Curriculum Vitae

Dates:
October 2004 – July 2007
University:
Imperial College London
Course:
BEng Computing
Result:
First-Class Honours
Dates:
October 2004 – July 2007
Company:
Wizbit Internet Services
Sector:
Web Development and Hosting
Technologies:
Linux, qmail, Apache, BIND, Python, PHP, JavaScript
Description:

While at university, I worked part-time as a developer and sysadmin for a web development and hosting company. I worked remotely while being on-call to visit the data centre in person.

Responsibilities:
My primary responsibility was as an on-call engineer debugging and fixing operational issues with the servers.
Reason for leaving:
I graduated from university and wanted a full-time software engineering job.
Dates:
July 2007 – April 2008
Company:
FactSet Research Systems
Sector:
Financial Data
Technologies:
Perl, C++
Description:

I worked in the International Investment Management department, collecting data on European stock markets. This mostly involved writing Perl scripts to munge data from a variety of poorly defined and variable input formats then load them into FactSet’s proprietary time-series database. Some of the data processors, and the database itself, were implemented in C++.

Responsibilities:
My role included regular on-call duties to fix failures to ingest stock market data at 3am. I had no leadership responsibilities.
Reason for leaving:

I did not find this role technically challenging. The people were very friendly and I had an excellent manager (who later went on to better things) but the work did not challenge me.

Dates:
April 2008 – November 2012
Company:
Maxeler Technologies
Sector:
High-Performance Computing
Technologies:
C, C++, FPGA
Description:

Maxeler designed and sold hardware accelerators: PCIe cards with one or two FPGAs and a lot of DRAM, which were used to perform numerical computations very quickly. We were a small startup — I think I was the 7th employee — and our main competitors were NVIDIA, who were trying to do the same thing with GPU-based accelerators, and Intel, who were trying to convince people to stick with CPUs (while also experimenting with the Xeon Phi). In the end, we lost — GPUs are the standard in High-Performance Computing today — but it was an exciting time and we came pretty close to redefining how HPC is done!

My primary role was as an applications engineer, which entailed profiling applications, identifying candidates for acceleration, porting them to our hardware platform, and optimizing the result. However, we were a small company so we all did at least some work at every level of the stack: I also worked on our compiler, wrote the first version of our runtime, and developed our kernel driver. At one point, I spent some time sanding heat sinks.

After 18 months, I moved from London to San Francisco to help set up our new Californian office. I worked on-site with customers, embedded in their own teams, and worked remotely with the London office.

These are some publications related to my work:

Responsibilities:
While in California, I mostly managed myself. I communicated with the team back in London primarily by email, with the occasional phone call when our working hours overlapped in the morning. I had great autonomy — and direct contact with our customers — but no responsibility for managing others.
Reason for leaving:
While in California, my first child was born. We wanted to return to the UK to be closer to family but did not want to return to London. So I looked for a software engineering job outside London.
Dates:
November 2012 – August 2014
Company:
Dyson
Sector:
Robotics
Technologies:
C++, Embedded Linux, ARM
Description:

I worked on the Dyson 360 Eye robotic vacuum cleaner. This contained an OMAP 3 processor running Linux, with most of the robot’s behaviour controlled by a C++ application.

One of my main contributions was performance optimization, which included:

However, I also worked on other parts of the application:

Responsibilities:
Besides joining the rest of the team in sprint planning sessions, I had no specific leadership or management responsibilities.
Reason for leaving:
Although I enjoyed the technical side of work at Dyson — robotics is interesting and fun — I did not get on well with the culture there. After a while, I couldn’t tolerate it any longer and looked for somewhere else to work.
Dates:
August 2014 – January 2017
Company:
BAE Systems Applied Intelligence
Sector:
Secure Networking
Technologies:
C++, Linux
Description:

I worked on cross domain products, which are highly-secure network gateways and firewalls. I worked on both classified projects for the UK government and on a commercial product.

The commercial product was IndustrialProtect, a system to allow secure networking for industrial control systems. This was used to protect power plants, oil refineries, and similar Critical National Infrastructure from cyber-attacks.

The work involved writing networking components, mostly in C++, that ran on custom hardware with stringent reliability and performance constraints.

Responsibilities:
After about a year, I became a “Technical Lead”, and so became responsible for the full technical lifecycle of a product, from requirements gathering to release planning. This included leading small teams of software engineers.
Reason for leaving:
The commute to and from work was quite onerous: I left home early in the morning and returned home past my children’s bedtime. Meanwhile, Dyson — who were based only five minutes’ walk from my house at the time — were asking me to return to work for them in their robotics research department. I couldn’t pass up the chance to work near home again and see more of my children.
Dates:
January 2017 – October 2018
Company:
Dyson
Sector:
Robotics
Technologies:
C++, Python
Description:

I worked in a robotics research team, implementing computer vision and machine learning algorithms on heterogeneous embedded processors.

My main role was to take research prototypes, which were typically developed on high-powered desktops, often in a high-level language such as MATLAB, and implement them efficiently on a low-powered embedded processor.

As part of this role, I evaluated potential processors and hardware platforms. I also acted as a liaison with PhD students at the Dyson Robotics Lab at Imperial College.

Responsibilities:
I was the line manager for one other software engineer on my team.
Reason for leaving:

It became apparent that my role as a software engineer within “upstream research” was superfluous: my researcher colleagues were, quite reasonably, not willing to be constrained by practical engineering requirements when working on proof-of-concept prototypes.

Unfortunately, politics within the company prevented the development of anything beyond a proof-of-concept: the “upstream research” team was entirely separate from the “product development” team and the relationship between the two was not collaborative.

After some time trying to find a solution to the political issues without success, I burned out.

Dates:
November 2018 – December 2020
Company:
Gower Street Analytics
Sector:
Data Science
Technologies:
Clojure, Go, Python, Docker, Terraform, AWS
Description:

Gower Street is a data analytics company in the film industry. Their primary product is a simulation of the global box office, which their analysts use to predict how much revenue films will make in different markets.

The software team performed four main tasks:

Our services ran using Docker Swarm on some AWS EC2 nodes, all managed with Terraform.

We used a variety of different programming languages, mainly for legacy reasons, including Clojure for the web app, Go for ETL, and Python for data science models.

Responsibilities:
After a year, I was promoted to “Head of Software Development”, which made me the manager of the whole software team, reporting directly to the CTO.
Reason for leaving:

When every cinema on the planet closed in 2020 due to the COVID‑19 pandemic, our CEO told us that the company had no money and could not afford to pay us for the month we had just worked.

Dates:
January 2021 – November 2021
Company:
eporta
Sector:
E-commerce
Technologies:
Python, Node.js, Next.js, AWS
Description:

eporta provided an online B2B marketplace and shops for the interior design industry.

The marketplace was the original product, implemented using Django. The online shops were the result of a pandemic-induced pivot and were built using Node.js and Serverless for a backend API with Next.js for the frontend.

Though not the most technically-exciting work, eporta was an excellent company for product development. We worked in small product teams: each team contained software engineers, designers, and product managers. We had regular contact with our customers, including face-to-face sessions most weeks, and very fast development iterations. The whole company worked together on product discovery, using opportunity solution trees. I learned what MVP really means!

Responsibilities:
I was hired as a team lead in the expectation that the company would continue to grow. I was therefore nominally a “Lead Software Engineer”. However, the company was bought before it grew large enough for me to have my own team to lead.
Reason for leaving:
The company was acquihired by Shopify.
Dates:
November 2021 – February 2022
Company:
Shopify
Sector:
E-commerce
Technologies:
Ruby on Rails
Description:

Shopify is a multi-billion-dollar e-commerce company, providing online stores, payments, marketing, point-of-sale systems and more.

I joined Shopify via the acquihire of eporta. By the time I left, they still hadn’t worked out what to do with all the eporta software engineers they had acquired.

Reason for leaving:

While at eporta, I worked a 4-day week and used the 5th day to study for a university degree. Shopify were not willing to let me work less than 5 days per week.

I did not want to cause problems during the acquisition so I accepted Shopify’s terms. However, I made clear to my CTO and CEO, and to Shopify HR, that I was not willing to give up my university degree halfway through it. I really needed a day a week for studying.

Shopify insisted that I couldn’t work less than 5 days per week, so I looked for an employer who would let me finish my degree.

Dates:
February 2022 – Present
Company:
BAE Systems Digital Intelligence
Sector:
Cyber Security
Technologies:
C, C++, Python, Ghidra
Description:

I joined the Operational Cyber team. This role involves vulnerability research — reverse engineering and 0-day research — and high-assurance software engineering.

Responsibilities:
I am a “Technical Lead”, which means that I lead small teams of software engineers and researchers. I am a technical contact for our customers and am responsible for delivering project results. I am also currently the line manager for one other senior engineer.