Until university, I never wanted to be a software developer. I had no idea what I wanted to do but took a chance at a Computer Science degree because I liked maths, computers and technology in general.
In 2012, I started a Computer Science degree at the University of Leeds and experienced programming for the first time. Within weeks I had caught the bug and knew I wanted to pursue a career as a software developer.
In the summer between my first and second year, I completed an internship with X-Lab Ltd as a junior software developer. I worked on a web application for a local NHS Trust learning many new technologies such as .NET Framework, C# and web libraries like jQuery and Handlebars.
I continued working at X-Lab part-time during my second year. While continuing my studies, I moved on to a project called QTool, gaining valuable experience in developing mobile-friendly web applications/websites.
My degree contained a work placement year between my second and final year of study. For my placement, I left X-Lab and moved down to Southampton to work for IBM in Hursley.
At IBM, I joined the security team for IBM MQ. I worked on testing aspects of LDAP authentication and authorisation. While at IBM, I gained exposure to the Perl programming language and also had the opportunity to contribute to numerous internal projects.
During my placement year, I became a STEM ambassador and taught Computer Science at a local primary school. I assisted at IBM organised event days for local schools, inspiring children to take an interest in technology.
After my placement year, I moved back to Leeds to complete my final year of university. I was approached by X-Lab, wanting me to re-join X-Lab while I completed my studies. I worked on a new UI for one of X-Lab's products, gaining experience of Web API frontends alongside Knockout & Knockback web libraries.
In 2016 I graduated with a first-class degree in Computer Science with Industry. I also won the BSC Final year project prize, awarded for demonstrating outstanding professional and industrial awareness in my project.
I was fortunate to have job offers from both X-Lab and IBM when I graduated. I joined X-Lab full-time in June 2016 and immediately worked on X-Lab's leading product NPEx.
I implemented SonarQube into the development pipeline at X-Lab. It provides static code analysis across all products, giving feedback on code changes within a pull request and improving the development and code review experience.
In early 2017 I joined the Nutritools project alongside working on NPEx.
In 2018, I took over as the lead on the Nutritools project. Later in the year, I also took on a new role as a line manager for a newly recruited software developer.
I created a plugin that integrated X-Lab's development and CI tools. The plugin sends the TeamCity build status to Phabricator code reviews. I also built a custom plugin that sent SonarQube analysis results to Phabricator decorating code reviews with inline comments of the linting suggestions SonarQube raised. The TeamCity Plugin awards 2019 shortlisted my Teamcity & Phabricator plugin.
Away from my technical responsibilities, I coordinated the recruitment for several positions X-Lab. I worked closely with universities, organising recruitment presentations and attending career fairs in a drive to expand our team.
In the latter half of 2019, I spent most of the year working with Infrastructure as Code and DevOps tooling. I led a proof of concept project to explore the transition of moving our products from on-premise infrastructure to the cloud. The project used Terraform to provision cloud infrastructure on Azure.
2020 was a hectic year. I started the year leading a team to architect, plan and execute a move of NPEx to the cloud following on from a successful proof of concept the year before. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, X-Lab paused the cloud migration to assist the NHS efforts responding to the pandemic.
NHS England and NHSX mandated the use of NPEx for COVID-19 testing to speed up COVID-19 testing turn around times and assist in COVID reporting to NHS organisations. One of the first things I did during the early stages of the pandemic was to work with NHS Trusts to onboard their laboratories to NPEx building interfaces to consume their nuanced HL7 message formats.
During the summer, I worked with NHS Digital to connect NPEx to their Personal Demographics Service to look up and verify up a patient's NHS Number and retrieve their GP Practice enriching the result. The enriched patient information allowed for downstream parties to update the patient's GP records.
In August, my team and I resumed our cloud migration project with the new objective of getting a platform ready specifically for the NHS's COVID-19 testing program. We launched the cloud pandemic platform in October on Azure.
During the latter part of the year, I worked with my team on performance and scaling improvements in conjunction with partnering NHS organisations towards meeting the increased testing capacity outlined by the government and NHS bodies.