17 November, 2016

Getting to know... Colin

Everyone that works at M&S is an individual. That’s why we hired them. We spotted something in them that made us say yes to them. Behind every person in every role is a personality. Meet Colin.

1.    What is your biggest ambition?

I’ve never really given this much thought.  Generally, I’d like to continue learning new things and visiting (and living in) new places.  This is important to me because I love learning and the best experiences of my life have been defined by the great people I have met around the world.

2.    Who inspires you and why?

My father inspires me.  He approaches every situation with a positive attitude and always strives to do the right things.  He taught me how to step back and approach problems from different perspectives.

3.    What did you want to be when you grew up? 

As a child, I wanted to do something that I enjoyed but I was never sure what that would be.  Software engineering combines constant learning, problem solving and technology, which are three things that I love.  I think this makes it pretty close to my dream job. I also spent a number of years working as a lifeguard (both at a pool and on the beach).  I wouldn’t mind taking this up again sometime in the future.

4.    What do you see as your major strength?  

Problem solving. I love analysing problems, figuring out how the system is supposed to work, then solving the issue.  This is obviously useful as a software engineer but it’s also useful in many situations.  I used to be responsible for maintenance at a swimming pool.  With minimal training, I often had to figure out which pipe or valve was causing the problem and how to resolve it as quickly as possible.

5.    What is your proudest moment – in work and outside of work?

In work: looking back at code that made no sense to me in my first week and being able to understand and make meaningful changes to it now.  It really shows how much I have learned in such a short time.

Outside of work: graduating with my computer science degree.

6.    What’s the most valuable piece of advice you’ve ever been given? 

‘Don’t be afraid to fail’.  Multiple people have told me variations of this since I started working as an engineer.  At school, I never wanted to answer questions unless I was sure that I was correct.  Now I am trying to implement ideas that probably won’t work but if they do they would be amazing.  The only consequence to failure is learning what to do better next time.

7.    Tell us something unexpected about you. 

I’ve moved around a lot and hold dual citizenship (Canadian and British).  London is the eighth city I’ve lived in and the UK is the fifth country.  I went to an American-accredited international school in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and attended university in Vancouver, Canada.  Aside from making the question “where are you from?” impossible to answer, my international background helps me adapt quickly to new situations.  The world really is a small place.

8.    What makes you tick?

Learning, computers (building them, writing software, and video games), travel, and aquatics (swimming and lifeguarding).  Not necessarily in that order.

9.    Which M&S value do you most identify with and why? 

Innovation with Integrity as a close second.  Innovation is naturally a part of my profession.  I enjoy finding new ways to accomplish tasks to achieve better end results.

10.    What motto do you live your life by?

Everything is possible and nothing is easy

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