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Tom Maslen

UX Developer, Tech Writer,
Software Engineer & Tech Lead

Talks & writing

Full career history

Acting Dev Lead, BBC News

October 2015 - May 2016

Responsibilities

Temporarily responsible for co-ordinating recruitment, best working practices and maintaining a large codebase between 5 development teams. I did this role alongside my Tech Lead responsibilities to backfill the engineering manager's vacancy. This included:

  • Improving the recruitment process for the entire department.
  • Setting up and running working groups to improve communication and working practices between teams.
  • Running monthly departmental meetings for developers.
  • Coordinating developer resource between teams.
  • Mentoring other tech leads.
  • Consulting News management on all technical concerns.

Tech Lead, BBC News Visual Journalism

July 2012 - present

Responsibilities

Responsible for the technical direction and line management (10 developers) of the Visual Journalism team within BBC News. Duties include:

  • Running the department trainee scheme: advertise, interview, hire and integrate 6 trainee web developers (university students on work experience year) into multiple teams each year.
  • Lead a development team of software engineers to provide online tools that allow journalists to create charts and other formats for the BBC website, BBC News app and social media.
  • Liaise with editorial and design staff to come up with ideas and technical implementations for original, interactive visual journalism.
  • Mentor a large team of developers to improve development workflow and help them progress their careers.
  • Provide technical expert consultation to the rest of the BBC in management meetings, running research projects and technical writing.
  • But also (most importantly) still complete visual journalism projects myself ☺.

My team creates unique visual journalism, from data driven infographics (NHS Winter), interactive page components (clickable guides, The Last Dornier Bomber), charts (Syria's Refugee Exodus), maps (Election 2015: The political battleground, Primary league tables: Regional picture), long form (The Lost Sons), quizzes (Quiz of the year: Who said that?) and other original online journalism (2014 Budget Calculator, Common Weath Games Calculator).

Key achievements

  • Efficiently scaled up development resources for the department via the trainee scheme.
  • Migrated team onto AWS.
  • Increased the BBC editorial staff's ability to produce visual journalism via online tooling.
  • Improved the business' ability to syndicate content by creating a technique to make iframes responsive.
  • Massively simplified the team's ability to produce multilingual content by creating grunt-multi-lang-site-generator.

Skills used

  • AWS: EC2 provisioning and running, ELB, CloudFormation, IAM, S3, SES and CloudWatch.
  • Advanced JavaScript (AMD, jQuery, backbone.js, lodash.js, D3.js, Google JSAPI).
  • Responsive Web Design (mobile first CSS, CSS3, HTML5, Sass).
  • Server side programming using PHP (Zend and phpUnit), NodeJS and Ruby.
  • Command line tooling and infrastructure with Git, Docker, Grunt.js, VirtualBox, Vagrant and Hudson.
  • Professional development process using TTD, BDD, phpUnit, Jasmine.js, Sinon.js, Cucumber and Wraith (for automated visual regression testing).

Senior Web Developer, BBC News

March 2011 – July 2012, London

Responsibilities

JavaScript specialist in a large team, focused on developing the client side strategy for all future BBC News products. Duties also included:

  • Using BDD and TDD development techniques, created modular, testable object oriented PHP and AMD JavaScript to a very high industrial standard.
  • Helped to develop a test suite written in Ruby.
  • Recruited other team members.
  • Mentored junior members of BBC News teams via code reviews and pair programming.
  • Worked in a mixed discipline (developers, testers and designers) team using agile methodology.

Achievements

  • Re-launched BBC News online, creating a code base using responsive design principles.
  • Helped our industry to define how to implement responsive web design by talking at conferences and blogging about performance and browser support.
  • Created a new technique using progressive enhancement to support every web browser on all devices: Cutting the mustard

Skills used

  • Advanced JavaScript (AMD, jQuery)
  • Responsive Web Design (mobile first CSS, CSS3, HTML5, Sass)
  • Server side programming using PHP (Zend and phpUnit) and Ruby
  • Command line tooling and infrastructure with Git, Grunt.js, Virtual Box, Vagrant and Hudson
  • Professional development process using TTD, BDD, phpUnit, Jasmine.js, Sinon.js and Cucumber

Web Developer, BBC Vision/BBC Learning

May 2008 - April 2011

Responsibilities

  • Lead developer for BBC Bitesize from 2010 to 2011, liaised with editorial staff and designers to maintain the site, build new content and fix bugs.
  • Developer for Glow.js - the BBC's internal JavaScript library (now deprecated) - built new features and provided technical support to the BBC development community (200+ developers).
  • Built numerous microsites in a mixed discipline team (project managers, designers and testers).

Achievements

  • Part of the team that launched Glow.js as an open source project.
  • Created the game "Keyboard Hero" to highlight how to develop complex JavaScript applications using Glow.js

Skills used

  • Advanced JavaScript (AMD, jQuery)
  • Created accessible HTML/CSS to a very high standard to support the high volume of traffic the BBC site receives.
  • Server side programming using PHP (Zend and phpUnit) and Ruby
  • Professional development process using TTD, phpUnit and qUnit

Senior Web Designer, Traveltainment

June 2007 - May 2008

Responsibilities

  • Delivering customised holiday booking websites for multiple high profile brands in the UK (Expedia, Disney, CO-OP).
  • QAing and mentoring the design team (2 other staff).
  • Supporting managers and customers in meetings and over the phone.

Skills used

  • HTML, JavaScript & CSS
  • Creating designs in PhotoShop
  • ASP.NET

Senior Web Developer, Cromwell Industrial Tools

June 2006 - June 2007

Responsibilities

  • Maintained the customer facing ecommerce website
  • Created and maintained multiple intranet systems to help run the company

Achievements

  • Created a import process to synchronize two business systems, exporting data from PostGres to import it into MicroSoft SQL Server.

Skills used

  • HTML, JavaScript & CSS.
  • PHP
  • .NET (C#)
  • MicroSoft Office scripting using Visual Basic

Client Side Developer, BBC New Media

February 2002 - June 2006

Responsibilities

Worked in a team to deliver a variety of centrally maintained services including:

  • The first ever news feeds to the BBC homepage
  • The BBC's site wide Single Sign On service
  • Presentation layer for a large CMS

Skills used

  • HTML, JS & CSS
  • XSLT