Rob West

About Me

I am an experienced senior tech leader and web developer having spent twenty years in the web development industry. I have had the privilege to work on projects for household names such as Pepsi, Carlsberg, The London Eye, Madame Tussauds, Historic Royal Palaces and Sky.

Photo taken at a Jaywing event - apologies to the photographer, I can't remember their name! If it was you, then message me and I'll add the credit.

For most of my career I have used Microsoft technologies including C#, ASP.NET MVC, SQL Server, Azure, Azure DevOps, Umbraco and Sitecore. Recently I have also been exploring headless CMS platforms, JavaScript, React and Gatsby to see what Jamstack can do.

I am a passionate communicator on digital technologies and love the challenge of explaining complex technologies and solutions to non-technical people.

For me the web should be an empowering medium, and that means bringing content to users whatever their device or disability. Whilst I was Technical Director at Jaywing I championed the early adoption of Responsive Web Design and mobile first before anyone in digital marketing knew what they meant. I instinctively felt that these methodologies were right because they were about delivering truly cross platform content.

I worked with other teams within the business to implement changes in process to support these methodologies such as in browser design and pattern labs. I have urged colleagues to move away from a pagecentric mindset to one in which websites are conceived as digital design systems, a coherent set of components that can supply content creators with the building blocks they need to create positive user experiences. Digital marketing has sometimes felt a little lacking in purpose, but I enjoy it most when it is about building websites that meet user needs and solving their problems with as little friction as possible.

My academic background, studying Philosophy and Psychology at the University of Oxford, has provided me with strong analytical and logical thinking skills. These form the basis of my development expertise but can also be applied in many other aspects of business and management.

My study of psychology has helped me understand myself and others. On the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a psychological tool for describing personality types, I am an INFJ. This is a rare type making up less than 1% of the population. We are soft-spoken, but have very strong opinions and will fight tirelessly for an idea we believe in. We are decisive and strong-willed, but rarely use that energy for personal gain due to a sense of idealism and morality.

In terms of my management style, being an INFJ means I dislike an authoritarian approach. I prefer to see those who work under me as equals, focusing on coordinating tasks and encouraging others rather than cracking the whip. I strive to act with creativity, imagination, conviction and sensitivity not to create an advantage, but to create balance in the team.

Outside of work I am a competitive time trial and track cyclist. I am the current Masters European Champion and World silver medallist and former National Champion in the Individual Pursuit. I train about 8 hours per week which requires solid organisational skills and lots of early mornings but the hard training provides a balance to my life that enables me to more effectively and calmly manage the demands of work.

On the top step of the podium at the European Masters Track Championships in 2017. Photo credit to Rachael Elliott

Cycling has taught me many valuable lessons that can equally be applied in a work setting. In particular it has helped me to understand the importance of mindset and mental resilience. So much of sporting performance is about what goes on in your head, the right attitude and approach to training and competition can have a huge impact on the outcome. More than this, I have learned to think of the mind being like a muscle which can be trained, strengthened and changed. You can choose your mindset and you can make fundamental changes to your character and attitudes to improve yourself. I’ve used this insight to improve my management practices and the way I interact with work colleagues as much as I have to improve my results in the velodrome or out on the road.

© 2020 Rob West. All Rights Reserved. Built using Kontent and Gatsby.