My name is Ian Thomas, but my close friends all call me Swarley. It started years ago – something to do with an episode of “How I Met Your Mother” – and it just stuck. Ironically I don’t even watch that show! More recently they’ve started calling me “Lendon” – a hybrid of Sheldon and Leonard from “The Big Bang Theory”. I think I’ll stick with Swarley.
I started life by studying Economics, but I’ve always been fascinated by technology and computing in particular, so it didn’t take long for me to move into IT. I got my grounding in front-line product support, then turned my hand to software engineering. After a few years as a senior developer, I became a project manager and team leader, looking after both software development and infrastructure/DevOps projects and teams. I was then appointed Technology Strategy Manager, looking after all internal infrastructure, running several internal development projects, and defining the company’s strategic use of internal and external technologies.
In 2013 I joined Linguamatics as the founding member of their brand new Solutions Development team. It was my job to establish the team’s ethos and approach, start building a suitable collection of tools and frameworks, and develop the first few software projects. The following year, I was promoted to Principal Solutions Developer and spent around half of my time growing and supporting the team. In 2016, I formally became the Head of Solutions Development and spent most of my time managing the 14 Solutions Developers and supporting the projects they were working on. A particular focus of mine was introducing more “agile” development practices across the entire organisation, working with leaders in other functional areas and the senior leadership team to ensure development teams were best serving the organisational goals.
In 2018 I took a leap of faith and joined a US-based startup as their Director of Engineering, but sadly this role was short-lived as they were acquired by LinkedIn just as I joined and the planned UK development office was immediately cancelled, leading to my redundancy after only 4 months! Fortunately, I landed on my feet and immediately joined Jagex as the Technical Director of their Publishing Platform department. This was a fantastic experience for me – as a keen gamer, it was fascinating to see the inner workings of a medium-sized games company and contribute to the critical services and infrastructure that support their main titles.
Most recently, I decided to take my first ever career break for personal reasons so, for the past few months, I’ve been focussing on home improvements and personal development. Please refer to my LinkedIn profile for more details on my background, skills and experience.
In my spare time, I love to watch films. I’m an epic film geek, and spend countless hours building up an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of useless film trivia. I enjoy hanging out with my wife Lauren, disappearing into the countryside on my bike, digital music mixing/production and playing with my borderline-psychotic cat Minnie. I’m also partial to working on personal programming projects, which I hope will one day spawn a successful Open Source project. I’m a member of the Amazon Vine Programme which means they send me several things each month to review (mostly technology products) and in return I get to keep them for free!
I set up this blog to share the random array of information escaping from my brain. Hopefully some of it will be interesting or useful to you.