While working as a guitarist at a recording studio I happened to meet a professor from the University of Wolverhampton who in his spare time managed a rock band. His name is Professor Stephen Molyneux.
At the time I was wondering what my next move might be and following the suggestion of the Professor and the studio owner, Steve Welti, a superb musician, tennis pro and entrepreneur, I decided to pop along to the University for a chat.
Being a child of the 80s I'd always had a passion for computers and technology - I know most of the script for War Games.
Following a meeting with Professor Molyneux and a course leader from the school of languages I decided to embark on a 4 year (completed in 3 years) course at the university. It wasn't the technology or the swanky buildings at the brand new science park that won me over, it was the blend of poets, musicians, writers and artists that would be my colleagues for the next 3 years, my fellow students.
My degree course was without a doubt the most comprehensive multimedia course at the time - the focus being on communications and linguistics and not the technology - the technology just being a means to an end, a tool.
I remember being thrilled when I saw the list of courses that were available - this was to be no ordinary computer geek course. A list of the courses I would be studying were:
Graphic design, Multimedia programming, advanced English (syntax and semantics), psychology and perception, sound design, video production, project management and accounting, usability and human computer interaction, etc... (Jakob Nielsen, Ben Shneiderman , Nicholas Negroponte)
During my time at the college I funded my studies, accommodation, food, etc, by working as a programmer for the school of Biomedical Science and Physiology developing educational CD-ROM material for immunology students (I now know a lot about antibodies).
I completed the course in 1998, graduating with a 2:1 as a specialist (that's pretty good) and received an excellence award from Creative Labs Inc. for my work in 3D sound production for multimedia.
Following my graduation from university in June 1998 I set out to find a job. I'll never forget my first phone call to a recruiter. It went something along the lines of...
ME: 'Hi, I'm looking for a job'
ME 'Well I've just left college and I can do anything'
So I decided to write a CV, and specialise.
I applied for about 10 jobs that week using the limited resources of the local newspaper and to my disbelief actually landed a role at a small web design agency based near Ludlow in south Shropshire.
It's been a few years since I left college and I've worked on more contracts than I can count on all fingers and toes. The most wonderful thing about this industry is that there's always something new to learn, it's never boring.
At the end of my first 6 months in my first job I was struggling on a meager 12K (everybody does this I think - it's the equivalent of a multimedia paper round) - I took a call from an agent in London who told me about something called the Dot-Com craze that was sweeping the city.
He also told me that I could make a bit more money. I packed my bags and headed off to London.
I've been developing Flash applications in London for the last 17 years and in my time have managed to work for lots of different companies and industries.
These days I develop rich applications that run on desktops, set-top-boxes, phones or in a browser. I manage production teams and help to produce concepts and ideas. I like to think that I have a meticulous attention to detail and high level of accuracy, I'm well-organised and hard working. I'm a creative thinker and an excellent problem solver.
Even though Flash and ActionScript are my main skills I tend to always be experimenting with new ideas and technologies - just recently I have been building a 3D planetarium using a set of 3D libraries called Away3D.
I love working with data and data driven applications - my favourite role was with the oil and gas energy company BG Group who over a period of 18 months had me build a suite of applications in Flash that generated rich, stunning interfaces from geophysics and oil and gas production data overlaid onto a Google map embedded into an Adobe Air application.
I'm fascinated by user interface and user experience design and the way in which data is organised on devices.
I'd love to hear from you. Whether it's to talk about your project or just to say hello. Send me and email and say hello...