Software Engineer
C/C++ C# Java

About Me

Introduction

Personal Profile

My higher education has been in Aerospace and Space Engineering, the focus of which has been from a Systems Engineering point of view. Systems Engineering has always been and still is my discipline of choice however I have incorporated software engineering into this interest as well. Although quite content with my position in the deffence industry at the moment, I will be looking to make a move into the space industry in the future; This has always been my overall goal.

My work ethic is driven by a desire to create solutions that are useful and usable, with a focus on satisfying the customers requirements. I am a good out-of-the-box thinker, I am strong at visualising problems and processes. I think the most creative solutions require both team collaboration and individual work, both of which were highlights during my degrees.

I am currently mainly working with the C and C++, also the occasional use of C#. At home I like to develop similar projects I do at work but written in Java to make sure that my skills with this language are maintained and developed, as it is my understanding that this is a popular language used within the space industry.

Skills

Workplace Skills

I have always been best at one on one or small group communication especially with the use of a pad of paper. My written communications have always been a weakness and hence a main point of improvement; I would say I am about average at this. The biggest tasks undertaken, that have improved my written communication has been the 4 thesis I have written, and commuicating with tutors via email during the course with Just IT.
I have always got on well with people, so I believe my interpersonal skills are quite high. I have also had lots of customer service experience from various jobs and group work experience throughout my degrees. However I do need to get better a breaking the ice.
A skill I had to work hard on during my first degree, especially regarding time management and multitasking. My multitasking is average but I believe my time management is now strong. I have always been strong at prioritising.
This is my strongest skill. Understanding requirements and constraints and providing a solution that fulfils the projects goals is not only my strongest skill but is a requirement, for me, in a job description. I am also good a thinking through scenarios and being able to identify where problems may occur either in a design or which will be an issue to design around.
Having a big and varied sporting background I have always been in, and felt most comfortable in, a team environment. I scored high in my peer review in my MSc group project, both from my lecturers and peers. I believe this is because I am always happy to listen and talk through any points of discussion. Also because I think it is always important to explain a decision and to make sure you acknowledge the input and process you used to make it (why impose when you can simply convince).

Software Skills

As part of the Just IT program, online courses issued by Pluralsight are undertaken. Here are my results:

My Specialty Languages
Java Fundamentals Part 1 - 90%
Java Fundamentals Part 2 - 80%
C# From Scratch - 83.3%
C# From Scratch Part 2 - 83.3%
C# Fundamentals with C#5 - 89%
C# / .NET - 83%
Becoming a .NET Developer - 70%
Software Development Principles
Learning To Program Part 1 - 83.3%
Learning To Program Part 2 - 83.3%
SOLID Principals of OOP - 83%
Other Languages
HTTP Fundamentals - 100%
JavaScript Fundamentals - 100%
HTML5 - 77%
CSS3 - 70%
Other Modules
Introduction to WordPress - 75%
Github for Windows Developers - 100%

Engineering

Engineering

The projects in this section were completed during my MSc at Cranfield University. I have included them here because they are, aside from the engineering, a demonstration of workplace skills required by any candidate.

MSc Individual Thesis

Campaign Planner

Summary:

A project with two parts. The first to develop an algorithm for prediction of satellite campaigns. The second to research available free software, and relevant software languages suitable for the construction of a system that could graphically show the users inputs and outputs. The core skills involved were:

  • Communication -
  • One-on-one Weekly meetings with my project supervisor to keep apprised off the progress of the project.
  • Meetings as required with sorry satellite staff who had built the system I was expanding. These meetings but mainly for defining requirements. This meant sometimes travelling to their offices.
  • A 10min presentation at the end of the project was required, given to peers, lecturers (including my supervisor), staff from Surrey Satellites Ltd and other members of industry that had interested in the project.
  • Organisation -
  • Aside from the weekly meetings with my supervisor, I was largely left to work at my place. Thus meeting the final deadline required strong organisation skills.
  • Problem solving -
  • It was a very enjoyable challenge putting the maths required for the algorithm into code. This experience led me to this endeavour of becoming a software developer.
  • The research part of the project presented its own challenges mainly by finding the best way to string together various software programs.
  • Team Work -
  • Although an individual project there was an element of teamwork when working with the staff from Surrey Satellites.

The project in more detail:

Project Background - The project idea was provided by Surrey Satellites limited (SSTL). It is normal at Cranfield University to do a project with real world applications. To ensure this they invite industry leading companies to provide project ideas. These are of cause narrowed in scope and sometimes complexity but the idea is that produce a project that the company can use, continue on, or possible pass back for a student to continue in the following year.

Project Overview - I was given a mission statement that described how an already developed system needed to be improved, initially for continued internal use but with the vision to expand it for something to use with customers. For use with customers it would be used at the early negotiations phase. It would provide a quick idea of how long a desired campaign would take, and show how the campaign would be conducted. I was to discuss objectives and requirements with SSTL staff who work on the program. My final report and presentation would be a means of presenting my findings and work to them at the end of the project.

The mission statement boiled down to the following tasks however I have provided the full #Mission Statement# #Objectives# and #Requirements#:

The numbers produced would need to directly, or easily be adapted so that they could be graphically shown to the user but I would not generate this final part. From this primary secondary and tertiary requirements for the project were developed. The primary objective I would aim to complete and then any extra would be considered a bonus or be there for future work if the project was continued by someone else. The requirements were also made with the same policy. Both were developed working closely with the SSTL staff who I visited twice on site, held a phone conference call and emails, to ensure I was producing something of worth to them (it should be noted that I also had to produce a good project worthy of an MSc so there were conflicts of interest and compromises made). On the academic side I also had weekly meetings with my supervisor to make sure I was producing a good thesis for my MSc.

Planning Phase - I was required to produce an initial report and presentation roughly 1/4 into the project time line to show the objectives requirements and early structure of my project. This was also viewed by representatives from SSTL and they were able to give feedback at the end.

Design Phase - I broke the planned solution up into the following sections:

I then developed each one in tern testing as I went. As I was largely learning VBA as I went I built smaller test modules to learn the various loops and statement that I was using as well as smaller modules to test logic and maths. The main test scenario I used was built alongside the VBA code utilising excel. I used excel to print out intermediate steps to check the maths and also to produce graphs that represented the final out put that was required by the program. The graphs were easy to use because everything was based around the longitude/latitude of the earth making the figures easy to graph.

Testing and Validation Phase - As mentioned above I used excel to test modules of the code. I also used Excel for the testing and validation of the final algorithm. I set up a number of scenarios that tested the extremes of the conditions that the algorithm was designed for, plotted the results to visually show that the code was validated.

Presenting my work - at the end of the project I had to produce a #project brief# which was given to all the attendees of my #presentation# about a week before the presentation and a poster which was displayed on the day of the presentation illustrating my project. The presentation limited to 10 minutes, present were 3 examiners about 15 representatives from industry including of course SSTL and my peers (class size was 30). Also a 10,000 word thesis was required. As a direct result of my presentation I was offered, on the day, an interview for a position with SciSys but unfortunately my Software Development knowledge wasn't good enough at the time for the positon.

MSc Group Project

Space Weather Diamond

Project Summary:

A Group project involving 15 multinational students working with Astrium and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory to develop a constellation of satellites to provide early warning of Coronal Mass Ejections heading towards Earth. Each group member had their own specific Work Packages, which were assigned, mimicking the professional engineering environment. The work packages were grouped into work package groups, I was in the systems group. Skills required for this project were:

  • Communication -
  • The systems group had an extra leadership role which we shared, this required regular communication between ourselves, the rest of the group, project supervisors and members of industry interested in the project.
  • We had and optional presentation mid way through the project which I volunteered for and a manditory presentation at the end; both presented to about 30 members of industry. In the optional presentation I had to speak about others work using their slides, for the manditory presentation I presented my own work and slides. For both I spoke for 10min plus answering questions.
  • Organisation -
  • Tasks expectd of the system group included organising and chairing meetings where necessary, organising minutes for the weekly scheduled meeting with our supervisor and generally managing the project. An online dropbox account for sharing files was set up and managed.
  • Problem solving and Team Work -
  • Another task for the systems group was to solve design conflicts amoungst the rest of the group and making sure requirements were followed. One example - we had a major issue which we solved by holding a group meeting and then a meeting with our supervisor where we voiced concerns about a change of requirements imposed on the group mid way through the project. A compromise was reached on behalf of the group and we relayed the change to the rest of the group.

At the beginning of the project we were given a simple animation, with 4 satellites to help us understand the SWD constellation. Of course ours had 10 satellites in the end. Because of this, at the time, we felt that it would have been useful to be able to animate our version; mainly for the final presentation. With this in mind I have made animations to show both constellations using Java and translated them to JavaScript for use here.

The project in more detail:

Introduction - The group had 15 multinational members where a work package structure was imposed by the lecturers to mimic a professional engineering project as closely as possible. We all submitted 5 ordered preferences for which work package(s) we would like to undertake. I purposely went for a few work packages in the Systems group because I wanted to be a systems engineer. To reflect a system engineer's role more closely extra responsibilities were given to those who were given a work package in the systems group. These were leadership roles including organise run/chair meetings organise a way of sharing information within the group and being aware of the entire project design meeting with other member to makes sure changes were communicated properly and that any changes in one system did create a problem in any other system.

Overview - The project was inspired by the Space Weather Diamond mission proposed by St. Cyr et al. in 2001. The result of the project was two mission concept architectures, developed to provide at least 2 hours warning of severe space weather events. The first of the two architectures was an adaptation of the original Space Weather Diamond (SWD) constellation and we kept the name. The second architecture was called Circular Heliocentric Constellation (CHC), its name describes the constellation used. An animation of each is available below. The main design concerns were cost in implementing a constellation outside of earth orbit and being able to have the satellites far enough away to detect, process and send the data to earth to provide the required 2 hour warning; keeping in mind that with increased distance the effective data transfer decreases, providing a distinct design problem. The conference report generated by the entire group can be found here.

Planning phase - meetings minutes schedule dropbox voluntiered for presentation goal of presentation to show how we had selected one architecture design. We had a milestone imposed on us to provide a initial report and presentation to companies that were interested in our project such as Airbus Defence and Space (Astrium at the time) and Rutherford research laboratories who had the biggest interest in our project. It was optional to speak in the presentation and as a member of the systems team and personally as someone who needed to work on public speaking volunteered to be one who spoke in the presentation. We also gave the presentation to the other group and lecturers. During the planning stage leading up to this and beyond we had group meeting every week and as a system member had regular meeting with the rest of the group in between. Some of the thing the systems group set up was a Dropbox account to share work effectively between members also we were required to set up a rota for minutes keeper and chair for the main meeting with our supervisor. We also had to handle a major problem when the lecturers changed the group focus be insisting on us changing to an architecture we had earlier discounted, very late on in the project. We as leaders had a meeting with the rest of the group, took their concerns to our supervisor discussed them came to an understanding. This was that we would compromise and use both architectures, and that the result of our project would be a comparison. This ensured that all work done to this point would be used. We then relayed this information to the group to reassure that the changes and potential wasted time, was either unfounded or would be taken into account when it came to marking our final work. As this was quite a serious problem as some people would have had to effectively start again if we simply dropped the first architecture I am proud to have been part of the systems subgroup in negotiating this solution.

Design phase - as I had been given the OBDH work package I was responsible for a sub system which was a major design driver, particularly with the CHC design. This meant working closely with the Communications Engineer who was restricted by power and mass budgets. My package design was driven by the payload, specifically by the data requirements for the transmission of the data produced. Data volume wasn't the only consideration but integrity as the space environment is prone to creating single error flips which physically change data on magnetic drives. So a redundancy was required which obviously meant less room for data. This all had to be balanced and restricted to fit with budgets that had to reflect the fact that we had to have a constellation of satellites which meant a lot of money which meant keeping costs as low as possible and mass restrictions, as there is only so many we could fit on a launcher unless we wanted to pay for more launchers of course. There was no set budget but we had to justify it using past missions as a guide and the protection it would provide meaning money it could potentially save operators. Towards the end of the phase our lecturers decided that our overall architecture was too expensive and that we should focus on an architecture we had discarded at the end of the planning phase. This lead to the Scenario I explained in the previous paragraph.

Final product - between the communication engineer and I we had developed a system that fulfilled the requirements for both architectures, but with differing results. Generally we did some on-board calculations and then sent a duplicated encrypted message to earth that would mean the data integrity could be counted on. We also realised a scientific application for the CHC project. The problem with the constellation was that only 2 satellites were in used at any one time, the idea was to use the others to provide scientific data that could be collected and sent back to earth at a slower but constant rate, this would be done by daisy chaining the satellites, missing out the satellites currently between the earth and sun. This provided an extra argument that made the cost more justifiable for the CHC design. It would also provide the first 360 view of the sun, never before achieved. We like as I had to do in the individual Thesis had to give a 10min presentation each on our personal work packages and a 10,000 word report. As part of the Systems group we coordinated putting all of these presentations into a coherent order unifying everybody's work, also organising the poster required for the open day. The presentation was given in front of about 30 people from industry, the other half of the class that were in a different group and lecturers.

More About Me

More about me

I initially went to university to become a Systems Engineering. during this process I developed an interest for software development and have incorporated this into my career choice. I feel that software development within engineering is very close to Systems engineering as my systems are controlled by software. This is especially true in my current position in test software.

It is of course important to keep a healthy work/leisure balance. One of my hardest lessons over time has been to know when to take a break. I would often start some work and suddenly realise that I’ve been working for hours. I have had to learn that appropriate breaks are required to be as efficient as possible and that sprinting out the gates with your head down is not always the best option.

In my spare time I enjoy doing a variety of things, did you like the photo above? ...It's a product of 2 of my favourite hobbies skiing and photography. I am a beginner at the later but endeavour to improve my landscape shots; ironically it was taken with my phone as well, not my DSLR.

I have skied for about 20 years so I am better at that. I also enjoy the gym and playing touch American Football to keep fit, and it's a good way to unwind after a long weeks work.

Once settled in a career I look forward to exploring the world and its cultures. I have a long list of places I want to see including the favourites and can't wait to start ticking of place from the list.

Timeline

My Education and Work Experience

  • Aug 2016 -
            Present

    I operate within the workgroup Production Test Systems, which itself is within the Software Engineering department. Aside from some smaller projects I was assigned pretty much from the first day to my project which was to develop an interface for an automatic test process to connect with the telemetry ground system. I took this up to the first iteration of a working programme and due too a Reorganisation of my workgroup I was put onto a new project. This project was to develop an automatic test process for an in-service test system which itself is a product which will be used to maintain and test a company product which is coming into service.

  • Oct 2014 -
            July 2016

    Undertaken to retrain and become a back end software developer in Java and C# . The course has been self funded. Relevant tests, examinations and projects are in the process of completion. Please see the About Me section to see the modules completed and the click the following links to see the full module/ examination list, and more general course information.

  • Oct 2012 -
            Dec 2014

    Employed primarily to implement and manage an ISO 9001 Quality Management System. Upon completion I was then assigned to implement AS9110, List X, ITAR. This position required strong communication skills with employees across the company, outside consultants and auditors. There was a requirement for teamwork in building the quality system, but also individual work. The compromise between the companies processes and the processes required by the quality standards provided a challenging design problem.

  • Sept 2011 -
            Sept 2012

    The MSc was a 12 month course, I was lucky enough to be eligible for a bursery which paid for the course, otherwise it would have been self-funded. Subjects included: Space Systems Engineering, Astronautics and Mission Analysis, and Others. The majority of work was project work. Group Project: Space Weather diamond - A Space Weather Monitoring System. Individual Thesis Campaign Planner - Algorithm development in Visual Basics and Research. For details on both projects please go to the projects/Engineering Projects section.

  • Sept 2010 -
            Sept 2011

    This course, on successful completion guaranteed entry onto the MSc course above. It was an interesting challenge as it was the entry course for all engineering disciplines. This course was self-funded. Subjects included: Mathematics 1 + 2, Thermodynamics, Aerodynamics and Others. Individual Thesis: Through Life Spacecraft Health Monitoring - A research project to determine feasibility of a single wireless technology to monitor satellite components from individual component manufature, through to satellite end of life. The project required strong time management and communication with my project supervisor. Also unique system design solutions.

  • Mar 2010 -
            Sept 2010

    As a Race Director (Duty Manager) my daily tasks included (depending on the shift I was on): open/cash up tills, open/close/check building. Also inspect karts and timing system when opening, organise duty roster and breaks. All of these tasks improved my time management, organisational and communication skills. I would be required to give the safety briefing to as many as 60 customers at one time before they could enter the track area, this meant that it was important to finish events on time as I was also in charge of these and it was normal to only have one director on shift at one time; it also improved my presentation skills. Sometimes due to the tight scheduling I would have to delegate certain tasks so that the schedule could be met, requiring knowledge of staff skills.

  • Mar 2007 -
            Dec 2007

    Each shift I typically worked on one or two of three sections depending on the length of the shift. These were the Food and Drink, tickets, foyer/concourse/screen sections. Each section required strong customer service skills. Being on the foyer required good time management keeping track of films starting and finishing as clean up, greeting and seating guest was the main tasks of the section.

  • Sept 2004 -
            Jun 2008

    Foundation degree which required the completion of a foundation year as well as the normal 3 years. Subjects included: Space Vehicle design 1 + 2, Introduction to Astronautics, Electronics and Control. Group Thesis: Lunar Space Transportation System - main responsibilities were mission trajectory design and astrodynamics calculations for a Lunar transfer orbit. In a 5 person group communication was very important as well as presentation skills. Individual Thesis: Dirigible Mars Aerobot - concept design for a mars aerobot resulting in a system trade-off study of three Phase A architectures. Weekly meetings with project supervisor required good time management and communication skills.

  • Sept 1996 -
            Jul 2004

    I went to Hitchin boys' School throughout my secondary education. At sixth form I took: 2 A-Levels, 1 AVCE (A-level equivalent) and 1 AS, these were: Maths (Pure and Mechanics), Physics, Information Communication Technology (ICT) and Physical Education (PE) respectively.

Projects

Orbit Calculator

Java, Swing, Eclipse, GitHub

Calculates circular and elliptical orbits rendering two views of orbit as an image as well generates an animation.

- Key skills used: Logic and Looping statements, Action listeners.

- Main code constructs: JFrame, Iterfaces (Model View Listener Architecture), Cards and Mig Layout Manargers.

Calculator

WinForms, Visual Studio

Mathematics calculator that includes the standard functionality (plus, minus, multiply and divide) as well as Trig functions, x^2 and squareroot functionality.

How to contact me

Full contact details are available in my CV which is available below as a downloadable PDF. Also feel free to contact me through linkedIn, the link to my profile is below.