Telephone: +44 (0) 1473 273621
Mobile: +44 (0) 7734 592693

Curriculum Vitae ~ Resumé

62 Tomline Road
Suffolk IP3 8DB

Availability NowDate Feb 2020


Web sites and links

Work History, and some things I have learned from it

Sep 2017 - Jan 2020: Lecturer in Computing: at University of Suffolk, Ipswich
Lecturing at a university is a step up from my previous teaching experience, exposing me to the details of how a modern educational institution is organised and involving me in cutting edge research as well as sharing my experience and skills with students.

Feb 1995 - present Director and Senior Consultant at Efficacy Solutions Limited, Ipswich
Running my own consultancy has taught me a huge amount about business, including managing finances, obtaining and dealing with customers, positioning and marketing services, planning, training and a whole lot more. Over the years I have sold services to local and overseas customers ranging from individual users to large businesses such as BT. I have worked on both fixed price and time-and-materials basis, survived through dry times and made tough calls about which prospects to disappoint when things got too busy. I have worked directly with customers, and also through partners and intermediaries.

From a practical perspective I gained experience in a wide range of technologies, how to determine and recommend appropriate choices, and how to ensure that what is needed is delivered on-time and working. I have learned that my particular aptitude is in finding, communicating, and realizing holistic, innovative, convergent, solutions and that a customer or employer will get the most value from involving me in all phases and aspects of a project or business.

1997 - 2016 Regional Director at Steve Jackson Games volunteer demonstration team
A demonstration team is a marketing and educational function, and in my time with this team I have represented Steve Jackson Games at many conferences, conventions, games stores and clubs. I have absorbed the detail of preparation and organisation as well as how to present well and interact with a wide range of potential customers, often over very long working days. My particular responsibility since the launch of the volunteer demonstration programme has been to run the European operation, spread across several countries. Just as with JavaRanch, coordinating and motivating volunteers is a complex process requiring subtle skills to get the best from very diverse people.

1999 - present Moderator, Mentor, Reviewer and "Sheriff" at
JavaRanch has over 500,000 unique visitors per month, and is one of the most popular Java-related web sites in the world. I was brought on to the project at the start to help scale the site beyond a "one man band". Working with JavaRanch I learned how to build a successful, effective and scalable community, including attracting and retaining visitors and mentoring large numbers of volunteer staff.

Sep 2006 - Apr 2009Senior Software Developer at io global limited, Ipswich
While working at io I was exposed to the world of the venture capital startup, and naturally learned a lot from it. Key points included the value of finding and exploiting a precise market niche; the importance of focus and completing one thing before addressing another; the danger of growing too fast and the importance of hiring versatile, capable people with a record of getting things done.

At io I built a reputation as a creative thought-leader who delivers solid, working systems on time. I was instrumental in the architecture, design and implementation of the web and mobile portals for existing customers, and had significant design input to key software and interfaces throughout the rest of the business. Most significantly I drove the technical vision of potential new directions for io products and services. This helped me to build an understanding of how to engage, maintain and channel the drive and passion of my colleagues, even in the face of difficult personal and organisational circumstances.

Nov 2002 - Mar 2006: Lecturer in Computing: at Suffolk College, Ipswich
Taking a job as a teacher was a step calculated to broaden my skills portfolio. In several of my consulting contracts I had spotted an opening to sell training services alongside my more usual solution design and implementation. However, I found that this was a difficult sell without paperwork to prove my abilities, so I determined to gain some appropriate qualifications. I was able to negotiate a lecturer position with Suffolk College while they sponsored me through both a City & Guilds teaching and training qualification, and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education.

Sep 1994 - Jan 1995: Systems Manager at Telemarketing Link Ltd, Slough
At TML I saw that work at a local level can easily be masked or counteracted by larger organizational policy. TML was the telemarketing arm of a larger advertising business. Its primary purpose was to enable the parent group to sweeten lucrative contracts by offering a complete marketing solution. The parent board appeared completely uninterested in the effectiveness or otherwise of the telemarketing operation, and would frequently exaggerate capacity or commit to impossible deadlines to make a sale.

My job at TML was to run the systems department, managing four staff and all the computer and telephone equipment. I put in four months of ridiculous hours for the whole team to get things into shape. I learned that I am not afraid to work hard and use everything I have to improve the situation, but need to feel pride in my work. Eventually I decided that this was not the job for me, and left to start my own consultancy business.

Apr 1990 - Sep 1994: Software Engineer / Purchasing Manager at Lindos Electronics, Suffolk.
While working at Lindos I learned that it is possible (though often difficult and slow) to grow a successful company from nothing. The founders had never taken any loans or investment, but instead scrimped and saved to build prototypes and gain initial sales. Keys to success included a clarity of vision, a niche market, and a very small product range.

I was initially brought in to develop some software, but soon learned that in a small company the most valuable people are the ones who can turn a hand to many jobs. We were having problems with stock levels and running out of components, so I first took on writing stock control and re-ordering software, then became purchasing manager with overall responsibility for purchasing the hundreds of different components needed by the products, controlling costs of around £100 000 pa, and ensuring that nothing ran out. At Lindos I learned some important sales and marketing skills, including writing copy and producing collateral, presenting seminars and lectures on product capabilities and representing the company at trade shows and customer visits.

Jul 1986 - Mar 1988: Programmer at Kuma Computers Ltd, Pangbourne, Berks.
In my first "real" job after university I learned that clever selling can often completely outweigh the work in producing products. As well as producing and selling relatively successful software for several of the home computers of the time, the company made a lot of money by negotiating favourable partnership terms with hardware manufacturers. In one case, we had been contracted to make a minimum of 10000 copies of software for a machine which was eventually never launched. Money for nothing!

Sep 1983 - Jun 1986: Student at University of Warwick.
At university I learned the core skills which would form the backbone of my career for at least the next twenty years. I also learned my first lessons in being an entrepreneur. Unlike my contemporaries I received no grants or loans, but paid my way using a variety of small business opportunities.

Jan 1983 - Sep 1983: Electronics Assistant at Marconi Space and Defence Systems, Camberley, Surrey.
While working for Marconi I learned a lot about the differences between military life and the world of business. In particular I learned that jobs and roles can be shaped as well as just applied for. After I left the navy, I sent out letters to potential employers asking for recommendations on degree courses. Someone at Marconi was obviously impressed with my approach, and made a job for me. I also learned the value of persistence, in applying to at least a dozen employers to eventually get the result I wanted.

Jan 1980 - Oct 1982: Weapons Engineer Officer: Royal Navy
During my navy basic training I pushed my own physical and mental abilities to the limit. I learned how to lead people in situations ranging from boredom to extreme danger. I also learned a valuable lesson about redundancy. Over half the crew aboard a typical warship are not actually needed to run the ship during normal operation. They are present solely as "hot spares" in case the ship and crew take damage. Unlike spare parts, people can not be simply stored - they need to be motivated and kept active. I quickly found that I have an aptitude for simplifying and improving efficiency, something which did not sit well with providing busy-work for cannon-fodder.

Technical Skills

Programming Languages:
Java (12 yrs), J2EE / Servlets / JSP (9 yrs), Web Services (4 yrs), HTML / JavaScript (5 yrs), REST (4 yrs), JSON (4 yrs), JDBC/SQL (7 yrs), JMS (5 years), XML/XSLT (4 years), C++ (11 yrs), shell script, AWK, Pascal, APL, FORTH, etc. (2-3 yrs each), Ruby (2 yrs), Python (6mo)
Development environments, tools and methodologies:
Unix/Linux (12 yrs), DOS/Windows (7 yrs), JUnit (6 yrs), Mojasef/Stringtree (6 yrs), Version Control (CVS/Subversion 5 yrs, Git 2 yrs), Eclipse (6 yrs), Ant (4 yrs), Maven (1 yr), ActiveMQ (1yr), Test-Driven-Development (6 yrs), Object-Oriented Design (12 yrs), Open Source (6 yrs), Agile (Extreme Programming 5 yrs, Scrum 2 yrs) Oracle (2 yrs), MySQL (4 yrs), MS SQL Server (6 mo), RFID (1 yr), SmartIntegrator (6 mo)
Industry Qualifications:
Sun Certified Java Programmer
Academic Qualifications:
PgCAP and FHEA (University of Suffolk, 2019)
MSc in Computing for Commerce and Industry, (Open University, 2010)
PgDip in Computing for Commerce and Industry, (Open University, 2008)
PGCE in adult and post-compulsory learning (University of East Anglia, 2005)
BSc (hons) in Computer Systems Engineering (University of Warwick, 1986, 2.ii)
City & Guilds 7407, Teaching Adults in Further Education (Suffolk College 2003)

My secondary education was at Farnborough Grammar School, where I obtained 'O' levels in Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, English Language, English Literature, French, German, Technical Drawing and General Studies and then 'A' levels in Mathematics, Physics and Design and Technology. During the Design and Technology course I was part of a three-man team that designed and built an automatic lawnmower which appeared on BBC TV's 'Tomorrow's World'.

At university the honours degree in Computer Systems Engineering covered the theory and practice of software, electronics and the interface between them - in short, all the most useful parts of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering. In the final year I specialised in software but still retained a good grounding in electronic design.

After university I have continued my education, taking evening courses 'for fun', and have gained 'A' levels in English, History, German, Accounting, Philosophy and Geography as well as taking courses in Advanced Driving and Video Making. I have also completed programmes of FE and HE teacher training and a postgraduate degree with the Open University.

Personal Details

Full NameFrancis Kenneth Carver