Greg Jackman has been a software developer with Stratos for over four years making him one of our longest serving team members. Over that time he has worked on numerous projects for clients such as Electionz, The Nanny Company, CropLogic, ECAN and CDHB to name a few. Greg’s proactive attitude towards projects coupled with his fantastic programming skills have made him a client favourite.
“I’ve always enjoyed working with computers, playing around programming in BBC BASIC. My first computer was a Commodore 64. My friends all had Spectrums but I went with Commodore. Those were the days, we’d load a game from a tape, watch the crazy colored lines on a screen for twenty minutes and then cry because it didn’t load properly” said Greg, one of the software developers at Stratos.
“After a while, it became apparent that that was all that I wanted to do. It was my childhood interest that evolved into a career. I studied at Durham University and did a joint honours degree in Maths and Computer Science. My first job was with Data Interchange. They did EDI or Electronic Data Interchange messaging mainly for the automotive industry. It enabled just in time ordering for automated production lines.
“One of the projects I did with Stratos recently involved a system sending and receiving EDI messages. I thought, I’m going to have go back to my roots and write something to parse these messages. The first standalone commercial software program I ever wrote was an XML parser. These days you’d never even think of doing that, because there are so many open source ones available. Even .NET framework has one built in.
“After Data Interchange I worked for a hedge fund, writing graphing tools for traders. It was an interesting place to work, incomprehensible, the large numbers we were dealing with. There was 500 million US dollars under management there and each day people would be saying “Thumbs up, the fund was worth $5m more” or “Thumbs down, $10m less.” We developed in a Unix environment, writing in Python.”
“I was lucky enough to work for a company who adopted .NET framework when it was in version 1. We wrote in C#. Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of extensions to the language. They’re up to C# 6 now and with each new version, new concepts and features have been introduced which have improved things. These days, you write a lot less code, you tend to glue things together a lot more.
“I enjoy work that involves complex algorithms. We did a job for the Australian Elections Company that involved counting votes using the Single Transferable Vote system. Programming the algorithm for that, I really enjoyed. It’s well defined and kind of complex to get your head around.
“About 10 years ago, Heather and I set off travelling around the world, through North America, South America, the Pacific Islands and then ended up in New Zealand for nine months. We loved it. We went back to the UK a couple of times, but it never felt the same after being here. In 2011 we came here permanently. We love the people, the mountains and the weather, not necessarily in that order!
“I love the mountains but now that I’ve got children I don’t get up there as much as I should. The outdoor opportunities here are incredible compared to what you can get in the UK. I’ve done a lot of introductory alpine climbing and I’d like to do more.
“My kids love climbing. Take them anywhere and they’ll find something to climb. I’m looking forward to taking them to rock climbing walls when they’re old enough.
“I’m also looking forward to when Stratos moves back into the city. We used to live right next to Hagley Park and I used to walk to work. It’s hard to navigate your way around now because all the landmarks have gone, but it’s great to finally see the city being transformed through the rebuild.”