Education and early career

Early career

I’m always learning, whether on the job, through courses that provide structure and accountability, or through my own explorations.

My three passions, programming, music and writing, offer ample opportunity to study. The learning never stops and that’s fine by me.

The first arcade machine I played was Gun Fight in a motorway service station on a family holiday. It wasn’t until I saw a Commodore VIC-20 in a department store that I realised computing was something I could do. I saved up my pocket money and bought a Sinclair ZX81.

Years later I was fortunate to catch the birth of the Internet at the time I was entering the workplace. Web 2.0 was no more than a proposal, the dot-com crash was yet to happen, Friends Reunited and MySpace were the sum total of social media, and nobody thought JavaScript would ever amount to anything.

I could have pursued a career in database management or embedded systems. Programming is a broad church, after all. I realised front end development and feature-rich, proprietary platforms like Adobe Flash, would allow me to work on content and with clients consistent with my other interests.

I found a postgraduate course that looked promising at the University of Westminster and applied. This unique postgraduate programme has formed the basis of a career that's spanned 25 years, and counting.

Technical skills

Core skills are those that I use every day, or at least frequently. Legacy skills are those that are deprecated or that I rarely use and my experience is likely to be a few versions behind.
  • JavaScript
  • React, JSX
  • CSS3 and SASS
  • Bootstrap
  • HTML5
  • Adobe CS
  • Sketch, Zeplin, Figma
  • GIT cli, GitHub, SourceTree
  • Webpack, Gulp, Grunt
  • JIRA, Confluence
  • Agile, SCRUM
  • Visual Studio Code, Sublime Text, WebStorm
  • StackOverflow
  • AngularJS
  • jQuery
  • Foundation
  • Adobe Flash
  • ActionScript
Deep dives
Deep dives are where I’ve completed, or contributed to, a significant personal or professional project, but would not consider myself to be up to commercial standards.
  • iOS, Swift, XCode
  • C#, Unity
  • C#, .NET
  • Java
  • Vue.js
  • Node.js
  • PHP, Laravel
  • Python
  • Arduino
  • Processing
  • C++
  • Zilog Z80 assembler
  • Motorola 68000 series assembler
  • Multiple BASIC compilers
  • Pascal
  • MAX
  • FMOD

Non-technical skills

  • Project management
  • Can work in teams or independently
  • Writing briefs
  • Documentation
  • Wireframing
  • Sympathetic to financial, business, and technical constraints
  • High standard of written English
  • Creative writing
  • Able to present technical subjects in simple terms
  • Able to communicate appropriately with clients
  • Able to communicate effectively with all roles found in a typical production environment
Personal qualities
  • Calm, friendly, and approachable
  • Solution-focused, can-do attitude
  • Willing to go outside my comfort zone
  • Curiosity
  • Eye for detail
  • Eagerness to learn new things
  • Fast learner
“Flash is a closed system.” Steve Jobs
Since 2006

Even a decade before Adobe retired Flash, the writing was on the wall. It wasn’t supported on iPhones and it performed poorly on Android. The market dried-up and web technologies were snapping at its heels. I’d always kept my hand in with HTML/CSS/JavaScript but much had happened since I’d committed to Adobe’s ‘closed’ platform.

I sat down for six months with a pile of textbooks and retooled as a front-end developer. I’ve freelanced through my limited company, Hardcoded, ever since, first focusing on AngularJS and then React.

Adobe Flash Developer
The Nathan Barley Years
2001 - 2006

From meetings in Wendy houses and offices carpeted with AstroTurf, to a school dining hall accessed by a fireman’s pole, these were the Nathan Barley years. I freelanced in numerous independent agencies in and around East London. It was ground zero for the hipster apocalypse.

It was an exhilarating and innovative era for the web and I threw myself in at the deep end, sometimes too deep. I once sat in a meeting Googling under the table on my Wasp T12 Speechtool so I had some idea of what I was on about. Fake it ‘till you make it, learn on the job, this is when I became a real developer, learning everything they didn’t teach me at university.

Before Web 2.0, HTML5/CSS3 and the maturation of JavaScript, web technologies couldn’t compete with the features of Adobe Flash. This proprietary platform’s offer of streaming audio and video, and animated bitmap and vector graphics on a timeline, combined with its powerful scripting language ActionScript, guaranteed the most interesting gigs.

I partnered with agencies like The Grand Union, Iris Digital, SAS/Publicis, Mook/Nitro, and Story Worldwide, creating award-winning digital content for household names in entertainment, telecommunications, and the media. At Poke London we worked on American Express RED and were nominated for a Webby (best financial services website).

I developed microsites (Orange, Sony Ericsson, Shell), apps (The National Lottery, KPMG), kiosks (Museum of London Docklands), and CD-ROMs (BBC Magazines, BBC Worldwide, Lonely Planet). I later specialised in games. Clients included Innocent and Nickelodeon with Public Creative and Agent Provocateur with Large Design. I was a contributing developer on Bow Street Runner for Channel 4 with LittleLoud, which won a Children’s Interactive BAFTA.

Church of the SubGenius
1998 - 2001

Kerb were a multi-award winning online entertainment and digital games studio, specialising in designing and developing social monetised games and toys for mobile and the web. I was a founding employee. We pioneered viral marketing before social media was even a thing and we were early adopters of Adobe Flash. AIM listed investment company Brainspark helped us grow into a 20-strong team of digital specialists.

At Kerb I was a Macromedia Shockwave developer working on websites, CD-ROMs, games, kiosks, and installations. I participated in Macromedia’s private beta of their 3D extensions to Shockwave and made a patent application for a unique UI control. Clients included Electronic Arts, Eidos, Disney, and The Science Museum.

We shared a building with a local sound system, Positive Sounds, and legendary purveyors of skate apparel, Dope Clothing. Acting as a creative hub, this shared space led to numerous collaborations, helping me focus on the kind of clients and content that interested me. We had some great parties, too.

MA Hypermedia Studies
The Hypermedia Research Centre
1997 - 1998

The MA Hypermedia Studies at the Hypermedia Research Centre, University of Westminster, was a ground-breaking postgraduate programme combining theories of convergence with digital practice. The course was modelled after the Bauhaus method of training that replaced the traditional teacher-pupil relationship with the idea of a community of artists working collaboratively.

The course was taught by industry innovators Lateral and Anti-ROM who were amongst the first agencies to convince corporations such as Coca-Cola and Levis to have dynamic websites. Anti-ROM partnered with Tomato Design who were co-founded by Underworld’s Karl Hyde. The theoretical parts of the course were taught by Dr Richard Barbrook, author of The Californian Ideology and Imaginary Futures.

I wrote dissertations on neo-liberal mis-readings of William Gibson’s Neuromancer and the cultural importance of video games that drew on Huizinga’s play theory.

My final project was a website for Brighton based record label, Lumenessence. It used the Macromedia Shockwave plugin and featured audio, video and interactive animations. In an era when the Internet was largely silent and static, the site offered fans compelling and innovative ways to engage with artists on the label. I was awarded a merit for my work.

The Inbetweeners
1983 - 1992

I finished secondary school with 8 O levels including maths and English. I finished sixth-form college with 3 A levels including maths and English literature. I studied BSc Social Psychology at the London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London. I was awarded a first-class degree with honours.


I have CPCAB Level 2 Award in Introduction to Counselling Skills and City and Guilds qualifications in Programming in C++ and Desktop Video. I've pursued numerous courses related to music, performance and writing.