Union StUnion St

By Matt

Amy Benson

What will you be doing at Union St?

I’ve just started a new job working remotely as a Front End Developer (I build the parts of website you see and interact with) for the UN. Only a couple of days in so far, but will mostly be working on helping improve their websites and apps, as well as getting confused by which time zones my colleagues are in.

How did you get into this area of work?

I kind of fell into web development while in an admin job for the NHS years ago, but it’s worked out ok and I’ve been a web developer for several years now, working mostly for digital agencies in Sheffield.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I enjoy lots of aspects of web development, but mostly I like to see that what I’ve been working on actually has a useful purpose and is helping people, even if it’s in a small way.

What are you looking to get out of Union St?

A good co-working environment with friendly people (and without my cat trying to hit me in the face).

Follow Amy at https://twitter.com/amyvbenson

By Matt

Katie Fenn

Katie Fenn joined Union Street a few weeks ago when she began working for Canonical as a Senior Developer. Canonical is the company behind Ubuntu, one of the world’s most popular, free and open-source operating systems.

“The open source approach is built around the input from developers who share their time and skills because they believe in this way of working. My role with Canonical is to create software that will enable developers from around the world to contribute to the ongoing development of Ubuntu. What I really like about my job is helping people come together and develop new ways of using software that really makes a difference.”

Remote working

Katie doesn’t fit the self-employed profile of many of Union St’s members, but the model of staff on permanent contracts working remotely is something we are likely to see a lot more of in the future.

“I’d guess about two thirds of the Canonical staff work remotely. We have the technology to facilitate this and it helps companies like Canonical to recruit talented people regardless of location. It also means that we have staff online around the clock so any issues can be dealt with straight away.”

Why Union St?

“I’ve lived in Sheffield for the past 10 years and I already knew Union St as it has hosted meetings for local software developers. It seemed an open and friendly place and so when I moved to Canonical and needed a local base, it was an obvious choice. Another advantage is that there are several other developers that work here – Glen Mailer, J-P Stacey, Caolan McMahon and Mat Booth, so we can pick each other’s brains if we are getting stuck. I also really like the pop up cafes for lunch!”

In her spare time Katie has developed Parker, a tool to help developers produce simpler code. She is a keen cyclist and has recently taken up diving (with the bruises to show for it).

Words by David Edwards of www.wordscount.co.uk and you can follow Katie Fenn on Twitter at www.twitter.com/katie_fenn

By Sarah Sharp

J-P Stacey

J-P Stacey is a website builder with over ten years’ experience with content-managed sites. His company Magnetic Phield deals with a range of clients, but specialises in helping non-profits and cooperatives, especially those with a focus on environmental causes and sustainability.

His varied experience before becoming a web developer – roles encompassing academia, publishing, as well as project management and development – lend a broad perspective to his problem solving. Having recently moved to Sheffield, J-P hopes Union St will be the perfect hub to grow his network and meet like-minded people – cooperatives, non-profits, charities and social enterprises.

He offers 10% discretional discount to non-profits and is happy to discuss projects with Union St members.

I enjoy solving knotty development problems while trying to put the end user first.

Find links to his recent work and more information on the Magnetic Phield website: http://www.magneticphield.com

By Sarah Sharp

Robin Keech

Robin Keech is the founder of Disobedient Media, which specialises in creating mobile and web apps and using technology to provide business solutions. His fascination with programming began at the start of the home computer revolution in the 80’s and has continued to develop and diversify across a range of technically challenging roles. His experience and versatility has given him the ability to work on a broad range of projects. This love of the new and the different has brought him to Union St, which offers both a sociable working environment and a place to meet many diverse people and ideas.

He is happy to offer free initial advice to members, as well as a discounted day rate on projects.

Robin says: ‘I love learning new technologies and seeing a product take form. I’m interested in all different areas – the project just has to be interesting and challenging.’

Head to the Disobedient Media website to see a full list of clients and projects.

Disobedient Media Ltd
http://disobedientmedia.co.uk
info@disobedientmedia.co.uk

By Matt

Caolan McMahon

What’s your business name?
Ground Computing Ltd.

What do you do?
I build offline-enabled web apps for use in remote or difficult environments. I can also provide expert JavaScript, Node and CouchDB consulting.

How did it start?
Most of our work is available as open-source, meaning anyone can run, study, share or build-upon the software. Non-profits have found this invaluable when building tools for use in developing countries or remote areas, and Ground Computing provides the infrastructure to support them.
It started with collaborative dictionary for the Dené Nation in the Northwest Territories, helping to preserve their native language. Now, we have code running all around the world with uses ranging from healthcare to environmental monitoring.

What are you working on at the moment?
A platform for offline form collection, data synchronization and reporting currently in use in Africa for monitoring maternal health outcomes.

What are you looking to get out of Union St?
I’m looking for a relaxed work environment and a space to bring people together and share knowledge.

www.caolanmcmahon.com
@caolan

By Matt

Eva Barabas MSc(Eng) MBCS

What do you do?
Software Engineer, preferring Ruby @NHSChoices (nhs.uk), tech community outreach volunteer, Co-organiser at Sheffield Ruby User Group (shrug.org), Webmaster and Young Professional Representative at BCS South Yorkshire Branch (sy.bcs.org) and occasional trainer/speaker.

How did it start?
Being part of amazing companies which had the community outreach at their centre, I became inspired to give back as well and volunteer.

What are you working on at the moment?
At work, we are building Public Health England’s campaigns (Be Clear on Cancer, Smokefree, Start4Life), while in my spare time I am looking into funding and expanding some of the groups I am involved with.

What are you looking to get out of Union St?
Inspiration on the days when I work flexibly from Union St, plus opportunity to collaborate with other members in order to better reach the local tech community outside of working hours.

b_seven_e@yahoo.co.uk
@b_seven_e

By Matt

Glen Mailer

What’s your business name?
Stainlessed Ltd

What do you do?
Development, Consultancy and Training for Modern Web Software.

How did it start?
I’d been working in similar roles within large organisations and I wanted to continue working on the same sorts of problems – but with the increased power, flexibility and freedom that comes from being independent.

What are you working on at the moment?
In my day job I’m working with SkyBet to build up a new office in Sheffield City Centre to manage their upcoming international products – making sure they get off on the right foot and are well set up for future expansion. Outside of that I’m heavily involved with the local tech community’s “User Groups” – informal monthly meetups where people come together to freely share knowledge and experiences.

What are you looking to get out of Union St?
Union St have been great for giving us access to space for our User Group meetups, and we want to pay that back by bringing more and more experienced technologists into the space to collaborate and co-operate on the interesting things that are going on here.

stainlessed.co.uk
glen@stainlessed.co.uk
@glenathan

By Matt

Mat Booth

What’s your business name?
Red Hat UK Ltd

What do you do?
Our mission is “to be the catalyst in communities of customers, contributors, and partners creating better technology the open source way.” Red Hat is a connective hub in a global network of customers, partners, research and academic organizations, and open source communities. Bringing these innovative groups together fosters collaboration. And with a wide range of computing requirements, distinct approaches, and differing skills, the result is technology that meets the needs of today’s computing environments more effectively than any one group could have created alone.

How did it start?
Founded in 1993 with a vision for developing better software through collaboration, Red Hat is now at the forefront of open source software development for enterprise IT.

What are you working on at the moment?
I work in the Platform Engineering group on development tools, improving the developer experience for people writing software on Linux or writing software that targets Linux as a platform.

What are you looking to get out of Union St?
As a remotee working with an international team, I am mostly looking for social interaction with people in my own timezone. 🙂

www.redhat.com
mat.booth@redhat.com
@_mbooth

Amy Benson
Katie Fenn
J-P Stacey
Robin Keech
Caolan McMahon
Eva Barabas MSc(Eng) MBCS
Glen Mailer
Mat Booth