Originally I wanted to be an accountant. No seriously!!
I studied business and finance at college and that was when I realised… I really didn’t want to be an accountant. 🙂 However I did love working on computers, which was in actual fact not a huge surprise to me but I had never really considered that I could maybe make a career out of it. So I started working for a company producing MIS (Management Information Systems) software for various industries from breweries to TV companies. I was junior programmer / baby sitter / general dogs body but that was cool it was a foot in and gave me good experience. After that I decided I needed more knowledge and returned to college to study Business Information Technology. This course was designed to make me a middle man with a foot in both the technical and business worlds, which at the time knew even less about each other than they do now.
I then did a couple of stints for other MIS software houses both within the print industry. These roles gave me a huge amount of experience in customer service and dealing with clients face to face including trips to Austria to install systems for a major international printer. It was while working for the later of these organisations that I built my first website. Being the junior programmer I was tasked with creating this new fangled thing called a web site using a product called David from Tobit. It was template based and relied on text files broken down into chunks to create the final site but I loved every minute of it. An obsession was born.
Self employment & e-commerce
I decided to go it alone and make a go of this website lark. I set out on my own and built a couple of fairly good sites for back then (we’re talking back when frontpage was considered cutting edge) but being young and lacking the sales side of the process eventually I had to return to full time employment and pay those bills. After doing some temp work I then applied for a role at a company called Access Accounting Ltd (a company which has now grown into the Access Group) to work on their website product, essentially an add on for their SME accounts product which would eventually become an e-commerce product. I spent 4 years at Access as part of the special projects team and in that time become soley responsible for the design and development of the “Accessweb” product and was also involved in other projects including Flash demonsration suites and smart tag integration as part of their xml based reporting suite. However Accessweb was deemed to no longer be a priority and it sat on the shelf gathering dust until an Access dealer and I came up with a plan to revitalise it. With the consent of Access we took the product to his dealership and began the process of transforming into the beast it is today.
Software development or “Bridging the gap”
After 4 years at Access it was time to move on and attempt to make a £500 piece of software into a serious e-commerce suite capable of competing in a steadily tougher marketplace. As design and development manager at theITbridge Ltd it was my job to help drive the product forward and with the MD pull together the features we felt would make “Ko-Transact” as it was now called, into the complete package we knew it could be. We had a small but incredibly dedicated team and together we slowly turned a failing product into a fully integrated end-to-end e-commerce software suite. “Ko” (from the I-ching and meaning revolution) became a serious piece of software for both B2C (business to consumer) & even more so B2B (business to business) customers, selling on average for £15-25K. However all good things must come to an end, so after 6 years we parted company, I once again went solo and became a freelance developer again.
Going solo again, the freelance developer
After going freelance I worked on a number of interesting projects including a 6 month contract for the NHS working on a product for the PCT (Primary Care Trust) which helped track strategic initiatives within the organisation and report back on success rates, failures and reasons for failure etc. I also got involved in a long term project with an old friend which I’m sad to say I parted from after 2 years of dev work due to lack of funding. I understand he’s still working towards getting the project up and running and hopefully we’ll all be able to benefit from it when it’s live.
A Mile In Your Shoes
So there you have it, my career in a nutshell. What now? Well since Sept 2011 i’ve been involved in a new business partnership called AMIYS Solutions. We do web design & development, application development, consultation and even social media customisation. So far things are going well and the business is starting to build nicely.