I first came across FDM back when it was called FDI. My dad was a contractor and after coming across employees from FDI he recommended that I have a look into their company. I was in a position where I loved programming, but I didn’t have the market skills. I did a week-long intensive training course, a bit like boot camp. I think the process was to see if I could deal with what the course entailed. I passed and began my course with FDM in January 1998.
The training programme provided a strong foundation in database skills. I then moved into working for web/mobile agencies, where these skills were rare and invaluable. A lot of people didn't seem to have this grounding. I know a lot has changed in the academy since I joined but back then a lot of the training included the use of computer based training and we would learn our way through – you got out of it what you put in. In June, six months after starting the course, I was sent to Norwich to work with Virgin . It was a bizarre feeling going out on your first contract and helping to set up a bank, but it was good fun at the time.
As it was coming to the end of my project, an assignment came up in New Jersey, USA. I ended up going out there for six months and despite the work not always being fun, the fact I was living a short distance from the Big Apple in my early twenties was absolutely incredible. I remember taking my sister to see Robbie Williams in the tiniest room in New York when she came over to visit. After my two-year contract was up with FDM, I decided I wanted to take a slightly different path. I learnt Java in 2000 and I joined a web agency – this was around the time that the internet properly took off and it was ridiculous. I was a different kind of applicant when I applied for web agencies because I had a set of skills that new graduates didn’t have – all thanks to FDM. I’ve worked on some fantastic projects during my career, most notably building the back-end for Flirtomatic, which was one of the first mobile dating apps in 2003.
Being a part of FDM was a great start to my career. I’m currently working to set up Impaladev which is a company offering managed mobile teams for Java and mobile. For people who are eager to get into the technology side of things, I urge them to look for talks and user groups that fascinate you. In interviews it’s so much easier to talk about things that fascinate you. Passion and enthusiasm come across well in interviews, and a lot of people don’t have that energy – it really shows through and helps you stand out in interviews.