Who exactly am I?
Hi, I'm Kevin! I'm a technical lead and consultant based in the UK.
Since a young age I've always been interested in technology, science fiction and video games. When I was around 6 years old my father brought home our first computer: a Compaq 486DX complete with Windows 3.1!
Tinkering with the old machine I'd always find new and exciting ways of breaking it. I was obsessed with the DOS prompt and even bought a DOS for Dummies book to make sure I knew exactly how to use it and become a power-user from the 1980's.
Before I got my very own computer most of my free time was spent tinkering with my Sega Megadrive 2 (Sega Genesis) and becoming obsessed with Sonic the Hedgehog in the process.
Obsessed with Sonic the Hedgehog
At about 9 years old my brother bought me a computer of my own: a 166MHz pentium Packard Bell machine. Relentlessly, I would attempt to learn how to program, starting with QBasic and moving on to Borland C++. Mostly reading magazines such as PC Pro and PC Format.
After moving around quite a lot as a kid I eventually stayed the longest period of time in Bridlington. In my school, we didn't have proper IT facilities at the time. The closest we could get to IT lessons were Business Studies classes and obtaining secreterial qualifications such as the "European Computer Driving Licence" (which I did out of sheer boredom).
I took up other hobbies like playing the guitar or having an interest in foreign languages.
Because I couldn't choose any A levels that were relevant to my true interests, me and an alarming number of my friends decided to study Maths and Physics. I found physics both difficult and facinating at the same time.
I really should have studied Computer Science...
After passing my A levels I did what everybody else seemed to do at the time and that was to spend an awful lot of money going to university. Mostly, this was a fantastic way for me to escape pitureque but terribly boring town of Bridlington for the bright lights of Manchester
I decided to study Physics with Technological Physics -- which is essentially physics but with more focus on electronics and IT.
After my second year I did feel that I really should have studied computer science. I found physics interesting but it required all my focus to be succesful in it. At that time the distractions of the big city and business were looming.
Unwilling to subsist on beans on toast, I started my own small web development business to pay my way. This really took off and I seemed to spend more of my time working and improving this aspect of my skillset whilst my poor degree work withered and eventually faded away
Going off into the world
The mid 2000's were a hectic time for web development
After a chance meeting with esteemed and famed tv presenter Russell Grant, my business pivoted from just doing simple Drupal based sites for small businesses but instead to famous people and actors. I became immune to being starstruck because often I'd have household names calling me for my alleged wisdom as a computing guru! I completed websites for British celebs such as Aled Jones and Joe Pasquale.
To expand my business and really focus on it I made my first hire and rented a small office, slap bang in the center of Manchester. At this time I was frantically trying to keep up with the rapid pace of web development (the mid to late 2000's were a hectic time for web technology!) and learn how to run and keep afloat a business.
Going pro -- for real this time
With this business, I had at its peak around 20 clients. Mostly only really paying small payments. I found marketing to be a challenge and I despised (and still do) vomit inducing cringy marketing presentations or duplicitous SEO agencies that promise the world and deliever nothing.
I felt that I wanted a greater challenge and break into the world where the big kids play. So I wound down the business and took a contract working as a Drupal developer for TalkTalk.
At the time TalkTalk were just starting to take advantage of open source software, still with the scepticism that most corporate entities have but still with an open mind and a passion for rapid development. I spent a month helping to build their help and support site and just before I reached the end of my contract I was asked if I'd like to replace their lead developer (who was leaving when I joined) and I said yes.
9-5 Corporate life
Working at TalkTalk was my first proper adult job, despite having part time work when I was a teenager such as a party entertainer at McDonalds this was quite an experience for me as I'm used to making my own hours and always lived by the philosophy: "If you don't work you don't eat". Getting paid a salary with holiday pay was quite a novelty!
I stayed with TalkTalk for about 18 months, forging new contacts at web development giants such as Acquia. I went back into contracting and back to no longer getting paid to lie on a beach.
Well I was working in medcomms
My next adventure brought me to sunny Macclesfield where I started working on hush hush projects for a company that changed its name more times than I changed the bulbs in my house. They were based all around new and exciting drugs and medical implements. I'd go into more detail on them but alas, most of it was rather super secret stuff (sounds more interesting than it it, I promise).
I worked here for around 4 years as a contractor and I gained a fair amount of stability with being able to finally buy a house of my own, eventually I left because I once again felt the call of the great unknown and wanted to go out on my own
Another office of my own again
I spent another year developing Drutek and getting clients for it, I also attempted some experimental work with bitcoin trading bots and attempting to learn machine learning in order to train a trading bot.
It was in this time that I managed to be my most productive with learning new skills and opening up future pathways for better personal and career development, such as experimenting with radical (at the time) front end technologies.
The next generation
I was called by a recruiter who, even though I told them I didn't want to go back into contracting, she convinced me to look into this intriguing new piece of work for an agency based in Chichester. It was fully remote and before you know it I was working in medcomms again. This time however for only one end client, Pfizer
The original scope of the work was to be a front end Drupal developer. However, by that time I felt that I wanted to experiment more. Luckily, Pfizer felt the same and they empowered me to look into Web Components and ways of enhancing digital content
Design System and Technical Leadership
I was promoted to tech lead for the new design system that Pfizer were making. Receving consultancy myself from some of the biggest names in the web I believe I helped make it a success.
This brings us up to the current day!