I am an insightful and versatile web developer and designer with extensive commercial and freelance experience working with an array of programming languages, interface design approaches, and UX/UI methodologies.
Over the course of my career in web development, I have worked for a number of interesting companies on a variety of prominent websites and projects (see my employment history below for details).
I love to improve my knowledge and expand my skillset, whether I’m working on front-end design, server-side code, or database development. As I'm always keen to learn about new technologies, languages, and frameworks, my ideal position would allow me to continue my growth as a developer while putting my current abilities to good use.
I'm currently working as a web developer for Helical Levity, a security research firm.
17th Oct 2017 - Current
Helical Levity is a high-end security research firm developing education tools that identifies and develops new talent, aims to solve the skills shortage in cyber security and educate the future generation of security professionals, whilst continuing to push the boundaries of computer security research.
My work at Helical Levity includes both server-side and front-end development, though primarily focusing on server-side.
Some awewome things I've been involved with:
- Helping to build, test and improve Cyber Discovery (https://www.joincyberdiscovery.com/), HM Government's Cyber Schools Programme.
- Building and maintaining the website for CyberThreat (https://www.cyberthreat2018.com/), a cyber security conference hosted by the National Cyber Security Centre and SANS Institute.
- Helping to build the project skeleton used for most development projects, based on Zend Expressive.
6th May 2013 - 16th Oct 2017
thefirstclub is a worldwide reward points and loyalty program platform for digital content. It allows clients to provide a platform where customers can spend reward and/or loyalty points to redeem against music, games, software, ebooks, audio books, emagazines, mobile apps, movies and more.
My work at thefirstclub includes both server-side and front end development, as well as occasional design projects. Clients using our service include Wells Fargo (https://gofarrewardsdigital.wf.com/), IHG (https://digitalrewards.ihg.com), Marriott Hotels, Missouri Lottery (via Scientific Games) and many more.
My day-to-day tasks and responsibilities generally involved:
- Developing new features and improvements for the platform.
- Carrying out regular testing and debugging.
- Interacting with web servers at the terminal/command prompt level.
- Managing servers within AWS (limited exposure).
- Communicating requirements, issues, updates and/or timelines to clients.
More specifically, I have been responsible for (or assisted with) the following:
- Handling redesigns for thefirstclub and client websites using custom templating solutions.
- Ensuring new designs are responsive and mobile-friendly and meet client requirements.
- Keeping client websites in line with all applicable accessibility standards.
- Updating content and improving its provision, which involves:
- Adding new front-end content.
- Communicating with provider APIs to facilitate point redemption and content supply.
- Using automated scripts to feed URLs or files into the content catalog.
- Ensuring that relevant content is available in each country or region.
- Rolling out and updating client sites, which involves:
- Setting up new sites within appropriate frameworks and server configurations.
- Developing SSO processes enabling clients to deliver users to their rewards.
- Communicating with client APIs to report point spending and track redemptions.
- Tweaking front-end templates or developing new ones to meet client requirement.
- Overhauling a complex system that supplies appropriate translations, which involves:
- Implementing speed and caching improvements.
- Using various tools and tricks to improve flexibility and ease of use.
- Using device detection (mobile and desktop) to allow for different user experiences and pre-filtered mobile app content listing, and to avoid issues with trying to purchase and download content on incompatible devices.
- Implementing a custom session handler to prevent session file locking/blocking and page request queues.
- Maintaining and updating an aging framework to ensure compatibility with new versions of PHP and attempt to keep it competitive as new technologies emerge.
- Incrementally moving the service to a new codebase built on the Slim PHP micro framework.
21st Nov 2011 - 25th Apr 2013
McCann Bristol is part of McCann Worldgroup, the world's largest advertising and communications network.
My work at McCann consisted of a mixture of server-side and front end development for a range of clients including AXA, HiQ (www.hiqonline.co.uk), Gnodal, Brut and G Plan Upholstery (www.gplan.co.uk) among others.
My day-to-day tasks and responsibilities for them generally involved:
- Developing sections of back-end code for various websites and functions.
- Improving existing code to reduce size, raise performance, and resolve issues.
- Implementing designs for new content, features, and site elements.
- Handling small one-man website development projects.
Noteworthy tasks I carried out for them include:
- Implementing responsive design for both existing and new company and client websites.
- Caching data retrieved from API calls to improve performance and avoid issues with 'rate limits' for various sites including Facebook, Twitter, and Google.
- Developing Facebook apps, including the authorisation process and user integration (requesting data, posting to timelines).
- Implementing an easy process for posting photos to the McCann Bristol website (originally planned for just Instagram, then expanded for general functionality).
20th Jun 2011 - 18th Nov 2011
Problem Free primarily provides online survey, poll and quiz services, these being booroo and free online surveys (www.freeonlinesurveys.com).
My work at Problem Free included:
- Designing and building a tool for creating reports based on data collected via quizzes. It allows users to add charts displaying different data aggregates and contextualise them with headings, text blocks and data grids, all of which can be resized and repositioned on the fly.
- Updating areas of booroo.com to better display information and improve user interaction through the addition of neater design structure and the use of jQuery and AJAX.
16th Aug 2010 - 17th Jun 2011
Brightpearl (www.brightpearl.com) is an innovative and unique company providing a web-based system for accounting, CRM, stock control, invoicing and online shop for small businesses.
My work at Brightpearl included:
- Designing and catering the Brightpearl corporate website for US audiences (unfortunately no longer available to view) in support of the company’s move into the US market, heavily focusing on SEO for maximum visibility. The initial build used Wordpress for easy updating and automatic SEO functionality, though the design was subsequently updated.
- Designing bespoke client websites using Brightpearl's template/theming system
- Designing and building themes for the Brightpearl website system.
- Adapting existing designs to themes for the Brightpearl website system, whether supplied by clients or sourced from alternative systems.
27th Oct 2008 - 2nd Aug 2010
S-cool is a market-leader in providing numerous educational products and services, the most notable being the S-cool revision website which is the UK's leading commercial revision website.
My work at S-cool included:
- Taking sole responsibility for the design, development and maintenance of S-cool's revision (www.s-cool.co.uk), corporate and "S-zone" websites using HTML, PHP, and jQuery.
- For the "S-zone" site, assisting with the creation of the CakePHP-based content management system and writing front-end PHP code.
- For the revision site, creating AJAX-driven pages (including competition pages and CMS components) as well as various microsites.
- Conducting basic Linux server management and configuration.
- Modifying and controlling host files, user management and FTP access for all S-cool sites.
- Carrying out general site maintenance including debugging and creating MySQL backups.
- Assisting with systems administration work, including server management (IIS, active directory, exchange), helpdesk support, and .NET project releases.
1st Aug 2006 - 24th Oct 2008
Edwards (previously BOC Edwards)
My work at Edwards involved researching and creating documents (mainly concerning instruction and maintenance) for use with the abatement systems the company produced. Though I was not a web developer, my duties did include creating documents for the company intranet, so I was writing HTML and CSS code on a daily basis.
1st Jan 2005 - Today
Web Designer / Web Developer
Ever since I began my career as a web developer, I’ve done occasional pieces of freelance work to sharpen and expand my skillset.
My freelance work encompasses:
- Various projects for Mason Zimbler, working with HTML and CSS, slicing and building pages from PSD files, and editing designs in accordance with client requests.
- Makeup By Amy (see portfolio) - A website for Amy Naughalty, a freelance makeup artist. Written using PHP, interacting with a MySQL database and managed by a small CMS.
- Geodeasy (see portfolio) - A website for Geodeasy dome hire, a company offering geodesic domes for hire.
- Illusions (see portfolio) - A website for illusions hairdressing, a Bristol-based hair salon.
The majority of my freelance work can by viewed in my portfolio (www.alexfinney.co.uk).