I’m in a gap, hopefully a brief one, between gigs at the moment. The work I’ve been doing for the past few months, improving the accessibility of a Windows desktop application for people with visual impairments, has been pretty interesting - I’ll certainly never work on a user interface in the same way again - and it was a good team to be a part of.
As I look forward to the next few months and whatever work comes along, there’s also the JezUK 2019/20 Winter Tour to think about. My thoughts naturally turned not to whatever the hell I was going to talk about, but my bloody speaker biography.
Speaker bios are, I’ve always found, ridiculously hard to write. I’ve long loathed the X started programming Y years ago template, and I’m instantly suspicious of anyone who describes themself as an expert (curiously, even if I know this to be true). In recent years, I’ve toyed with off-track things like Jez Higgins was 2017 Player of the Season for Kings Heath Hockey Club Mens IIIs and Jez is … so dedicated to the pursuit of software craftsmanship he once cycled to the conference from Birmingham. Both these things are true, and I like the way they have the kind of minor success anyone could achieve, but they really only work in a context where people already have an idea of who I am.
As the job wound down, I took advantage of our Slack channel to crowdsource (groupsource maybe, there were only six of us) my speaker bio with my colleagues. We came up with
Jez Higgins is a freelance software grandad. He mucks in with programming, lends a hand with build & deployment processes, provides a leg up with TDD practices, keeps an eye on the young 'uns so they don’t fall down the old mine shaft, that kind of thing.
which I’m pretty pleased with. I was also given a more corporate version
Jez Higgins is a long-standing freelance software professional. He gets his hands dirty with programming on a daily basis, has no problem improving build and deployment systems, and was doing TDD long before the term was on everyone’s lips. He is a mentor for the less experienced, trying to prevent them from falling down traditional software crevasses. He has seen the good and bad of software development throughout his career and keeps a pragmatic view on getting things done.
We finished the job on Friday. It’s only Wednesday and I miss my team already.
In the event of misfortune at Agile on the Beach On Tour - Birmingham Tech Week on the October 9th, I’m the emergency stand-by speaker. Ideally, nothing goes wrong, I get a good day out, and we all go home happy.
Over at nor(DEV):con over in Norwich next February, I’ll be serving up A Mouthful of C++, a short, probably quite intense, C++ taster workshop for people who already program in another language. This is something of a new thing, and I’ll be fretting about for a month and won’t stop until it’s done. nor(DEV):con, while typographically stylised, is a lovely little conference. Great price too.