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About me

Pleased to make your aquaintance

I’m going to be honest here, writing biographies is not exactly what I would call my jam, normally the sales patter type stuff is Ross’s department, but let’s take a punt and see what happens. It’s probably best if we start off with what I’m doing with my life right now and how we got to this point, think of it as my superhero origin story; only my superpower is eating cheeseburgers.

Currently I am studying Software Engineering alongside Ross at Southampton Solent university. What is a guy in his late thirties doing messing around at university you may ask, and believe me I get asked variations on this question all the time. The answer is pretty simple to be honest, I was unhappy in my previous career and that unhappiness stemmed from the fact that I had kind of just drifted into my role, it certainly wasn’t my dream job.

I remember being about 16 and at school when we had a visit from the careers guidance person, she sat me down and asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up; well I didn’t have a clue. In fact, the only thing I knew for definite that I wanted to be when I grew up was a dad. Might sound a bit soppy, cheesy even, but hey it’s the truth.

Look at them, they’re so beautiful

Photograph by Niklas Rhöse via Unsplash

When I finished my GCSEs, I went on to take A-Levels in Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry, at the end of my A-Levels however I still had no idea what I wanted to do for a job. I found the premise of being 18 and picking a university course that dictated the rest of your life incredibly daunting. So instead of going to university and committing to something for the sake of it, I decided to put off my application with the intention of learning a bit more about myself.

“What I didn’t expect was for that learning period to take over 15 years.”

Have you ever heard the expression “life got in the way”? Those five words pretty much sum up my 20’s and early 30’s. For about half of this time I worked as a restaurant manager, honing my cheeseburger eating powers whilst gaining experience in management, hospitality and risk assessment. During this time, I also met my now wife, Nicola, whom I met for the very first time when she sang happy birthday to me on my 21st.

Shortly before the birth of our first (of 4!) son(s) I began working for one of the UK’s largest insurance and pension firms. It was here that I met Ross and the bromance to end all bromances was formed. Legend has it that Jack Black based the history of Tenacious D on the first few years of our blossoming friendship. During this time, we found that not only did we instantly click on a personal level but when given joint tasks we worked together like a well-oiled machine.

It was during this time in my life that I also finally worked out what I wanted to do. I had always had an affinity for technology, even from an early age I remember coding rudimentary games on the school BBC microcomputers. Throughout my working life I had been referred to many times as an ideas guy, always looking for better or more efficient ways of getting things done. This ideas-driven mentality, my passion for technology and the strong problem solving skills I had developed over my working life all guided me down the path I am on now.

Who doesn’t love an arty code shot?

Photograph by Ilya Pavlov via Unsplash

I had finally learnt enough about myself to know what I wanted to do, and that something was Software Engineering.

In 2015 I packed in my job, enrolled at Southampton Solent university and I’ve not looked back since. I’ve always thrived in learning focussed environments, I have a very inquisitive nature and I like nothing better than losing myself in a new topic or interest, like an overweight Borg I aim to assimilate as much knowledge as I can. Whilst at uni I’ve had many opportunities to feed that hunger for learning; gaining extensive experience in numerous Software Engineering disciplines such as full stack web development, software application modelling, database design & management and mobile application development. These activities have led me to be proficient in a number of programming languages including Java, C, Python and Javascript.

Although studying is enjoyable, it doesn’t pay the bills so at the beginning of 2017 I joined Ross with his fledgling web design business. We launched Clear Simple Design at around Easter time and thanks to Ross’s aforementioned sales patter we have had the opportunity to work with a number of interesting and varied clients. Something didn’t quite click though, we came to realise that what really sets us apart from the competition is who we are as people, something that the Clear Simple Design brand didn’t really convey in the way we had hoped.

So here we are at the present day, rebranding our business as Two Bearded Guys – a hybrid blog and business website where we can really express our personalities and put them at the forefront of our business model. We really want this to be a place where people can interact with us; tell us your views, rate our posts and let us know what kind of content you would like to see.

Until next time folks.

Lok’tar ogar

D

About The Author

Derren

Hi, I’m Derren and I’m currently studying Software Engineering as a mature student at Southampton Solent University. Prior to this I spent many years managing restaurants and more recently worked as an insurance claims assessor for one of the UK’s biggest providers. It was in this role that I met Ross and our bromance flourished. In 2015, I left my job to begin my degree studies. During ,my time at Southampton Solent, I have gained extensive experience in numerous Software Engineering disciplines such as full stack web development, software application modelling, database design & management and mobile application development. These activities have led me to be proficient in a number of programming languages including Java, C, Python and Javascript. Outside of work and studies I like to unwind in the outdoors, hiking with my two Cocker Spaniels as well as a bit of cheeky wild camping. I’m also a massive nerd, having a passion for videogames, table-top roleplay and war gaming.

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