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Phillip Taylor, Former Pupil

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Chris Norman (1989-1996)

Chris spoke to pupils about web and app design at the Year 9 Careers Afternoon in March

What were your favourite subjects and who were your favourite teachers at School?

I enjoyed languages and the humanities, although I was very interested in sciences, if not terribly good at them!

Mr Ash my Russian teacher was a big influence on me and led to my choice of degree, and ultimately to my career (if somewhat circuitously!).

What further study have you undertaken since leaving School?

I studied Russian and Philosophy at Birmingham, followed by a number of software development qualifications throughout my career.

How did you progress to your current role and what does it involve?

I started in software development as a hobby, working on small projects with friends.  While at university a friend asked me to do some work on a commercial project which sounded interesting.  From there I kept working on what I found interesting and learning what I needed as I went.  I've always had an entrepreneurial streak, so working with start-ups through my own consultancy company was the next step. 

Who/what influenced your career choice?

Really it's been sparked by my owner interest in technology and the Internet, although I do credit my Russian teacher, Mr Ash, with making me see the possibilities of the web – he showed me how to access Russian newspapers online, which at the time, blew my mind!

What skills are essential for your role?

Problem solving predominantly, software development is really about finding a problem and then solving it!

Working with customers and clients takes a lot of tact and diplomacy, so people skills are very important. 

With a field as rapidly changing as mine a love of learning is probably the most important; without that, skills become obsolete very rapidly. 

What are the biggest challenges?

Working in a fast-changing field can be very challenging, requiring ongoing learning and horizon scanning throughout my career.

Who/what has been your biggest inspiration?

I admire the drive of people like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg.

What do you consider to be your greatest career achievement?

I developed a piece of software for events and hospitality management which successfully ran projects that supported the World Cup, Champions League football and other large scale sponsorships for clients such as Vodafone and BP. 

How did Bolton School help you to be successful in your chosen career?

The confidence gained from my education at Bolton School has allowed me to have confidence in my decisions, and to pursue opportunities that were not immediately obvious. 

Why did you offer your assistance to School?

Bolton School has given me a lot, and without it I would absolutely not be where I am.  It's only fair to give something back to the next generation.  It's also very rewarding!

Did you enjoy talking to the pupils?

Absolutely, they were a very engaged group of young men who asked some very pertinent questions.  Hopefully we'll see some future software developers and entrepreneurs in the bunch!

Chris gave an insight into his interesting career in software design

Chris gave an insight into his interesting career in software design