Peter Moran shares his career journey in the Australian tech scene. He is currently senior technology manager at tech start-up Hooroo, a travel inspiration website.
What was your first job?
I started my career as a consultant software developer at Object Consulting , in Melbourne. Back in 2000 they were called Object Oriented, which pointed to their start as one of the early adopters of OO technologies in Australia. On my very first day I was sent on a client engagement with Ansett Airlines – they were building their online customer site in Java, with a healthy dose of CORBA.
Tell us about your journey. How did you get to where you are today?
After a number of years spent between music retail jobs and hanging out in pubs, I went back to study as a mature age student to obtain a Bachelor of Computing at Monash University. On graduating, I joined Object Consulting, where I spent 5 years as a software developer. I progressed through technical team lead and software architecture roles. As I got more experienced in developing software and leading teams, I found myself mentoring other technical staff, and even teaching development process, object oriented design and programming courses. It was here that I first heard about Extreme Programming (XP), and was privileged to work with some forward-thinking people who got me exposed to and passionate about agile software development. I then joined Dius Computing, where I spent 5 years as a principal consultant. Moving to Jetstar allowed me further my technical leadership experience as development manager, and I am now Senior Manager of Technology for Hooroo, which is the company formed within Qantas to provide their online hotel business.
What does a typical day look like?
I work very closely with the technology team I manage, so a large part of my day is keeping across the streams of work we are working to deliver. This often includes getting involved in technical huddles or advising on architectural or design approaches for how our platform should be built. I also spend time with product managers and the other groups in the company, commercial, finance and marketing, to make sure our technology platform is in synch with the roadmap we have for delivering our hotel business. I try to keep as hands-on technically as I can, as I believe if you are managing a team of engineers and helping set the technical direction, you need to know the technologies in use implicitly. So I pay a lot of attention to the operational aspects of our sites – performance, error monitoring, API usage and so on. I also try to code where I can, by picking up smaller stories or pair programming where time allows. Finally, as a manager I have people responsibilities that range from managing our resource capacity to conducting one-on-ones with team members.
The best part about your job is…
Being part of a team and a business that is prepared to constantly learn and improve how they do things; working with technologies that make it simpler to build and deliver great software products; never going a day without learning something new.
What’s the most exciting project you’ve worked on?
My current one. Building an online platform from scratch; helping develop a new company from startup; forming and evolving a development team; defining and learning about the best ways to deliver software products. Exciting is probably an understatement!
What major changes do you see happening in your industry over the next 3-5 years?
I think the influence of the current startup boom and the emergence of the entrepreneurial spirit will have a big flow-on affect for both small and large businesses. There is a groundswell towards lean thinking and delivery, and a lot of it is coming from technologists. As more business owners and C-level managers start to get a grip on how this can be applied to achieve results for them and their customers, I think we will see companies organised more around smaller, more agile product teams that can deliver meaningful products more efficiently. Cloud computing has greased the wheels, the Lean Startup has provided the inspiration, mobile take-up is driving the need: we just need the leadership in our industry to take advantage.
When you’re not working, you’re…
Playing soccer, occasionally strumming a guitar and getting out of town with the family as often as possible.
Your advice to others who are starting out.
Learning is obviously key when you are starting out, so try to learn as deeply as possible. If you are using a programming language, try to find out everything you can about it, not just what you need to know for your current project. Read lots of code and books: ask people for the books that they found indispensable when they started. And spend as much time as you can with people who can teach you.
How can others connect with you?