The Early Years
Born in Sheffield, England I spent most of my youth living in a quiet farming village called Penistone. Just outside Sheffield, Penistone offered the polar opposite. Sheffield, one of England's cities, used to be one of the greatest steel manufacturers of the world. 20/30 years ago all the best cutlery was produced in Sheffield although by the time I came along the industry had dried up and the city had begun to die. By contrast, Penistone was ever growing. More and more people were moving to the quiet village and its surrounding areas. Living in the very rural area allowed me to experience the safety and quietness that many people have never had. I spent most of my primary education in this area, like most, attending the Penistone Grammar School and its Sixth Form College.
When it came time for University I decided to not stray far from home. My parents were both Methodist Ministers at the time, and they would be moving to take up new positions, but I decided that I wanted to carry on my Secondary Education in the relative calm of Yorkshire, rather than do as many of my friends were and move to some of the big cities. Studying at the University of Huddersfield was a great experience. The smaller class sizes allowed me to get more access to the Professors which in turn allowed me to finish the degree in 3 years, rather than 4. Graduating with Computer Science BSc (Hons) I was ready to make my big step into the world of web development.
The Big Move
From an early age, as early as 9, I had always wanted to live in America. During my schooling and college career, everything I did in some way was to help me achieve a life in America. After University I hit the same issue that many people who wish to work in other countries come across. You can't get a job without a visa and you can't get a visa without a job. Luckily I was able to get an Internship with a web development company in Long Island, New York. I was to spend 18 months learning ColdFusion and creating web sites. 1 week after getting the Internship I was flying to the Big Apple. The culture shock was not as big as it would be for most as I had spent my life looking forward to this move. The only shock I had was the size of my first apartment. Not having anywhere to stay for a long period of time meant that I needed somewhere to live after the first week of my life in America. Everyone has the horror story of their first apartment, and I am no different. I had to take the first apartment that I saw, which happened to be probably one of the smallest basement apartments in existence. The apartment was so small that my bed was a futon from Ikea. It was so small that I didn't have enough room to open the futon into a bed! However, even though my first few apartments were the kind of apartments you may read about in a Stephen King novel, they allowed me to appreciate my current apartment, which in comparison is a mansion.
My internship was with Big Buzz. During my time with them I learnt the basic skills of ColdFusion as well as developed my web development skills. Staying on after my internship ended I continued to develop web sites and focused mostly on my passion of e-Commerce. After a few years of working with Big Buzz I felt the urge for change. I was offered a position of Director of Technology for a Who's Who company. The move was not one of my smartest decisions. 9 months after I started the position I was moving again. I needed to get back to the web development environment. The position itself involved managing and working on a single web site. The environment was not helping me gain the knowledge I needed to improve so I desperately needed to change environments. From this position I moved to a developer position at Nylon Technology in Manhattan, New York. The web developer position brought me back to the environment that I needed. I was back creating web sites in ColdFusion and learning new skills from the team of developers that I worked with. Not only was I creating some of the best applications that I had ever created, I was working with some amazing minds who were able to teach me a lot. I am one of the people who can claim to have know Ben Nadel before he became the popular blogger he is today. After 4 years with Nylon I had accomplished many things. I had successfully progressed from the position of Developer to Senior Developer /Team Lead, I had worked on a number of high profile web sites and I had successfully gotten all the developers in the company ColdFusion certified. I had reached a point where I felt I had done all there was to do with that position and that it was time to move on. From Nylon I moved to Senior Web Developer position for IQPC. IQPC offered me the chance to still develop ColdFusion but also to develop in Flex and other new technologies that I had learnt over the years. The fast paced environment that works tightly with the marketing department was a great lure for me and the product being sold was something I knew I could believe in.
I am currently still working with IQPC. I am a regular attendee at the NYCFUG and NYFLEX meetings and will be attending some of the conferences held throughout the year. My hope is that once I have gained a good understanding of Flex and AIR that I will be able to help others to develop their skills and help them see the endless possibilities that these technologies have to offer them. A development language with a good community and good support will yield the best applications. I am on my journey to gain more knowledge, a journey that will never end. I just hope I brought enough snacks.
ColdFusion, Flex, AIR, PHP, ASP, .Net
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