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Interview with the British Computer Society

August 7, 2008

I was interviewed by the BCS today.

Transcript below:

Director of product development

Age: 30

Current employer: Actinic

Bagged this job by: I have been an admirer of Actinic for years, but spotted it on a recruitment website.

Other ways in: Get in contact. Nothing beats building a relationship with a company you want to work for.

Where to find similar jobs advertised: There are numerous job boards out there, but word of mouth and personal recommendation goes a long way. Get chatting to businesses direct, via email or social networks, everyone is on Twitter these days. Also, go to events that you know potential employers will be attending.

My advice is, get yourself out there and don’t rely on agencies.

Highs: I love the diversity of my role, one day I am dealing with cutting edge software tools, the next it’s business strategy and chatting to customers.

Lows: Unplugging, I do have difficulty and you need to find time for a life outside work.

Happiness rating out of 10: 9.5 – seriously, I am doing something I am passionate about. If you love what you do it helps through the challenging times.

Qualifications: I have been trying to complete an Open University Degree for more years than I care to remember. Apart from that I have a handful of engineering and electronics qualifications, HNCs / HNDs etc.

Further training: I have picked up a number of project management qualifications. I am a great advocate of Lean Six Sigma. In the old days as a hardcore developer I attended a few software courses. Anyone remember TCL? I think I have a qualification in that somewhere.
Path trodden:

1994 – 2000: I left school at 16 and jumped onto the BAE Systems apprenticeship scheme, training to become an electronic engineer. I ended up moving into software and specialised in web applications.

2000 – 2001: I had a brief stint with British Sky Broadcasting. I was part of a team that rolled out some major web software and infrastructure changes to Skysports.com. We were also developing some early content for interactive TV.

2001 – 2008: I moved to a company called Xyratex to head up the web team. I was responsible for all aspects of online browser delivered software, the online marketing effort and bespoke apps. Floating on the Nasdaq was a crazy rollercoaster.

2008 – Moved to Actinic

Career mantra: Make sure you’re doing something that you’re passionate about and that is true to your DNA. Also focus on the positives, things you’re good at. You rock at something – find it and make it even better.

Currently working on: Working on the latest version of our ecommerce software as well as planning and preparing future product releases.

I am spending a lot of time talking to customers and suppliers at the moment; it’s a great insight into how our software is transforming people’s businesses – that’s really exciting for me.

What I do: I am the product development director for Actinic. I am responsible for software development, quality assurance and third line support for all of our products and services.

Week at a glance: I work at home a couple of days on the Isle of Wight, but I like to spend one or two days a week in our main office. Communicating with my various teams is especially important as we are dispersed. The travelling also gives me plenty of reading time, essential for catching up and planning.

I chair and attend a number of weekly meetings so it’s important to find time to follow up on actions and commitments. The rest of it is strategy, planning and pushing the development of our products and services. It’s never dull.

I also dedicate a small part of the week to ‘submitting to the noise’ – emails, IM, Facebook, Twitter etc; dedicating some time to deal with it frees up the rest of the day.

It’s hugely important to realise great ideas come from a variety of sources. Sometimes we can get too heads-down and lose sight of the bigger picture. I update my blog, https://bendyer.wordpress.com/, although not frequently enough; and I spend time catching up on the latest industry and tech news.

Working hours: I am a bit of a workaholic, I confess. Getting that work / life balance correct can be tricky, especially when you work from home; but I try to keep to a realistic number of hours per week. It’s important to unplug and spend time with the family.

Options ahead: Well I can’t tell you the secret ingredients, but it’s an exciting time. Get in touch.

From → Personal, PR Activity

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