James Heslip

APL Team Leader

James is an APL Team Leader with a keen interest in mathematics. His love for computing was almost an accident. From a young age he always enjoyed using them- playing video games and such- but it was never considered that anything more would come from it. James originally had plans to pursue a career in finance.

His first introduction to the world of software development came during his GCSEs. Computing was being offered as a subject for the first time. Given the logical skills he had proven through his passion for mathematics and IT, he was recommended to be one of the “guinea pig” candidates. After being exposed to the potential of computers, James realised that this could be something he wanted to do full time. He found a work experience placement at Optima where he was introduced to computing in industry. Seeing life in the work place was intriguing; it gave him an insight into what he was aiming to achieve.

His study continued to A-level, where he wrote a piece of stock-control software for a client as part of his coursework. The solution was mainly written in Visual Basic. It made use of an integrated relational database coupled with SQL for manipulation; two features of which he had previously not made use. James had to independently research them for use in his own work.

After graduating school, James contacted Optima and was able to secure an apprenticeship in Software Development with them. This involved studying various modules such as network fundamentals, computer games development and data modelling. Alongside this, James exposed himself to a variety of languages in his free time, e.g. Python, Javascript, HTML, CSS and C#.

James has completed his apprenticeship now. He has progressed into a job role which consists of working in a small team of developers to support heritage systems using APL. As legislation changes, relevant modifications to the systems must follow. Before this, he spent some time working on language processing in APL, with an intent to turn unstructured data (CVs and free-form texts) into things we can analyse and display statistics on.

James Heslip - APL Developer, Optima Systems

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