My career started back in 1999 when I started working part-time for Emap Active whilst studying for my A-levels. I was working on a digital photography magazine called Digital Photo FX. They employed me for technical support, but also to check the consistency of several tutorials featured in the magazine. Photoshop was becoming the industry standard back then, so the majority of tutorials were Photoshop techniques. Subsequently, this gave me a great understanding and after two years, I knew the program inside out. So I guess you could say this was an apprenticeship in design and digital photography, which would later prove quite useful and cast an influence on my career direction.
I first learnt to program on a Spectrum ZX at about the age of 11, and knew it was what I wanted to do. After studying some Computer Science at Sheffield University, and having touched on website coding working my summers with Coca Cola, I knew I wanted to combine programming with the design skills I’d previously learned. I decided “The Web” was my best bet, so started a Certificate in Web Applications at the Open University. The course consisted of 6 different modules from client side to server side code, databases and web server performance and gave me the basic skills I needed to start my first job as a web developer.
Flash really interested me, so I decided to pursue it further and headed for the bright lights of London. I started freelancing as a Flash developer in 2008, mainly working with advertising agencies, but also with a couple of educational publishers producing e-learning materials. I also continued with general web development outside of contract roles working on private projects. I formed a company, Rostron Software Ltd in 2010 and partnered with designers and marketers to provide full website building services, whilst continuing Flash contract roles within London. I spent the next few years working for a range of companies from start-ups to large corporates in industries including advertising, publishing, gaming and media.
With the increasing popularity in mobile and tablet applications and Apple’s refusal to support Flash, I thought it wise to diversify and learn new technologies. In 2012 I moved into mobile, producing my first app for Channel 4 using Adobe AIR. I also spent time upgrading my HTML skills to learn of new features in HTML5 and CSS3 and applying these with contract roles working on a Sales Presenter for Volvo and a competition for JackpotJoy called Quickity Pick. In 2013, after completing a course in iOS and Objective C, I built my first native iOS app.
Below are a few of the skills that I use frequently, and the associated skill level.
One of my biggest passions in life is travelling, exploring new places, different cultures meeting new people. I’m fortunate in that being a freelancer provides me with the flexibility to do this.
I first started travelling whilst studying with the Open University in 2004. The fact that all course materials are online meant that location was not important. I spent time in Australia, South East Asia and France for a ski season in Morzine. It was here that my obsession with skiing began, whilst working as a driver for a small hotel collecting and dropping off clients at Geneva airport. Since then I’ve taken time out every year to spend time in the mountains.
In 2008 I spent time in Morrocco & Egypt, gaining a PADI Divemaster qualification in the Red Sea resort of Dahab. In 2009 much of my work was home-based so decided to relocate to Verbier in Switzerland for the winter months. I continued to do this for next 2 years whilst working remotely for UK clients. In 2012 I completed a CSIA Ski Instructor qualification on the west coast of Canada.
In March of 2013, I moved into Arlesey in Bedfordshire. I continue to take out as much time out as possible to enjoy my passions of skiing, mountaineering, scuba diving and travelling.