Development manager James McDowall discusses his journey to TLA and search for innovative .NET developers

We’re growing. And as a result, we’re recruiting for the very best .NET developers to join us in Liverpool. But what can future employees expect from the city’s fastest-growing tech business?

To answer that question (and more) we’re joined by development manager James McDowall, who arrived at TLA earlier this year from Iceland Foods. He begins our chat by telling us what attracted him to his new role.

 “TLA is a market-leader and a technical innovator. That was obvious right from the outset and I knew it was something I wanted to be part of.”

James’s journey here via the world of frozen foods began with a Computer Science degree at Staffordshire University before roles as a systems developer at Aegon, a contracting position with Alliance & Leicester and five years at Hill Dickinson as a senior IT developer.

The Iceman cometh

At Iceland Foods, where he spent 6 years (most recently as technical architect) James was primarily responsible for leveraging their technology systems and leading a project which added over £1 million to the business in its first year.

“It was a versatile role,” he explains, “I was able to work on many different projects such as HR systems, a supplier financing portal, and labour and schedule planning for the 800+ stores and 26,000 staff that Iceland had at the time.

“Considering the number of technical challenges that we faced, the ability to seamlessly link all the pieces together to deliver a solution that had such a hugely positive impact within its 12 months was a significantly proud moment for me and my career”.

A few months after leaving Iceland, James is in Liverpool heading up our Platform Development team, one of three within TLA alongside Engagement and R&D. His remit covers leading a team of seven junior, mid- and senior-level .NET developers, steering the development life cycle on key projects and working on a major CRM development project.

“My main responsibilities are to apply the right technology fit, and work with my immediate team to deliver the best solutions for the business to further our lead generation activity.

“On a day-to-day basis, they will use bespoke technology to quantify and qualify the leads that come into the business before sending them on to the client.”

Technical innovators

As we continue to grow as a business, James is working with our in-house talent acquisition team to find and appoint .NET developers that have “technical diligence, problem-solving skills, and the ability to articulate technical requirements to non-technical people”.

He believes those new starters will be joining an “innovative, dynamic and progressive” team that “wants to be here and wants to keep improving”.

He cites the studio’s regular ‘brown bag’ lunches as one of the ways, the team push each other to be the best they can be. “One of the developers will give a talk about a subject within IT that they’re passionate about. The talks inspire new solutions, which helps to create a passionate, supportive and collaborative environment.”

James is determined to grow his team with the right people – a vision shared by other departments.

“Anyone considering a role at TLA needs to be prepared for a fast-paced environment where every day brings new challenges and where new technologies are embraced,” he says.

“We don’t just want developers, we want technical innovators with the willingness to strive beyond the norm and help us pioneer industry-shaping technology.”

If you’d like more information on the opportunities within James’s team and across the business, visit our Careers section today.