Home  C.V.  Contact  Portfolio 
 Basics  Skill Profile - Techical  Skill Profile - Other  Publications 

Non-technical Skills

Team Management

In addition to technical skills I have a broad range of experience with team management and communication. I have never been in a formal management role, but in various projects throughout my career to date I have ended up taking leadership of software teams, largely because of an ability to create enthusiasm for my ideas with other developers. I take great satisfaction in creating a vision for a project and using my belief in that vision to inspire others.

Communication skills

Communication was a key part of my career as an academic software architect. In a formal context this took the form of scientific publications, presentations and talks at conferences and other events, and a role representing the projects and groups I worked with at major international meetings and conferences. Less formally, working primarily with infrastructure projects the communication between our project and our potential user communities was critical and something I was heavily involved with, in particular through the creation and use of training material for those communities. I have run a number of workshops, from single hour tutorials at conferences to multi-day residential events attended by professionals from across the world.

I am a confident speaker - I will happily stand up in front of hundreds of people and present my work and ideas, and have experience presenting to a range of audiences from internal management, through general conference audiences to more exotic groups including in one case much of the Malaysian cabinet (during a DTI sponsored visit to the country to represent the UK eScience programme).

I also have experience producing written material including academic papers of various kinds, press articles and longer pieces of work such as user manuals and in-depth documentation.

In support of these skills I have substantial experience with the software used to create presentations and documents, including various versions of Microsoft Office as well as DocBook related tools and Adobe Acrobat. I have been involved with the publication of substantial books, both through regular publishers and through self-publication for use as training material.

Visual design

While I would not claim to be a professional graphic artist I have worked with branding and website design and have a good sense for what works visually. I find this essential when designing front-end systems, whether rich client or web based. I have experience with the Adobe creative suite tools (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign) and in particular their use in web design (this site being an example).

I am also a competent web designer, familiar with the various technologies underpinning modern websites both static and dynamic in nature.

Neither graphic nor web design has ever been an official part of my job description, but one of the features of working with smaller teams is that there are opportunities to take on such roles where necessary. Personally I find the creative element of these activities very satisfying, although they have always been peripheral to my main body of work.

Open Source Involvement

When working at the EBI all the projects I was involved with were released under open source licenses, and all used a large number of third party open source APIs. This gave me experience interacting with the user and developer communities both for our own project and the APIs we used, including contributing patches and changes back and the use of public (and archived!) communication channels to resolve disputes, solve problems and determine future project directions.

Obviously not all the work I've done since leaving has been released under an open source license, but an ability to work with external open source projects, in particular to fill gaps in the functionality of those projects, has been extremely useful.