Where are you from?
I’m originally from Kendal – a small town in the north-west of England. It’s a lovely little town, but it rains constantly (no, really, it rains nearly 200 days of the year there). It’s right in the middle of beautiful countryside, though, which more than makes up for it.
Where do you currently live?
At the moment I’m in Nottingham. Robin Hood, Sherwood Forest, and all that!
What’s your position with Site5 and how have you found it so far?
I’m a Senior Systems Engineer, and I love it! I work on the projects that move the platform forward – major upgrades, new features, uptime improvements, all that kinda stuff. All the cool stuff!
Tell us how your typical day goes!
7:45am – alarm. 7:54am – alarm again (why, oh why, do Apple give you a 9 minute snooze? Would one more minute really be too much?). Up, quick morning workout, down some coffee, and at my desk for 8:30.
Most of the team are in the US so my mornings in the UK are nice and quiet – I’ll generally use them to catch up on project work, code reviews, emails, courses/learning about new techniques – anything where I don’t really want to be interrupted.
I live really close to the city center, so on my lunch breaks I’ll either go to the gym or out for lunch with friends. Flexible hours mean I can take a longer break if the weather’s nice!
My afternoons I generally spend working on things that involve my colleagues – a lot of my work has aspects that either involve responding to other people (if they’re the ones who reported the issue that I’m solving, for example), or working with other specialists (such as writing documentation or developing for a particular part of the platform).
After work, I’ll usually be out with friends – I lead a very active community within my church so that takes up a lot of my time. On the occasional night off that I have, I look after a couple of websites, so they usually need some attention!
How did you come to be a Senior Systems Engineer?
Ben, the CEO, got in touch via LinkedIn. After a conversation about Ultimate Frisbee, we got chatting about the web hosting industry and work, and he asked if I’d be interested in a conversation about potentially coming to work for Site5. A couple of months later, I started my new job here!
Do you have any spare time to work on your own projects?
A bit – I look after a few websites for various Methodist organizations in the UK and Europe, so the occasional evening I’ll spend working on them. I find it’s really helpful to my work as well, as having to think and act like a user gives you a lot of insight into how the process can be streamlined or improved.
What’s your most satisfying experience at work?
The moment when a project comes together that you’ve been working on for months – the blog post goes live, the email goes out to customers, the rollout script gets run and all of a sudden you’ve improved the web hosting experience of thousands of customers and millions of website users.
How do you like working remotely?
I’m a very sociable person, so the biggest decision for me in taking the job at Site5 was whether I could handle working remotely instead of in an office. It’s worked out fantastically well! Working remotely means you can work from wherever you want. Right now, I’m spending a week with my girlfriend’s family. Last year I spent a month traveling around Europe, working, seeing friends, and experiencing cities less as a tourist and more as a temporary resident – I love it!
Advice for people aspiring to your role?
Learn a lot. Do cool stuff. Write that script to make your job better that you always wanted. Build that app that manages the contents of your fridge. Solve problems with code and configuration, then come say hi on LinkedIn.
Any trends at the moment worth following?
I’m really excited by the rise of data science techniques being applied to smaller organisations – as data sciences goes from being the preserve of massive data organisations (Facebook, Google, etc) to being a more commoditized, more accessible technology, I think we’ll see smaller organisations really start to gain some really interesting insights into their own operations.