Moving On From Forward

After 2.5 years at Forward I am moving on.

The time there has been great, I worked with some of the smartest people I know on some interesting projects. Things that are now core to me I used for the first time there - Hadoop, Hive, HBase, Node.js, Puppet, Clojure and I got a lot of exposure to ideas that have changed the way I think about solving problems. Working on a system handling 100s of millions of requests a day in pretty much all regions of EC2, merging 2 VMware infrastructures, trying to make sense of terabytes of data in Hadoop, speeding up and moving a bunch of high traffic action sports sites to EC2 in dealing with what was nicknamed the Greek bailout of tech debt, stream processing in Esper and Storm, being able to host DevOps meetups and the Clojure Dojos there, getting involved in the Coder Dojo, becoming a trustee of the Forward Foundation, plus the sum of all those tiny interactions that being in a place full of people who know more than you and are keen to share permits. My team in particular - fierce smart, results focused, metrics driven and with a wonderful shared simplicity aesthetic. I will miss it.

I am moving to FutureLearn, not much to see at the moment but an exciting take on the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) concept. Owned by the Open University and building on their 40+ years of distance learning experience, partnering with the British Museum, the British Library and dozens of our top universities. I think it has a good chance to be a big part of the growing MOOC ecosystem. Anyone that knows me will know this is exciting and massively aligned with my values and interests. At the interview they spoke about pedagogy and engagement and really impressed me with their ambition, I will work hard to help realise it.

MOOC kind of started with the AI and ML courses last year and the two companies that came from them, Coursera and Udacity, are doing a great job, as is EdX but I’ve been following along with things from MIT’s OpenCourseware for years and lots of universities have always shared resources online. I think there is space to make something a little different, increase engagement and we have some amazing partners so keep an eye on us.