good network, then any technical skill you need is just a couple of emails / calls / tweets away.
What’s the best thing about living and working in Cornwall?
The scenery, the space, the coast & the waves.