Saturday 4 September 2010

A Tiny Bit About Me

A Human Stack Trace
Just for the sake of some context, here's my story.

Although born in the UK, I now reside and work in Melbourne, Australia - a thriving megatropolis with almost 4 million residents. Melbourne is Australia's second-largest city, after its arch-rival Sydney, and boasts a healthy IT sector, primarily in "the usual suspects" - banking, insurance, utilities, you know, that old chestnut.

I kicked off my career writing C and C++ for a very large, very well known IT multinational out in the suburbs. While this taught me lots about working in large codebases and using source control (we were on Rational ClearCase), after 3 years I moved down the road to a startup working on vehicle tracking.

Because I'd been working in communications testing, I was asked to develop the communications stack for an embedded device, allowing it to send GPS co-ordinates over GPRS and through the internet to a C# server-side listener (.NET version 1.0!) - which I also wrote.
As far as I know, my code (both client- and server-side) is still running faithfully some 6 years later. Who knows how many UDP/IP datagrams I have "fathered" in that time!
I'm keeping these companies anonymous at this stage, although given time I may write longer entries about some of these workplaces. We'll just have to see how libellous they turn out!

After a couple of years of hectic multi-hat-wearing startup antics, I switched to full-corporate suit mode for a few years, and came back to Java for the first time since my university days. Java had grown up a great deal since my last experiences writing applets in vi under JDK 1.2; working on Java 5 through the NetBeans IDE and deploying WAR files to Tomcat 4.1 was mind-blowingly awesome. Some might even say "insanely great". I was hooked.

Between 2006 and 2009 I was lucky enough to work in the UK, an experience that I greatly enjoyed. During my 3 years there I worked at three very different companies, but the common thread was that all were small startup-style companies, doing interesting, decidedly non-traditional work. And since returning to Melbourne as an independent contractor, I have sought out more of the same.

My career so far has very much been driven by my constant desire to keep learning new things. Typically this has meant moving jobs every few years, if not more frequently. While this might scare a lot of people, I feel that in software development we are lucky in that there will always be a need for avid learners, and that as candidates they stand out. By reading this blog, you're showing yourself to be an avid learner too. Nice job!

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