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What I used to do for a living

I retired from my job at Heber Ltd. at the end of 2019, having spent most of the second half of my working life employed there. Heber is a small electronics company based just outside Stroud, whose mainstay is making PCBs for the gaming industry (i.e. for one-armed bandits and video games). My role was mainly to keep the large 'bed-of-nails' in-circuit PCB testing machines running optimally, which required a mix of hardware and software engineering skills, and I would also do production rework, repair customer returns, and other ancilliary tasks around the full PCB production cycle (though Heber subcontract out the actual assembly of their PCBs).

My background

I was born in 1957 in Devizes (southern England), but my family moved around to various places until we ended up in Abergavenny, South Wales, when I was about 9, and I lived there until 1981. In 1976 I started studies at the University College of North Wales, Bangor (University of Wales, Bangor, as it is now), graduating with a maths degree three years later. I then did several years writing test-system software, before moving to Cheltenham (south central England, and where I still am) to work at Smiths Industries (now part of GE Aviation), who are a large aerospace contractor, and with whom I worked on three large avionics programmes (two civil, one defence).

In 1995, becoming increasingly uneasy about what the future held for me at Smiths, I left and became a full-time student again, only this time it was at Royal Holloway College, University of London: from there I gained an MSc in 1996, and a PhD in 2000 (both mathematics again). There then followed a short spell at QinetiQ in Malvern, doing radio communications research, during which time I re-discovered my lost childhood-interest in electronics (the story of how that evolved is here). Within a few more years I realised I really should be working in the hardware/electronics sector, and to that end I signed up to do an HNC correspondence course, in electronics, through COLU (this was the 'Cleveland Open Learning Unit', part of the University of Teesside, but now appears to have morphed into 'Teesside University Open Learning in Engineering'). I completed the HNC late in 2005, by which time I had already achieved my aim through acquiring the job at Heber in the middle of 2004.

[And in case anyone reading this is into Golay sequences, or is curious to know what a maths PhD thesis might look like, the title of my thesis is "Aperiodic Correlations of Length 2m Sequences, Complementarity, and Power Control for OFDM" (click for the file, 1.4MB: the abstract is just a single sheet though.)]

[Page last updated: 04 Sep 2020]