I’ve never really settled on a career. Yes I’ve been doing roughly the same thing and increasing levels of seniority since I graduated from university 11 years ago, but it’s not like I planned any of it.
I have, to all intents and purposes, been living off the fact that between the ages of 18 – 23 I did nothing but play about with computers for an unsociably large amount of time. Ever since then I’ve just been putting in the minimal amount of effort to keep my knowledge topped up and stumbling from job to job making it sound like I know what I am talking about.
When ever I give a presentation I aways feel like I could have done it better. Mainly because I know if I’d had done a bit more preparation, or actually thought about the topic more methodically I might have made more sense, but also because I know I will never be hitting the heights of the TED talkers.
What stuck me is that i never talk about what has happened since, I’ve gone very quite on the Job front, and I’m not entirely sure why – probably because I was worried people would find me out to be a nutter – well that ship has sailed so lets talk about my current job.
Kevin Jump – Technical Director, LDL Web Services
Now that’s a grand job title isn’t it? it’s not quite as good as the one I like to pretend I have ‘Chief Digital Overlord’ but it will do – So what’s the job about, well it’s not a million miles away from what wikipedia says it’s about I provide direct technical strategy and stuff for web things.
I would like to be a thought of a bit broader than just Web. I’m currently on a bit of a crusade to drop Web from the team name – but we can’t just be called services can we?
On the staffing side, the bit of the service i look after has 15 people in it – I directly manage five of them with three of them managing the rest (look you’re not getting the org chart – just a summary!) – I use to manage loads more, but we split it up – the theory being i get more time to actually do strategy and less holidays and sickness.
So yes I’ve left my developer roots behind, I honestly can’t remember the last time I opened visual studio in vain, but I have poked about in other things but only to cover not as a day job. I don’t look at lines of code anymore I stand back away from the screen and say “there’s two much blue” or “it looks a bit to indenty for me” but mainly people just close the windows down before I get to their desks.
The more observant amongst you will have noticed that when i left JMU I didn’t go for a technical director job, I came to a Web Developer Job, so how did I get here?
Kevin Jump – (Senior) Web Developer – 6 months
I started with the web developer role, writing code – and boy did I churn some out, mainly back end managementy stuff – but there was lots – it was quite a culture shock to be honest – It turns out I had been coasting at JMU getting quick lax deadlines – floating about for a bit then cramming to hit the deadline – at LDL there was a lot less floating and a lot more cramming. then my then boss left – which meant there was a Development Manager role going – Now cunnigly just before that I had got myself on the Leadership course, so I was being groomed – and when the job came up I went for it – and did rather well at interview I thought.
Kevin Jump – Web Development Manager – 12 months
The Development manager job was a bit of a baptism of fire – the team had been growing, we had lots of projects that where handed to us from other departments with pre-set deadlines, oh and after three months in the job the head of service left (did do a month of being head of service for a while) ! It took a while and left not fool ourselves I still work for a large organisation so change wasn’t quick. but I think we made life better.
Only problem by the end of it (with a new head of service – I wasn’t that ambitious!) I had 13 staff to manage which is way to many and I was getting bogged down with people management – so we introduced a new level so other people who could focus on it better could manage in the specialist areas – this meant we effectively created a development Manager post below me – so i needed a new job title and i bit of a better defined role.
So here we are – I direct things technically for web – if you need to know more – you can but ask.
one of the many perks of not working in a university any more, is a proper recognition that you can work from home when you job is just looking at a pooter all day. Of course a lot of that may be down to me telling people to work from home, but you know it all still means the same thing.
I can sit at my nice big desk, with the windows wide open, and almost no disruption. We’ve got a bit of a resourcing issue at work at the moment; namely we have loads to do, and not enough people to do it. So it’s drastic action time as I am coding – hence the whole at homeness of it all.
One thing about working from home is you can get into the zone. I’m sure you all have your different zones, with programming it is said it takes 15 minutes to get into the zone and only 10seconds to get pulled out of it again, So sitting alone is a good way to go if you want to get something done; it’s a lousy way to go if you want to talk to anyone, or not get a bad back.
That’s why today I made sure I took lunch. If I was in work, i reasoned, I would take a break and go for a walk to clear some space in my head. It’s just when you are home it’s a much nicer walk 🙂 – I went to greenbank park, and I took my camera.
I did get quite a lot of work done too. mainly through the process of ignoring my email. I’m a bit scared to look actually.