I love building software solutions and am passionate about building successful, cohesive and self-organising development teams.
Born and raised in a rural town in South Africa. I cut my “software development” teeth in my pre-teens by creating a directory navigation menu that displayed when my 286 fired up. Bat files leveraging dos commands were all the rage. The moment the menu displayed for the first time, I knew what I wanted to do with my life.
If only I’d thought of building a social networking platform that allowed me to poke a complete stranger in the hope that they would become my friend… ce la vie.
Then just when I thought I’d gotten rid of my command prompt, my hard drive died (I’ll never forget my first!). The new one arrived about 2 months after placing the order and it was a HUGE 20mb! My teens were mostly spent building, customising and fixing family, friends and my own PC’s. Come to think of it, a certain amount of my time is still being spent on building, customising and fixing family, friends and my own PC’s.
After high school, I went on to complete a diploma in Business Information Systems which gave me my first real taste of coding.
The first two years were spent learning COBOL and C++, coding in plain text with no IDE, all the while trying my best to implement Object Orientation and other buzz concepts. In the third year I got my first taste of an IDE with what was called an Object Orientated language… Visual Basic 6. Whether it was truly Object Orientated or simply taking a small step in the right direction is a debate for another day.
There were also the plethora of other subjects and certifications on the way but, for me, only the code ever really mattered.
In 2002, I entered the job market and gained some valuable career, management and leadership experience with my first employer.
Unfortunately, none of the experience was in IT. So 3 years on, I left that employer and, with my beautiful wife, established a business that specialised in the design and development of interactive software and hardware solutions for the advertising, marketing and eventing industries.
I was finally living my passion.
6 years later, the global economies were in turmoil as a result of the sub-prime collapse in the US. Advertising, marketing and eventing budgets were cut and we eventually had to close our business and re-enter the job market.
This time however, I was adamant to find work as an Enterprise Software Developer and I had one major pre-requisite.
I wanted to work for an employer where I’d never get bored.
In South Africa, all employment is handled through employment agencies. So, after spluttering out the well practiced lines on my desires and the pre-requisite, the consultant looked me in the eye and said, “I know exactly where to send you”.
And that’s how, in 2013, I joined a Software Development Consultancy called BBD.
If you, like I did at the time, are thinking… Who is BBD? Then please check them out and see why I and about 500 other employees consistently voted them one the best employers in South Africa.
I loved every moment with BBD and will forever look back on those days with fond memories. In the 4 years that I was with BBD, I learned what high pressure enterprise development really was. With all credit due to the seniors and mentors that I encountered in my first years with BBD, I managed to advance relatively quickly and my last year there was spent leading and working along-side a great bunch of highly skilled people. Many of my first posts will be based on my experiences at BBD.
In 2016, my wife and I decided that we should broaden our horizon’s and relocate to Germany. The skills and experience gained while at BBD, allowed me to introduce myself to several potential employers in Germany.
In February 2017, I joined Avanade in Frankfurt am Main where I ended up doing, mostly, Architectural reviews but no team lead, agile or software development related work. This lead me to search for other opportunities that were more in line with my interests.
In May 2017, I joined Elsevier as the Software Engineering Lead for one of Elsevier’s highly successful products called Reaxys. It is exciting to be part of a company that has embraced the cloud and technology at it’s core. We work on exciting projects, using exciting technologies with highly skilled teams across the globe. I am now enjoying my career and growth again and look forward to the many challenges and experiences that lie ahead at Elsevier.
A brief timeline of my hardware and software…
1986 to 1996: MS-Dos – Floppy disks – 286 – Monochrome monitor
1996 to 2002: Win 95 – 1.44mb Stiffy disks – 486 with Turbo button – VGA monitor
1997 to 1999: 28.8kbps Dial Up
1999 to 2007: 56kbps Dial Up
2002 to 2011: Windows XP – Compact Disks (CD’s) – Pentium II through Celeron Core 2 Duo – SVGA monitor through to XGA LCD monitor
2011 to 2016: Windows 7 – DVD’s – Dual Core’s through to Core i5’s – Full HD LED LCD monitor
2007 to 2008: 1mbps ADSL
2008 to 2010: 4mbps ADSL
2010 to 2017: 10mbps ADSL
2016 to date: Windows 10 – DVD’s and BD’s – Core i5 750’s through to Core i5 6600’s – 4K OLED monitor
2017 to date: 50mbps ADSL