I was born in Wimbledon, south London — home of The Championships — and
lived there for approximately 5 years before moving across the river to
Eastcote where I lived, grew up and went to school (where my
year 11 ball was featured in The Independent).
At the end of 2003, I created my first website, wackomenace (named after
I used one of the then-common ninja name generator websites), using a
prepaid card (Splash Plastic) and a friendly web host that accepted it
(Purple Cloud). It soon grew to include a blog, tools and resources as
well as some of my first open-source code.
I quickly got into the then popular "blog scene" featuring such
luminaries as (in no particular order) Matt Haughey, Anil Dash,
Jeffrey Zeldman, Jason Kottke, Eric Meyer, Mark Pilgrim, Cameron Barrett,
Dave Shea, Dan Cederholm, Douglas Bowman, Daniel Bogan and Shaun Inman,
amongst others, taking design and development cues as the web quickly
evolved. I was even one of the kottke.org micropatrons and Kickstarter
backers for the reboot of Upcoming.org.
In 2006, I went to university at the University of Reading where I got a
degree in Computer Science. During that time, I worked for a year at
the Microsoft Technology Centre in Reading.
Around the end of 2008, wackomenace went offline as I migrated to more
"respectable" domain names.
My first job out of university was a Business Analyst at Shell on the
graduate programme. I stayed with Shell for four-and-a-half years,
working in a number of areas and it's also where I met my future wife.
During this time, I also ran TwentyFourNine, a small web development
agency, on the side. I was even one of the sponsors of BarCamp London 9.
After this time, I decided that I wanted to get back into hands-on
development and so left the comfort of a multinational company to
move to orderswift, a small startup working in online food ordering.
It was a change of industry and a massive change of pace and
responsibility, doing everything from web development to hardware
installation and customer service. I stayed for a year, but probably
learnt about five years worth in the time!
I was looking for something a little different at this point, and
happened to come across the Government Digital Service. I liked the
organisation, their work and their ways of working, so when the
opportunity arose, I said yes with little hesitation. I spent three
years working on various parts of GOV.UK, and in that time moved up to
eventually become Lead Developer. I also, for the first time, carried
out and led interviews and became a line manager. I had an
Instagram story made about my work and blogged about
the meaning of responsible building. The work gave me a real sense of
purpose and I loved every moment of it.
In 2019, having decided to move from London to Cornwall with my wife,
and remote working still being something that wasn't universally accepted,
I left GDS and London, and started work at Resolver as a Lead Developer,
mostly remote but with three days a month in the office in London. I used
to travel by train or plane and stay with my parents, but COVID-19 put an
end to this regular commute. I worked on My Resolution Hub (previously
Accord ODR), a new SaaS app aimed at dispute resolution providers. In
addition, my wife and I took on the project management of our own
self-build house from 2020.
In April 2021, I moved to Hopin, where I worked as a Senior Backend
Engineer, initially working on customer-facing analytics and latterly on
experimental features for product growth. In May 2021, we moved to our
newly-built house, and we’ve been finishing bits ever since.
In July 2022, we bought our first puppy, Saffy, a Portuguese Water Dog,
and have been training her and managing a hyper dog ever since!
In November 2022, along with a lot of others, I was made redundant from
Hopin, and in December 2022, our daughter Evie was born. I took some
involuntary time off to look after her for a few weeks.
In January 2023, I started working as a Ruby contractor, and I currently
work for Office for Product Safety and Standards.
About this site
This is the umpteenth iteration of my personal website. I've moved a
number of times between hosting providers, technology stacks and having
a blog versus a plain, low-maintenance landing page. You can find older
iterations for my previous websites at ruben.arakelyan.uk, ruben.am,
ra.me.uk, rubenarakelyan.com, rubenarakelyan.co.uk and
twentyfournine.co.uk at the Internet Archive. In addition, most old URLs
should still work because cool URIs don't change.
I've deliberately kept this site as simple as possible with no bells
or whistles. Just plain text.
The current version of the site is created using Nova, stored on GitHub
and hosted on Netlify.