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Christopher Clarke

  1. Work Experience at SSW

  2. Education

    Christopher started education at the sprightly age of four happily wandering next door to the local primary with his twin brother and his older sister. He quickly got to grips with various classes from his ABCs to complex maths. In Primary 5 he was faced with his first real exam, his Cycling Proficiency test, which he aced first time quickly following this success in such diverse fields as swimming and the Magic Dragon colouring in competition.

    People say "from small acorns, mighty oaks grow" and this is also true with Christopher, after successfully graduating from Straloch Primary in 1988, Christopher went on to bigger and further away things, Pitlochry High School where he spent the next four years acclimitizing himself to a world in which when you were asked to do a painting it didn't begin with sticking your fingers in the closest pot of paint. After getting over this initial setback the star that is Christopher Clarke again began to shine but trouble was a brewing and in the middle years, feeling disenchanted with a schooling system that wasn't challenging enough for him he began to play up, thankfully an answer to this turmoil wasn't far away and came in the form of an extra curricular activity, kayaking. In the final two years Christopher joined an after school kayaking class and between focusing on learning to roll like an Eskimo and worrying whether he would be able to navigate the lofty fifty miles from Loch Tay to Perth he was suitably distracted from his frustrations at high school to successfully reach Perth and pass a few exams!

    From there Christopher's life took on a more run of the mill appearance, leaving home for the first time with a tear in his eye he left the relative safety of Glen Ardle and moved to the big lights of Aberdeen to study Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the Robert Gordon University. Three years later after being shown the delights of "disco dancing" and surfing for the first time he graduated with an HND in Electronic and Electrical Engineering in 1997. But even before he had taken that first step onto the career ladder to find himself a job he knew his heart wasn't in it and decided instead to move back home and try his hand at something a little more hands on. Three long months of supermarket work later and he found what he hoped would be his calling, accepting an apprenticeship as a sparky (electrician) for a local company, he soon discovered that once again he was on the wrong path, his body just wasn't built for being squeezed into small and uncomfortable spaces. With that new found knowledge he went off to find a new career and with guidance from his younger twin set forth on the bumpy road to becoming a software engineer by graduating from the University of Highlands and Islands (Perth) with a BSc (Dist.) in Software Engineering.
  3. Professsional

    Christopher began his professional career in a typically colourful manner, after graduating he moved yet again, this time to Edinburgh. After doing the usual round of Graduate Recruitment Fairs he felt his career was in the lap of the Gods unlike his bank balance which was severly in the lap of the Halifax Building Society. With all this in mind he decided he quickly needed to diversify and after a quick look at the jobs board applied for a job as a doorman. To his (and his girlfriends) surprise he got it and within the week was seen moving between bars removing ruffians and ne'er-do-wells whilst simultaneously rejecting romantic advances from the bevvy of local lovlies. It was while he was patrolling one of Edinburgh's local establishments that he met another door steward who introduced him to another employment opportunity, bar work at one of the local hotels. Between these two jobs life in Edinburgh became affordable and the following two months of summer literally flew by. In August, sooner than expected, he received responses to his job applications and suddenly had three interviews to go for with the last one being successful. It was at that point that he joined BAE Systems as a junior software engineer.

    Life at BAE Systems began easily enough, to begin with he was given maintenance work on a helicopter trainer using VB, it was a good introduction to the company not only allowing him the opportunity to display his coding prowess but also expose him to life on site, something that was going to play a large part in his working life over the next seven years. After completing his second round of maintenance tasks on the helicopter trainer he was growing restless for a greater challenge. Initially he thought that this sort of challenge would have to come from outside of BAE and began applying for other roles outside of the company but when Thales offered him a position in their fledgling Synthetic Environment division in London he considered things carefully, he liked his work and felt loyal to his Engineering Manager so decided to approach him to see what he could offer. A few weeks later Christopher was moved on to one of the most challenging projects his site had seen, replatforming an existing Air Navigation Trainer from a linux based Ada system to a windows based VB and C/C++ system. The next two years saw turmoil, long long hours and little recognition but between him and a couple of his colleagues a system was delivered from the jaws of defeat and Christopher knew what it was to be challenged and how it felt to overcome it!

    Unfortunately for Christopher, company politics had not been quite so kind to the site he was based at, workloads had been reduced and engineers were grappling for anything they could tap their software feverish fingertips onto. Thankfully his dedication and work ethics of previous roles had not gone unnoticed and a small opening was made for him in the company's in house simulation environment team. It was the first time that Christopher had been exposed to the fabled C# and .Net environment and he was loving it but the happy ending was not to be. Before he had really had a chance to fully embrace all that is good with all things .Net he was taken off to take over a C++ project that was at risk of not being delivered, this would be Christopher's final project with BAE Systems. Two months into what would become six months of onsite work Christopher got the news he had been waiting for, he had been accepted for his PR to Australia, with this knowledge the hum drum of weekly travel and living life out of a suitcase became a little easier. One week after delivery of his part of the project, Christopher handed in his notice and for the next year or so he and his girlfriend turned their backs on their careers and lived the lives of travelling hobos.
  4. Aspirations

    When Christopher began his work experience at SSW he came hoping to learn all there is to know about .Net, a week in and he realises this would indeed be a mighty task and perhaps it would be best to start thinking about specialising that a little partly based on what he would like to follow and what technologies are available to him. Which ever way the cards may fall he would love to become proficient in the chosen language and move on to become an expert in that field.
  5. Other things you may or may not know about Christopher

    Christopher likes to spend his spare time in the great outdoors although he seems to have lost his slightly masochistic streak, leaving the snow covered beaches of Scotland for the slightly warmer beaches of Sydney. Along with the great outdoors, Christopher also likes to spend a little time in the kitchen trying to recreate great culinary master pieces and has even been known to get his cheese on toast out of the grill before it burns! Away from the kitchen he likes to read a good book or watch a really good film and dreams of one day building his own house with his very own cinema room.

    • Dream Car: Ford Mustang (early model)
    • Previously Owned Cars: Ford Escort, Peugeot 405, Ford Sierra, Peugeot 205 1.6 GTI, Peugeot 205 1.6 GTI (Converted to a 1.9 MI16), Peugeot 306 D Turbo, BMW 5 Series Touring
    • Popcorn Preference: Salty
    • Favourite TV Programme: Top Gear (not the non Jeremy Clarkson ones)
    • Favourite Film: The Shinning (classic), The Departed (current(ish))
    • Favourite Song: Foo Fighters - Everlong

Christopher may be contacted at Christopher Clarke

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