How I got here...

My journey into web and software development was not what you'd call “typical”. HTML was introduced to me during my bachelor's degree in Communication Studies at Auckland University of Technology (AUT), circa 2000.

I became Web Co-ordinator in the Humanities faculty at the same university in 2011, which gave me some web development opportunities, back when jQuery was all the rage and web layouts were a bunch of floating and absolute positioned divs.

Each year AUT would pay for me to head down to Wellington for the annual  Webstock  conference. Meeting highly respected people in the web industry inspired me to learn CSS to a high level and I promptly began using my new found knowledge to make WordPress websites for local businesses and AUT academics.

Fast forward to 2017. Not satisfied with my marketing career direction, I made the jump to learning the programming side of the web (JavaScript and React). To be honest, I'm not sure how I survived all these years without programming skills!

My big break

When the 2020 Covid lockdowns arrived in New Zealand, I was in full React and frontend immersion mode. Later that year, I joined motion capture tech company StretchSense  as a Digital Marketing assistant.

Fortunately, I was able to move out of that role a year later and into the Software Team. It seems the Software Lead saw enough promise in my lockdown React “doodles” that he entrusted me with the frontend duties in a rebuild of the company's flagship software — Hand Engine. This was the “lucky” break I was looking for.

“Luck is when opportunity and preparedness meet”

Shipping off to the UK

2022 saw my wife and I finally realise our dream of moving to the UK. My wife grew up in Birmingham (she was in the room when Duran Duran played their first gig!)

For me, it was a big step moving away from all my friends and family, but I was and am excited about living on this side of the world. I have been fortunate to get a developer role, thrive in it and work the entire time it took for us to move into a house (all 9 months of it!)

What's next? More Next.js I hope! This blog is built with Next.js 14 and Tailwind. I enjoyed the development process so much that I'd like to follow the rabbit hole and do this fulltime. Frontend is definitely my “wheelhouse”, however, my curiosity extends to Node.js, REST API development and GraphQL. Web and software development definitely is a “pick your own path” deal and I'm happy to be forging my own identity using React, Next.js and the wider ecosystem.