I have been passionate about programming since my first computer course instructor, Colin Patrick Brown, showed me how to calculate the binary representation of numbers. He then showed me hexadecimal, and octal. Mind. Blown. That course covered JSP, SSADM, Flow Schemas, COBOL, a smidgeon of C. Such a great course. That was just before the Millennium. I decided to take my knowledge further by starting a BSC (hons) in Multimedia Computing at Northumbria University. That course was great because I could use the experience I had with Video and Animation and combine it with programming.
The course was a "sandwich course" meaning there was a years placement for the third year. I got a job with the School of the Built Environment at the same University and had a great time. I still have friends from there today.
After graduating I got a job with the University web team, led by a great guy called Christ Thompson. He was the one who got me into CSS and semantics. I learned a lot from him. As well as a great programmer called Paul Diston who taught me a lot too. When I say I got into semantics and CSS I mean I really got into accessibility and best practices. Unfortunately the manager was not as forward thinking as I was so I found it was time to move on (both Chris and Paul had moved on).
Next step was working for the Design Group. They did a lot of work for Proctor and Gamble so I worked on some cool projects. I wasn't as famous as washing powder, but I did build a site for Lenor "in the pink" fabric softener. That was a great one. That came well under deadline, quality code too. The company was an old fashioned design studio for print unfortunately, so they didn't push the digital side of things.
The next opportunity for me was a contract role with the Home Housing group. What a great bunch of people they are. I had such a great time with them and did a lot of really interesting work. I learned a lot from Lee McIvor who was the lead dev.
That was the start of my contract career. I went on to doing sites for Nigel Wright recruitment, IMAS, Benfield Motors, Profero, BBC WW, LBi, Yell.com, Macmillan English Campus, DK/Penguin (Idiotsguides.com, dkfindout.com)