ntoll.org

(Everything I say is false...)
home | about | articles | presentations | cv | contact

Nicholas H.Tollervey BMus MA MSc FRSA

Contact Details | Github | Twitter | LinkedIn

Summary

I am a software engineer, classically trained musician, philosophy graduate, teacher and writer.

If you would like to work with me you can hire me via my company, Tollervey Ltd. Get in touch and let's see how I can help.

My commercial development experience has been gained in a diverse range of industries: investment banking (Barclays Capital), two start-ups (Fluidinfo & Xmonic), media (The Guardian) and large public sector based projects (The Council of Europe & Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health).

I can offer expertise in:

  • Open-source technologies:
    • Python (including Django, Flask and Twisted)
    • PostgreSQL
    • Various NoSQL databases
    • Git / Mercurial / Bazaar / Subversion
    • Linux
  • Web based technologies:
    • Javascript (including jQuery, QUnit, Jasmine, Sinon & EmberJS)
    • HTML(5)
    • CSS
    • REST based API
    • Web-services
    • Semantic web: Microformats / RDFa
  • Microsoft based technologies:
    • C#
    • ASP.NET
    • Winforms
    • SQL Server
    • nUnit
  • Development methodologies:
    • Agile Development
    • Object Oriented Design
    • Pair programming
    • Test driven development

In addition I am active in the free software community having created or actively contributed to several projects (see my Github page). I am especially active in the Python community as a member of the Python Software Foundation, the originator of the London Python Code Dojo, and as one of the organisers of the annual PyconUK conference. I regularly speak at conferences and other tech-related events (including PyconUK, Europython, OpenTech, Techhub and various "open source" related meet-ups). Some of my presentations can be found online. I also help organise and take part in the various NHSHackdays and some of the programming-in-education efforts (Computing at School, Python-related teacher outreach and the education track for PyconUK). Sometimes I have fun with mobile based augmented reality. :-)

I am a published author having co-authored Learning jQuery Deferreds (with Terry Jones) and Getting Started with Fluidinfo (with Nicholas J.Radcliffe) for O'Reilly and Associates. I have contributed both technical and general interest articles to the Guardian's Developer Blog and wrote articles for the UK version of Computer Shopper Magazine as a student to help finance my MSc. I occasionally write blog posts on this site and sometimes write as a guest blogger elsewhere (such as for O'Reilly Europe).

I was elected a Fellow of the RSA in 2012 and, as such, intend to use the opportunity to promote programming education through work done at PyconUK.

My current passion is the drogulus, a programmable peer-to-peer data store that I've hacked together in my free time. It appears people may be interested in it.

Finally, I am still actively involved in music making; regularly performing in amateur orchestral concerts and occasionally appearing as a concerto soloist (I used to play the tuba professionally and I also play the piano and organ). Sometimes I am persuaded to compose and arrange music for specific occasions or for friends.


Employment History

Freelance Developer,
Tollervey Ltd, Global (via the Internet)
October 2013 - Present
 

I'm currently doing several things:

  • Working as a freelance developer with clients such as NHS England, Leeds Data Mill, Stochastic Solutions and FryIT.
  • Working on my pet-project du jour - the drogulus.
  • Finishing off a book about deferreds in Javascript (yes, another one).
  • Planning various other fun and interesting things with several buddies that may-or-may-not see the light of day (watch this space).
Freelance Developer,
Guardian Media Group, London
September 2012 - September 2013
 

I was part of a small agile team maintaining the Guardian's online dating site, Soulmates (the most profitable part of the Guardian).

In addition to maintaining the Django based front-end I worked with a MongoDB database and on client side HTML, CSS and Javascript including first steps for making the site responsive. I had some exposure to the Scala based API layer as well as involvement in various dev-ops related tasks and accomplishments.

I was involved in sprint planning, cross team retrospectives and various other aspects of agile methodology. Furthermore, I was pro-active in pair programming with colleagues, gave presentations on TDD to the wider digital development team and took part in various hackathons.

I even had time to write several articles for the Guardian Developer blog.

Technologies used:

  • Python / Django
  • Javascript (mainly jQuery)
  • Scala
  • Web: REST, HTML5 & CSS
  • MongoDB
  • SOLR
Guy #3,
Fluidinfo, London / Barcelona / New York
April 2010 - August 2012
 

I was the third person to join Fluidinfo - a start-up backed by Betaworks, Esther Dyson and Tim O'Reilly.

Fluidinfo is an openly writeable, shared data store based on objects, tags and values exposed via a RESTful API. It allows anyone to store, organize, query and share data about anything. For this reason, some people call it a social data platform while others have described it as, "a database with the heart of a wiki".

I was involved in most aspects of the business:- front and back-end development, creation of client libraries for Python, Javascript, .NET and Android, presenting to developers, liaising with and supporting users, writing documentation, writing a book, answering queries from the press and acting as a technical contact for potential clients.

Technologies used:

Software Consultant,
Fry-IT, London, UK
January 2009 - April 2010
 

Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health - ASSET

I was lead developer on a Django based web-application for internal use within the RCPCH for gathering assessments and reporting on the progress of trainee paediatricians in the UK. I was involved in all aspects of the project including client-facing requirements capture, writing technical reports, architecture design, coding, testing, deployment and client support. The client reported that this was the first IT project they have been involved in where the product was delivered on time, under-budget and better than specified.

Technologies used:

  • Python (Django)
  • PostgreSQL / SQLite
  • Web: HTML, CSS, Javascript, jQuery & Ajax
  • PDF reporting (ReportLab)
Software Developer (Contractor)
Barclays Capital Ltd, London, UK
March 2007 - September 2008
 

I worked as a software engineer within the Development Tools team with responsibility for designing and delivering bespoke software solutions (both web and desktop based):

  • ASP.NET / C# / SQL Server 2005 based website for administering a self-service knowledge base to support help-desk colleagues.
  • Sharepoint web-parts that expose a product support knowledge base and automate the generation of support tickets within a Jira based issue tracker via SOAP based API.
  • C# based library / framework for working with Perforce SCM product.
  • Winforms / .NET based desktop client tools to enhance the Perforce SCM client GUI (implementation of shelving / un-shelving, "smart" integration / merging, various performance improvements).

Other responsibilities included helping to administer and support the various services and applications that the team provided to "clients" within the bank:

  • Sharepoint based knowledge base
  • Jira issue tracking system
  • Confluence Enterprise Wiki
  • Perforce SCM
  • MediaWiki based team wiki

Technologies used:

  • C# / ASP.NET / ADO.NET (2.0-3.5)
  • SQL Server 2000 / 2005
  • Sharepoint Server 2007
  • Perforce (source control)
  • Winforms, Click-once & InstallShield
  • XHTML / Javascript / CSS
  • Web Services / SOAP
  • nUnit
  • Visual Studio 2003 / 2005
Software Consultant
Bis-Web Ltd (Contract), Oxfordshire, UK
November 2005 - October 2006
 

I was lead developer / architect on two contracts:

  • Council of Europe - Both the public and internal facing aspects of a bespoke web-based recruitment application for the Council of Europe. I was involved in all aspects of the project including client-facing requirements capture, writing technical reports, architecture design, coding, testing, writing documentation and deployment. I also developed an Object-Relational database abstraction layer and various generic "helper" classes for internationalisation and the production of PDF documents for this project.
  • Rockpools - A web-based financials package for Rockpools to be integrated into their own legacy bespoke CMS (written in a mixture of C# and VB.NET). I was involved in all aspects of the project including client-facing requirements capture, architecture design, coding, testing, documentation and deployment.

Both projects used the following technologies:

  • C# (ASP.NET / ADO.NET)
  • SQL Server
  • Javascript
  • HTML & CSS

In addition, I provided consultation to Bis-Web on the agile development methodology, coding standards and best practices, improvements in source control (using Subversion), testing with nUnit, Lucene search technology and the hiring / testing of potential new software developers (I wrote their practical tests and took part in and advised upon several job interviews). I also mentored some of their new and junior developers.

Software Developer (Artificial Intelligence)
Xmonic Ltd, Oxfordshire, UK
December 2003 - October 2005
 

I was part of a small start-up team that developed a web based business tool (RM3) for strategic account managers in large multi-national businesses. In addition to web-application development I was responsible for an expert system and natural language conversational agent.

Technologies used:

  • C# (ASP.NET / ADO.NET)
  • SQL Server
  • Winforms
  • Javascript, HTML & CSS
  • nUnit
Freelance Writer
Computer Shopper Magazine, Shropshire, UK
August 2002 - May 2003
 

I wrote several articles and reviews on music hardware and software, Linux and IT in education whilst studying for my MSc in Computing.

Head of Music / Freelance Music Teacher
UK State Education, Berkshire, UK
September 1996 - August 2002
 

I was a head of an inner-city Secondary (High School) music department and then a freelance music teacher. I organised / took part in:

  • classroom teaching for students aged 11-18
  • concerts and drama productions
  • various adult education theory and piano courses
  • instrumental lessons from kindergarten to university level
  • conducting, composing and arranging
Freelance Musician
Self Employed, London, UK
September 1993 - 2002
 

Performed on / took part in:

  • national and local radio and television
  • most of U.K.'s major concert halls and venues
  • various C.D.s as a session musician and tours of U.K., Europe and Asia
  • Capital Brass Quintet (founding member)
  • composing and arranging

Although I no longer work professionally I still play at a high level (I was the soloist in a performance of Vaughan-Williams's Tuba concerto in June 2008).


Education & Affiliations

September 1991 - July 1994
 
September 1995 - August 1996
 
MA Philosophy of Education
Institute of Education, London University
September 1999 - August 2002
 
Member of the Philosophy Dept's School of Advanced Study
Birkbeck College, London University
September 2000 - August 2001
 
MSc Computing
Wolverhampton University
September 2002 - October 2003
 
Elected April 2012
 
MCP (Microsoft)
April 2005
 

References available upon request.