About

Hello, my name is Chris. I am a software engineer and Pluralsight author, who has been variously employed as a DevOps Engineer, Developer, Data Engineer and Infrastructure Analyst. I have extensively studied Cyber Security and hold an MSc in Computing from Cardiff University in the UK.

Current Interests

All things Python, serverless applications and software defined perimeters (SDP). Recently I built a customer portal using Django, that interfaces with an industry specific delivery tool I also built.

Personal Brand

I’ve built a career being a technical leader who brings a broad knowledge, other people and their experience together to solve a problem. I’m simultaneously someone who can acquire specialist understanding, and translate it to audiences of differing technical ability.

Background

I began solving data problems during my undergraduate degree (2009-2012) and in my first job as a data analyst (2012-2013). I automated a six day per week job down to two days, reclaimed my evenings and spent the other three days searching for somewhere that would teach me to code.

I found that place in a government body, where I worked for four years as a Data and Infrastructure Analyst (2013-2017). My specializations were SAS and SQL on Windows but I was also the interface between the analytical department and IT, because I had knowledge from both worlds. Throughout most of this period I was sponsored for a part-time MSc in Computing (2014-2017). My MSc project was a proof of concept, that focused on finding a suitable Machine Learning algorithm for a task. You can read my final report, which led to me graduating with Distinction, here.

For 10 weeks at the beginning of 2017, I was part of the HMG SANS Cyber Retraining Academy in London; an intensive, government sponsored cyber security course. From thousands who applied, the course took just over 50 people through 4 separate SANS courses and 2 certifications (GSEC & GCIH).

Between Sep 2017 - June 2018, I worked for a SaaS company that collected and analyzed swathes of internet data. They hired me as a DevOps engineer with Data focus. Mainly I was working on automating the deployment of Kafka clusters and creating a systems monitoring solution.

In June 2018 my partner and I moved our lives to Toronto, from Bristol in the UK. The first place I worked in Canada was the “labs” arm of an Indian Fintech company solving deployment, configuration and security problems.

Between March 2019 and March 2021 I worked in a team of four software engineers at a company in the Electronic Design Automation (EDA) industry. We worked hard to push modern development practices and technology into an industry that can be very slow to change. I had a wide variety of responsibilities handling DevOps, security and tool building. I touched all aspects of the computing infrastructure at the company, from laptops to cloud servers, serverless applications to network. Major highlights of my time at the company included producing an API and client for creating/managing customer deliverables, and building an analytics platform on GCP. I wrote Python every day, with all new code bases tested to 100% coverage and continuously integrated to our main branches.

After a dissapointing experience joining a SaaS company in March 2021, I decided to take some time to try and change the way I work.

Other Opinions

Some people whose opinions I respect very much have been kind enough to say these words about me.

“Chris brings a wealth of knowledge and an appetite to take on challenges. He communicates clearly and is not shy to provide his very useful opinions. I learned a lot working with him and think he’d be an excellent addition to anyone’s team.” George Polack, Principal Software Architect, Movellus.

“Working with Chris has been a true pleasure. He’s focused and driven when he needs to work, but patient and understanding when explaining and mentoring. A great leader with exceptional wit – hopefully I get to work with him again in the future!” Gerrit Steinbach, Full Stack Engineer, Movellus.

“Chris has a great aptitude for quickly picking up new technology and implementing it and is passionate about data. We were sorry to lose him and he would be a great asset for any organization that wishes to collect, analyse, understand and use data.” Martin Grindley, VP Operations and Testing, Polecat.

“Chris is a great employee with a knack of getting to the root of the problem, and the ability to communicate the issue and solution effectively to others. A true unicorn I was sad to see leave.” Andrew Breeze, Principal Data and Infrastructure Analyst (Higher Education Funding Council for England).