Introducing… Andrew Craig, our Digital Manager

How did you get into web development?

Interest in computers at secondary school led to wanting to do something with computers as a career, so when it got to university time and I still wasn’t sure what career path to take I signed up to a BSc Computing course at Bolton Institute (bad A level results!).

Whilst at uni, before the days of “Have you tried googling it?”, we spent the first couple of years using command line linux machines and learning to program in Cobol and other out of date languages. One day a whole room of new computers turned up with this amazing new operating system on – Windows NT!

I did some research and found out you could access the internet using NCSA Mosaic browser – with pictures and colour! I asked the IT department if I could have access to the new room to take a look and it all went from there.

I learned how to build my first website by ‘borrowing’ code from other websites and worked out how to host it on the university servers. Once I worked out the principles, I needed something to build a site for. As a member of Bolton Sailing Club I decided to build a website for the club and the first sailing club website in the UK was born – http://basil.acs.bolton.ac.uk/~ac1com/bsc/index.htm. Okay, so it’s not as catchy as the current web address of www.sail.org.uk but it’s all I had at the time!

The internet was so new I even taught the lecturers and fellow students how to code sites for our 8 week internet module.

My first job out of university was found amongst the classified ads in the Manchester Evening News for “Webmaster” at Manchester Metropolitan University Students Union – and so I spent 18 months managing www.mmsu.com for the students of MMU.

What qualities do you think a good web developer needs to have?

Psychic abilities, patience

Who has been most influential in your career, who inspired you to become a web developer?

My dad bought us our first ‘proper’ computer and paid for really expensive dial up internet access – so it’d have to be him.

What do you do when you’re not working?

Currently – trying to sleep. With a nocturnal 5 month old baby in the house it’s sometimes a challenge. Otherwise, I’m a Senior Dinghy Instructor and also a senior officer and trustee at Bolton Sailing Club, so I’m also busy helping to keep things going with a gang of other volunteers.

Tell us about a memorable moment about working here or a project you’re really proud of?

Helping to arrange the live streaming of the Calder Hall Cooling Towers demolition. It involved two film crews, two camera crews, a satellite van, miles of cables to connect the film cameras to the satellite van, a streaming service based in London to receive the video, and remote updating of the Sellafield website. As I was one of the people taking still images, I was one of only two non-Sellafield staff to be allowed inside the safety cordon when the towers came down. Why? To take photos like the one below.

Do you have a favourite quote/saying?

“Have you tried googling it?”

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