Chris is the Head of Open Technologies at Avanade and a Microsoft MVP.

I'm a technologist with business acumen, a legal background, design thinking savvy, and deep open-source expertise.

I have a burning passion for Open Technologies, Open Source and Sustainability.

My day job

I lead the Open Technologies & Open Innovation group at Avanade, housing our open-source projects office (OSPO), developer relations team, and Avanade ventures (startup enablement, academia, and foundations.)

My team works with organisations as varied as the Green Software Foundation (to reduce the carbon intensity of software), UCL, and the Digital Twin Consortium, supporting software development and creating new standards - the core theme is working out in the open.

My tech passions

I'm passionate about technology, believing in the importance of remaining hands-on, not presenting from an ivory tower but taking part in the design, coding, and delivery.

Because of this passion, outside Avanade, I contribute code as a Microsoft MVP, and I'm an ambassador for OpenUK - the organisation for Open Technology in the UK.

What I do, and how to find me

I usually contribute under the name Sealjay®,  writing tech content, and ruminating on content related to futurology and broader societal changes.

You can find out about events I've spoken at, or recent media mentions and external blog posts.

Want to get in touch? Hit me up on LinkedIn!

Awarded Microsoft MVP for AI / Artificial Intelligence in May 2021

Community Involvement

My Background

How did I get into tech?

I've been a geek across my life, dipping my toe into IRC and MUDs at nine years old... if those acronyms mean nothing to you, these were text-based interfaces! At thirteen, I co-developed a browser-based game on the LAMP stack, with 250,000~ deployments at its peak... and the examples could go on.

Before finding my feet in the tech world, I took a segue into a legal career, focussing on local government, financial services, and consumer regulations. I developed commercial understanding but ultimately found I could never resist the urge to improve the software around me.

Where is your career now?

I lead the Open Technologies & Open Innovation group at Avanade, housing our open-source projects office (OSPO), developer relations team, and Avanade ventures (startup enablement, academia, and foundations.)

Fused with my understanding of the power of design, I bring a well-rounded skillset: business acumen, technology expertise, and design thinking savvy to bring business stakeholders, developers, and enthusiastic customers together.

Most of my experiences and my niche tend to involve identifying an opportunity and then using my skillset across design, business analysis, and technology to build a new capability.

I've worked on projects around quantum computing, the internet of things, and distributed ledger technology - all to test ideas with real organisations, figuring out if these technologies work, and if they provide the right cost/benefit.

My most recent career roles at Avanade are Engineering & Product Lead for Emerging Technology, and Innovation Lead for the London Digital Studio (where I got to hone my design thinking skills).

Earlier examples include creating a Robotic Process Automation offering from the ground up, establishing the global Intelligent Automation Centre of Excellence, and creating Avanade's European Data & AI team.

So, what do you do, day to day?

I've already said I enjoy being hands-on -  at my core, I enjoy building things, exploring the implications of technology, so I can bring together a passion for design, legal implications, and the joy of seeing technology come to life.

My role varies from architecting on Azure or AWS, system design for new open-source projects, coding in TypeScript, GoLang or C# with Test-Driven Development, training software engineers on new technologies, creating with startups, or facilitating workshops with design thinking techniques... WHEW! Each week is very different.

Aside from my day job, and community contributions, I'm finishing my master's in Data Science, Technology, and Innovation at the University of Edinburgh; hopefully to start a PhD at the University of East London in September 2022, focussing on hands-on data science and software engineering.

Blowing off steam

Outside of work, I'm studying an MSc in Data Science, Technology and Innovation at the University of Edinburgh; and I'm usually either on a fitness trend (think F45, or CrossFit) or back to basics with Fencing and Powerlifting.

When we're allowed to travel, I like to see the sun and the sand.