I'm not usually one for indulging in posts about myself, but I really enjoyed reading Remy Sharp’s short history on his site when I was starting out, so the blame is put squarely on his shoulders as the inspiration for this post...!
So, hello - I'm Ashley Watson-Nolan. I currently work as a Senior Web UI Engineer for JUST EAT, within the International Platform Improvements team.
I'm originally from South Wales, more accurately a little village named Caerleon pretty close to the border, which is my excuse for having no trace of a Welsh accent (other than after a few pints). From an early age, my passion has been digital – games were my first love and this has evolved into a passion for all visually compelling aspects of digital (insert your own joke here).
I left home in 2002 to study Computer Science at the University of Bath. During my 3rd year at uni I got my first real job in the industry; a placement year at The Learning Eye. As part of a relatively small team, I got to work on some really great projects, creating learning materials for Toyota, Lexus and BMW. I also got my first taste of 3D, playing around with modelling effects in 3D Studio Max.
Realising that work was about to shackle me to the responsibilities of real–life upon graduation, I decided to do the sensible thing and set off for 10 months of travelling around Canada and North America instead, which included spending 5 months in Whistler pretending to be able to ski.
When I returned home, I discovered I needed money to pay for things like food, and so fell into a job as a PHP and SQL junkie working for a fairly unpopular insurance price comparison website. My dream at the time was to move to London as soon as I could and work agency side. 9 months later I got my chance, being hired by Precedent; an established agency based near Liverpool Street.
I learned much of my grounding in front-end development during my 3 years at Precedent, before deciding that I wanted to focus solely on more specialised front-end work, moving to Momentum in April 2011. I got to work on some incredibly innovative campaigns at Momentum in the 12 months I was there, including projects for Xbox and Sony PS3, as well as making full use of having Rowntree's as one fo our client’s by eating my own weight in fruit pastilles and jelly tots.
I then moved on to TMW as a Senior Creative Technologist. My role involved me finding cool ways of fitting creative tech into client work, as well as ensuring other departments across the agency were better educated about front-end technologies and how it could help them.
During my 3 years at TMW, Zander Martineau and myself helped grow the Creative Technology team from just the two of us, to a team of 6 developers. Clients I worked with included the BBC, Unilever (for brands such as Lynx and Magnum), and Virgin Trains amongst others.
That brings you up-to-date to my role now at JUST EAT, where it’s my job to help improve the platform and processes that the company uses across all of JUST EAT’s International properties.
I feel incredibly lucky to have worked alongside people who I consider to be among the most talented in our industry. I'm still as excited, if not more so, by the state of the web today and the challenges it offers up.
The web community has provided so many free resources to me since I got into the industry, which was part of the original reason for creating this blog. Hopefully it will help me to give a little back; and if you find something useful on here that you end up using, especially in production, do get in touch; I’d love to hear about it :)
Article posted on the 24th September 2012
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