Rob Birrell


Currently working as a self-employed professional photographer, I have a varied background in IT and Digital Media. I developed my own professional photography website ( and maintain a professional weblog utilising the Wordpress content management platform (


Up until January 2005 I was a Senior Software Engineer / Analyst Programmer having worked for 16 years in IT across a broad range of industry sectors including telecommunications, finance, the internet and export. I specialised in server programming in C, C++, Java and shell script for UNIX platforms while also having a sound grounding in internet and web technologies on both UNIX and Windows platforms. I have worked in both small and large organisations and am able to appreciate the benefits and different working styles of both.


I’m a competent team player with the ability to communicate effectively with both technical and non-technical colleagues at all levels.

Key Skills and Knowledge Areas

  • Internet, WWW, and HTML – HTML, JavaScript, ASP, and VBScript.
  • Photography – Commercial and Digital Photography
  • C/C++ - 15 years C and 5+ years of C++, largely in a UNIX environment.
  • UNIX – shell programming using the POSIX shell and Perl on Solaris and HPUX
  • SQL – RDBMS, Informix, Oracle, SQLServer and ESQLC programming.
  • Java – Java GUI development using the Swing class set. Some Java Servlet development and JDBC.
  • Analysis and Design - Object Oriented Analysis and Design of both small and large systems.


September 2007 to date

Self-employed Commercial Photographer

Have had a variety of commissions from photographing Oil Sensors to Driving Instructors.


September 2005 to July 2007

Studying for HND in Photography and Digital Imaging at City of Sunderland College


January 2005 to August 2005


            While looking for suitable IT employment I kept myself busy with maintaining my travel website (, getting married, going on honeymoon to Botswana and improving my photography.


February 2002 to 3rd January 2005
Orange Personal Communications Systems,

Senior Analyst Programmer / Solutions Engineer

  • Developed and enhanced a new rating system written in Informix ESQL/C to price, of the order of, 200K daily wholesale call transactions producing a robust, maintainable and expandable platform.
  • Managed major platform upgrade and associated code changes of all wholesale billing and rating subsystems from HPUX9 to HPUX11.
  • Implemented a complete configuration and build management system to allow 2 million lines of source code to be easily maintained and deployed.
  • Enhanced existing front-end finance support systems for the monitoring of roaming relationships.
  • Reviewed offshore developers’ work packages written in Java.


November 2000 to November 2001

Exportsite Ltd, Sunderland

Senior Software Engineer

The Exportsite was an internet “start-up” company, which provided a subscription based internet service to help small businesses with their exporting. Was one of two principal developers involved in all aspects of the site development from its inception. Changes in the economic climate led to the company being dissolved in less than a year.

  • Developed the customer account management and access component of the site using ASP and SQLServer and technologies.
  • Database analysis and design.
  • Developed server-side and database functionality to interface with third-party systems.


January 2000 to October 2000

MBA Systems (North Yorkshire) Ltd., Richmond

Senior Software Engineer

Worked in the North Yorkshire office of MBA, which produces software for the financial services market, until the company decided to close its northern office in October 2000.

  • Co-authored a stock market research and data-entry browser written in Visual C++.
  • Developed SQL Server scripts for upgrade of legacy systems.
  • Developed Java Servlets using JDBC and sockets for a prototype internet Stock Market Research service.
  • Collaborated in the development of a new share dealing service for Abbey National using ASP (JavaScript and VBScript), and HTML.

January 1996 to December 1999

Graham Technology, Hillington and Bridge of Weir, Glasgow

Software Engineer

  • Developed and maintained GT’s Business Process Server platform written in C/C++/ESQLC.
  • Developed thin client customer presentation components, both web based HTML and Java Applets making GT’s Business Process Server technology available to a broad range of distributed users.


January 1991 to December 1995

British Telecommunications Software Development Division, Glasgow

Assistant Executive Engineer

  • Design and development of Service Management Systems namely; CARS (Concert Alarm Reporting System), CEMS (Customer Event Management System) and MCSS (Major Customer Service System).
  • C Development for the Concert Network Management System.
  • Provided second line support for the Concert Network Management System.
  • C++ development of messaging objects for the GCH - Global Customer Handling system.


September 1988 to January 1991

British Telecommunications Research Laboratories, Ipswich, Suffolk

Assistant Executive Engineer

  • Design and development of a secure data communication systems.
  • Formulation of security policy and threat models for secure systems.
  • Software verification, validation and testing.
  • Developed and implemented section Quality Management System.
  • Research into computer viruses and other forms of malicious code.

Education and Professional Development

College            HND Photography and Digital Imaging, City of Sunderland College, 2007

University        BSc (Hons) Electronics and Microcomputer Systems, University of Dundee, 1988

Training           Software Engineering, C, C++, Object Oriented Analysis and Design, ESQLC, Oracle Forms 4.5, Photoshop


Participated in GLEAM 2007/08 ( GLEAM stands for Graduate Learning of Entrepreneurship Accelerated through Mentoring and is a programme run by Durham University’s Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning aimed at helping creative graduates startup their own businesses.

Additional Information

  • Interests include hill walking, photography, DIY, family
  • Passionate about travel and enjoys working on own websites (, and in spare time.
  • Took part in the 1993 Raleigh International Expedition to Chile. Worked on a number of projects including geological mapping, archaeological investigations, building a children's' playground, and building a jetty.