Brian Cryer’s Career


Career Summary

In reverse chronological order:


Active Informatics Ltd (From March 2003)

Active Informatics Ltd (Active) are a GIS consultancy specialising in "Geographic and demographic data, systems and consultancy". They provide innovative and powerful geographic and demographic information systems and consultancy.

Active Informatics was formerly known as ACTIVE Solutions Europe Ltd, having changed their name in May 2012.

Significant projects include:

June 2014
Migrated projects from VSS to TFS, and revamped release procedure to use TFS/MS-Build to release to test.

Tools:

  • Windows Server 2012
  • TFS (Express) 2012
  • Visual Studio 2012
  • MS-Build
January 2014
Careers advice site aimed at college leavers, providing advice on job opportunities for different career paths. Pulling together data from a number of public data sources.

Unlike most of my project work, I was not involved at the beginning of this. I took a proof of concept system and had to make it ready to market in as short a time as possible. This required adding security, error handling, client administration and addressing the other shortcomings in the proof of concept system.

Tools:

  • Visual Studio 2012
  • C#
  • JavaScript
  • jQuery
  • IIS 8
  • SQL Server 2012
November 2013
Financial advice website for the US market, aimed at helping people pay off their mortgage early.

Mobile friendly site.

Tools:

  • Visual Studio 2012
  • C#
  • SQL Server 2012.
  • IIS 8
July 2013
Developed a new custom WordPress theme from scratch to use on a new blogging site for a customer. Requirement was to use WordPress on Windows (rather than Linux, which would be my normal recommendation).

Tools:

  • Windows 2008 Server
  • SQL Server 2008
  • PHP 4.5
  • WordPress 3.5
June 2013
Started process of internationalization for Intuition student services product. This required customisable culture settings for users for language strings and date formats, and customisable culture settings for client systems for currency formats.

Tools:

  • Visual Studio 2012
  • C#
  • VB.Net
May 2013
Migration of .NET projects from Visual Studio 2010 to Visual Studio 2012. Including migrating one from a Web Site Project to a Web Application Project.

Tools:

  • Visual Studio 2012
October 2012
Commissioned a new Windows 2012 server for Active to replace the old Windows 2003/Exchange 2003 server.

Tools:

  • Windows 2012 Server
  • Exchange 2010.
September 2012
Initiated the successful introduction of Agile/Scrum to Active.
Started a new project to enhanced Active's Intuition (student services) product to introduce budgeting capabilities.
April 2012
Rolled out a significant enhancement to the error reporting framework used in each of Active's web-based products. Previously errors and warnings (not that there should be any!) were logged to the event log. The enhancement means that in addition, these are now (subject to some filtering) emailed back to the relevant developer. Allowing alerting of issues in near real-time.

Tools:

  • C#
  • Visual Studio 2010
February 2012
Project to re-launch Active Profiler, replacing the old Education Profiler with a new totally refreshed site with new functionality. New site went live May 2012.

Tools:

  • Mixture of C# and VB.NET
  • Visual Studio 2010
  • MySQL
February 2012
Started to deploy dedicated virtual test servers, with each one being a close image for each of our dedicated servers.

Tools:

  • Hyper-V Manager
  • Windows Standard Server 2008
  • Windows Web Server 2008
  • MySQL 5
  • SQL Server 2008
  • DNS (internal)
May 2011
Development of a small application to assist customers with regular data uploads to our servers. Multithreaded, supporting FTPS and web-services for the upload (some clients could not use FTPS because of firewall issues at their end), running off the Windows task scheduler. The idea being to make the regular data upload as idiot proof as reasonably possible.

Tools:

  • C#
  • Visual Studio 2010
  • ClickOnce deployment
December 2010
Production of a small suite of desktop data conversion tools for converting between different (US state plane) coordinate projection systems.

Tools:

  • C#
  • Visual Studio 2008
March 2010
Mini project to commission a new server for internal use.

Tools:

  • Windows 2008 Standard Server
  • Terminal Server
December 2009
Intuition Student Services - sole developer for a new product aimed at Student Services. Intuition provides coordinated record keeping and reporting on students, taking data feeds from the college's management information systems to provide a single source of information for student services.
http://intuition.activesol.co.uk

Tools:

  • VB.NET (ASP.NET 3.5)
  • AJAX
  • MySQL 5.1
  • SMTP
  • FTP & FTPS (FileZilla server)
February 2009
World Class Skills website tool - to allow education providers to identify their effectiveness in engaging with local businesses.

Tools:

  • VB.NET 2008 (ASP.NET 3.5), utilising web services to authenticate with the World Class Skills website.
  • AJAX
  • SqlServer 2005 (live site) and SqlServer 2008 (development)

Integrating with the World Class Skills website (via web-services) for user authentication, and with Sage Pay for secure payment.

June 2008
Extending the SEERA Data-Hub to allow local authorities to enter their own data for regional questionnaires.
March 2008
Extending desktop mapping products to include background raster mapping. This included Travel Time Boundaries and other desktop products.

Tools:

  • VB.Net 2005 (ASP.NET 2)
  • Visual Basic 6
January 2008
Mini project to ensure that a backup of databases on remote servers was always available in the office. Using logic to generate deltas of backup files on the server, compressing these and then FTP'ing them each night.

Tools:

  • FTP
  • MySQL 5
  • SQL Server
  • Delphi 7
June 2007
Successfully delivered a new website data tool for SEEDA. This tool allows uses to upload their own data and interrogate it on a map, chart or tabulate it.

Migrated previously developed mapping engine from using SVG to Flash for map rendering.

Tools:

  • VB.Net 2005 (ASP.NET 2)
  • C#
  • ActionScript 2
  • MySQL 5
September 2006
Completed a new website for Active which allows profiles of students within the catchment radius of schools, colleges and universities to be profiled, thereby providing better market intelligence to those establishments. This information is presented on maps using SVG (subsequently upgraded to Flash).

Tools:

  • VB.Net 2003 (ASP.NET 1.1)
  • SVG
  • Flash
  • SQL Server 2003
November 2005
Migration of email system from Exchange 5.5 to Exchange 2003.
October 2005
Responsible for the orderly migration of IT systems as the company relocated to new offices, and migration of user accounts from an NT4 domain to new Windows 2003 AD domain.
May 2005
Design and development of a web based mapping and reporting modules to be used internally by a consultancy client as part of a bigger system.

Tools:

  • VB.Net 2003
  • SVG
  • Access 2000
  • Delphi 7
November 2004
Design and development of a secure intranet website providing indicator data for various URCs in England. This allows a URC to monitor its effect on urban regeneration for their target geographic area over time.

Tools:

  • VB.Net 2003
  • SQL Server 2000
  • Windows Standard Server 2003
  • Delphi 7
July 2004
Design and development of a web site for the London Development Agency, providing views of demographic data across London by interactive map, chart or tabular report. Requiring conformance to W3C (AA) accessibility standards.

Tools:

  • VB.Net 2003
  • SQL Server 2000
  • Windows Standard Server 2003
  • MapInfo
  • MapXtreme
January 2004
Development of a CD based application ("Active Profiler") for the sales force of a large pharmaceutical company. This provided reporting functions and interactive maps utilising geographic based incident data, demographic data and sales data across the UK.

Tools:

  • Delphi 7 Professional
  • Access 2000
  • PlanetWeb OCX
  • Embedded web browser
December 2003
Seconded to the Professional Services team to provide key skill consultancy and support for a number of projects.

Tools:

  • Apache
  • PHP
  • MySQL
  • Delphi 7 Professional
October 2003
Taken on the additional role of IT Manager within Active. This is in addition to the development role, which remains the primary focus. New role gives responsibility for maintaining the IT infrastructure and equipment within Active, including support for broadband and providing VPN access to select individuals.

Tools:

  • VPN
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 5.5
    (later Exchange Server 2003)
  • Windows Server
September 2003
Responsible for writing the company's Software Development Strategy and, in consultation with others, for developing the strategic developments plan setting out where Active's software development will take the company over the coming years.
March 2003
Initial focus has been to take on the future development of Active's Travel Time Boundary product. This product provides planning and routing capabilities, one of its main strengths is the ability to accurately plot detailed travel time information from points on a map - an example of this would be for planning the location of ambulance sites to minimize travel time to incidents, another example would be to help plan the location of new facilities by taking into account the travel times of the local population.

Tools:

  • Windows XP, 2000, NT
  • Visual Basic 6
  • Visual C++ (Visual Studio 6)
  • SQL Server 2000
  • Access 97 and 2000

De La Rue (August 1997 to August 2002)

Initially with De La Rue Identity Systems which after a restructure because part of De La Rue Global Services. Located in Basingstoke, Hampshire, they develop and sell passport, ID card, Driving License and similar identity production systems to governments around the world.

Initially a team leader role, subsequently promoted to Software Engineering Manager. Variety of projects, some on-going. Bid-support as necessary. Process improvements. Staff recruitment.

Significant project work and career development:

July 2002
Design and initial implementation of upgrade to Angola Passport system, including link to airport immigration system. The intention being for the system to verify against the passport system the legitimacy of all Angolan passports and display the holder's image when an Angolan passes through immigration.

Tools:

  • Windows 2000
  • SQL Server 2000
  • Visual Basic 6
  • Visual C++ (Visual Studio 6)
March 2002
Enhancements to Immigration system at Luanda Airport (Angola).

Tools:

  • Windows NT and 2000
  • SQL Server 2000
  • Visual Basic 6
February 2002
Revamp of department backup policy, specifically to allow work on laptops (which may only have intermittent network connection) to be backed up as part of the regular backup.
August 2001
Confirmed in new role as Software Engineering Manager. Primary responsibilities now management, planning, mentoring and support of other engineers. Secondary responsibilities include technical support for bids, staff recruitment, process improvements and support.
May 2001
Reduced hands-on work, more emphasis on mentoring junior team members and overseeing project work.

Tools:

  • Oracle 8i
  • Windows 2000
  • SQL Server 2000

Training:

  • Windows 2000
December 2000
Passport and ID card system for Bahrain. Central site with one remote image capture and data entry station, utilising their existing WAN. ID card incorporating a PDF417 2D barcode containing a portion of the individual's data.

Tools:

  • Visual C++ (Visual Studio 6)
  • SourceSafe
  • SQL Server 7
  • SQL Server hot standby server
  • Windows NT4 (Workstation and Server)
May 2000
Promoted to Senior Team Leader.

Distributed Driving License and ID Card system for Jamaica. Six sites plus central archive, utilising the Government’s existing WAN. Replicated, distributed database.

Tools:

  • Visual C++ (Visual Studio 6)
  • SourceSafe
  • SQL Server 7
  • Windows NT4 (Workstation and Server)

Other:

  • Staff recruitment
  • Mentoring
April 2000
Stoplist and Stoplist Manager. Complete reengineering of existing stoplist and stoplist Manager. The stoplist (sometimes called a black-list) is a list of people who should not be permitted to enter or leave a country or who should not be issued with a document. Reengineering provided more efficient and maintainable system. Work included: Schema re-design, stored procedures, triggers, data import, text and image manipulation.

Tools:

  • Visual C++ (Visual Studio 6)
  • Visual Basic 6
  • SQL Server 7
February 2000
Upgrade to Malta passport system. Upgrade to database from Oracle 7.3.4 to Oracle 8.1.5. System upgrade to incorporate digital imaging. Work included: data migration and schema updates.

Tools:

  • Visual C++ (Visual Studio 6)
  • SourceSafe
  • Oracle 8.1.5
  • Windows NT4 (Workstation and Server)
September 1999
Swaziland Passport and ID Card system. Development based around De La Rue's internally developed MIDIS system (Multiple Identity Document Issuing System).

Tools:

  • Visual C++ (Visual Studio 5)
  • SourceSafe
  • SQL Server 7
  • Windows NT4 (Workstation and Server)

Training:

  • SQL Server 7 System Administration
November 1998
Singapore Passport Project. Primary areas of responsibility: Oracle Parallel Server, Oracle Standby Server, proving performance and fault tolerance of system to customer’s satisfaction.

Tools:

  • Oracle 8.0.5
  • Oracle Parallel Server
  • Oracle Standby Server
  • Legato NetWorker
  • Visual Basic 5
  • RMAN (Oracle Recovery Manager)
  • Windows NT4 (Workstation and Server)

Training:

  • Legato NetWorker
August 1997
Joined as a team leader.

Immigration system for Luanda Airport, Angola. IMMIS: Integrated Multiple Module Immigration System. Generic system intended as optional extra to customers buying a system for producing machine readable passports.

Tools:

  • Visual Basic 5
  • Oracle 7.3.4
  • SourceSafe
  • Windows NT4 (Workstation and Server)

Training:

  • Oracle Database Administration.
  • Oracle Advanced Replication

Other:

  • Recruitment of contract tester
  • Management of two other developers on the project

Other non-project responsibilities:

  • Internal auditor (for the Quality System, 1999 to 2002)
  • Fire Warden (2000-2002)
  • Health and Safety staff representative (2001-2002)

National Remote Sensing Centre (August 1996 to August 1997)

The National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC, now known as 'Infoterra', ) is located in Farnborough. They are involved in most aspects of remote sensing, notably satellite and aircraft imaging.www.infoterra-global.com

April 1997 to August 1997
Promoted to role of Software Manager. Working on the same project as before. Same responsibilities for software component within the ARF System, but in addition:
  • Staff recruitment (interviews and assessment).
  • Management of the other three analysts on the project.
August 1996 to March 1997
Analyst to develop the architectural and detailed design of the Manage Archive component of the Envisat ARF. The ARF is an archiving and retrieval facility, forming part of the ground segment for the European Space Agency’s Envisat satellite scheduled to be launched at the end of the decade. The Manage Archive component provides the major system interfaces to other ground segment facilities and is responsible for co-ordination and control of the other major components within the ARF.

Responsibilities include:

  • Team leader
  • Architectural and Detailed Design documents (in accordance with PSS05).
  • Software development and management.
  • Requirements traceability.
  • Software Build System

The software was developed on a combination of Suns and AIX machines, with PCs being used for project documentation. The system was designed using Yourdon and implemented using C++.


Racal Communications (December 1993 to July 1996)

Racal Communications Systems Limited (RCSL) are located in Bracknell, although initially the work was based at Reading.

January 1995 to July 1996
Principal Engineer. Leader of a new team to produce embedded software for a circuit card assembly to be installed in customer equipment. The card provides external interfaces to a radio via a cryptographic unit and uses a shared memory interface to communicate with another card in the customer equipment. The software also includes a protocol for near error free (radio) transmission to a second unit in a fading environment.

Responsibilities included:

  • Team leader of a team of five, including contract staff.
  • Project planning (using Gantt charts and Microsoft project).
  • Overall design of software, and production of a System Design Document (SDD) in accordance with 2167A.
  • Development of software for the shared memory interface and parts of the over-the-air communications protocol (based on the ISO OSI 7 layer model).
  • Production of a Software Requirements Specification (SRS) to the customer’s satisfaction describing the requirements of the system.
  • Requirements Traceability

The SRS, SDD and software development proceeded primarily using the object-oriented development tool ‘OMT/StP’. The target system was 68000 based and the software was developed using C++.

December 1993 to December 1994
Senior Engineer. Joined an existing team working to produce a suite of embedded systems that would form part of a secure communications network for military use (SCRA - Single Channel Radio Access).

Responsibilities included:

  • Supervision of junior team members.
  • Co-ordinating switch over from an internally developed real time executive to a commercially available real time executive (OSE). Provision of object wrappers for OSE, which provides a native C interface rather than a C++ one.
  • Design and development of device drivers for EEProm and FPerom devices.
  • Maintenance and improvements to the software development environment.
  • Maintenance and improvements to the build system, which uses IMake and cvs for version control. Design and development of a night build system for automatic recompilation and testing of software at night for all software libraries under development.

The target system is 68000 based (68332). Most of the software development was performed on Sun Sparc workstations running OpenLook windows and Unix IV. Development was undertaken using C++ (using ObjectCenter GUI and command line tools) and a Microtec cross compiler. Other tools used included a HP 68332 emulator and FrameMaker for documentation.


Comsult (October 1988 to November 1993)

Comsult (www.comsult.co.uk) is a partnership based in Bedford. Most of my time working for Comsult was spent at a customer site in Tadley, Buckinghamshire.

June 1993 to November 1993
Analyst Programmer. Joined an existing team working to provide accurate vehicle position information based on GPS and Dead Reckoning.

Responsibilities included:

  • position algorithm improvements
  • project documentation
  • design and development of an algorithm for determining the error of the system against corresponding digitised routes.
  • production of data analysis software for use under MS-Windows

The target system used an embedded 80186 processor. Software development proceeded primarily on PC/ATs using Borland C++.

December 1990 to May 1993
Analyst Programmer. Acting Project Manager on a project to replace an existing customer system with an enhanced, quality assured and expandable system. The replacement was required to be based around a portable PC, which drives an external stepper motor and interface with various detectors. The system collects time critical data, makes decisions and drives the motor whilst simultaneously providing the user with the facility to review or analyse data already collected. Three customer staff were made available on an as-required basis for support and development of the necessary hardware.

Responsibilities included:

  • All aspects of analysis, design and development (whilst reporting regularly to a senior consultant and the customer), through the entire development cycle from conception through to final delivery.
  • Implementing Quality Control procedures acceptable to the customer.
  • Producing system functionality specifications, design documentation and user guides.
  • Specifying (company wide) C++ documentation standards.
  • Using Borland Paradox Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) and Paradox Engine to maintain a database of materials and characteristics.
  • Devising a technique using standard PC hardware to measure time to an accuracy better than 1 microsecond (the BIOS clock being accurate to about 55 milliseconds). The accurate timing of external events was critical to the success of the system, this level of accuracy was therefore required.
  • Graphical representation of data after initial processing and smoothing.
  • Audit information, with facility to review a previous session or continue it from where it was broken off.
  • Implementation of an on-line context sensitive help system.
  • Development of a simple co-operative multi-tasker.

The system was designed using an Object Oriented approach and implemented using Borland C++.

March 1989 to November 1990
Senior Programmer. Relocated to work on a customer site at AWE (Aldermaston). Highly classified work requiring security clearance. Working within a small team on a data capture, analysis and retrieval system on a Micro VAX II running VAX/VMS. Primarily using VAX Fortran with some PC work using Microsoft C.

Responsibilities included:

  • Design and development of real time data capture, analysis and display software.
  • Design of a real time command and control system.
  • Modifications to existing data capture software to allow option of using modems to communicate with a remote device instead of a radio link.
  • Responsible for many system management functions.
  • Training and supervision of junior staff as necessary.

These required use of Asynchronous System Traps, VAX Screen Manager, System and Library routines.

October 1988 to February 1989
Responsible for software design, documentation and (later) software support, including customer liaison, for a PC/AT based flight simulator. This was a two man project using Turbo Pascal. The system was required to operate either standalone or interfaced with external customer equipment.