Simon Betton

Simon Betton

Lead/Staff Software Engineer

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© 2024 Simon Betton.

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About Me

A lead software engineer with about 17 years of diverse experience, I have a passion for problem-solving. I have delivered tailored solutions for a range of entities, from leading brands and agencies to innovative startups and charities. In doing so, I’ve driven the delivery of exceptional tech solutions and fostered an optimal environment for my team’s success.

A strong advocate for modern development architecture. Dedicated to creating simplified DX, better performance, cost-effectiveness, and scalability.

Profile

  • As a key contributor to the development of GetSetUp’s new platform for scale, supporting over four million users, playing a crucial role in microservices, APIs, CDK, Github actions, data management, events, payments, and search functionality. My involvement extended to tech strategy, planning, and review. I delivered highly scalable solutions that enabled third-party vendors, including AOL, to feature GetSetUp classes on their platforms.
  • At DDB, I was instrumental in enhancing the development team’s skill-set, thereby expanding the organisation’s technical capabilities. We focused on delivering modern development architecture, such as JAMstack, along with serverless microservices architecture.
  • I led the project to provide nationwide in-store Wi-Fi access for McDonald’s. Additionally, I developed a unique, multi-personality, endless chatbot designed to engage scammers, processing over one million emails in its first month utilising IBM Watson.
  • I was involved in overseeing, coordinating, and supporting the development of a high-availability service for Lotto’s digital ads. These ads dynamically altered the creative and jackpot amount, negating the need for creating new ads for each jackpot.
  • I was instrumental in the construction of a self-service SaaS product aimed at small business owners. This product allowed users to manage their website, create assets, and publish on Facebook for a monthly subscription.
  • Built a digital display platform for Auckland Airport. Utilising facial recognition, the 65 displays around the airport showed support for teams during the Lions Rugby Tour, resulting in 96k shows of support.
  • Achieved AWS Well Architected compliance for Westpac Australia’s SaaS security policies and maintaining 99.99 percent availability with a maximum request latency of 400ms for the Buzzdial realtime second-screen platform, even while accommodating hundreds of thousands of concurrent users.

Core competencies:

  • Passion for technology and to learn
  • Problem-solving
  • Big picture thinking
  • Communication

Experience

October 2021 - Present (1yr 8mos)

GetSetUp — Lead Software Engineer

GetSetUp is an online community of 4m+ people who want to learn new skills with others, unlocking new experiences in their lives. A safe, social, and interactive learning environment specially designed for older adults.

Key achievements:

  • Collaborated on the development of a new highly scalable technology stack for GetSetup, deployed on a Kubernetes AWS infrastructure. This included crafting a new content layer utilising NodeJS, Superstruct, PostgreSQL, TypeScript, Jest, and semi-RPC API design. Furthermore contributing to a class sessions layer, handling session scheduling and Zoom integration, in addition to building an administration tool using Next.JS and TailwindCSS.
  • Contributed significantly to the development of the GetSetUp Embedded product. This system allows partners to present GetSetup video content seamlessly to their own users. Notably, my involvement facilitated the successful launch of our pilot programme with AOL. I was primarily responsible for building out the content layer, controls, delivering the Next.JS React components and styling, and ensuring the platform was highly scalable, responsive, reliable and resilient.
  • Successfully orchestrated a platform-wide migration of Zoom accounts for all classes and guides, ensuring minimal disruption to services and smooth transition.
  • As a code owner for numerous services, I have led technical approaches, conducted peer reviews, ensured the delivery of high-quality code and continuation of code patterns and conventions.
  • Actively contributed to the engineering tech leads discussions, sharing insights, offering solutions, and advocating for best practices.
  • Excellent communication skills and a strong passion for helping and mentoring other engineers, promoting a culture of collaboration and continuous learning.

Technologies and tools used (in no particular order):

TypeScript • GraphQL • Algolia • PostgreSQL • MySQL • DynamoDB • NodeJS • Superstruct • AWS • Kubernetes • AWS S3 • AWS CDK • AWS SQS • AWS SNS • Next.js • React • Jest • RPC API Design • JWT Tokens • Redis • Apollo Server

May 2021 - October 2021 (6mos)

General Studios — Head of Technology

I was responsible for the systemisation of the agency — implementing processes that optimise the development, devOps and resourcing workflow. I led the adoption of new technologies; along with being central in hiring, resource allocation and scouting.

Technologies and tools used (in no particular order):

Next.js • TypeScript • Prisma • PostgreSQL • Contentful • Storybook • TailwindCSS • GraphQL • Algolia • MySQL • Vultr • Cloudflare • Vercel • Netlify • Figma

February 2016 - May 2021 (5yr 4mos)

DDB New Zealand

  • November 2019 - May 2021 (1yr 7mos)

    Head of Technology

  • February 2016 - November 2019 (3yrs 9mos)

    Tech Lead

Led the most successful digital projects DDB had ever produced; implemented new technology stacks; delivered DDB owned SaaS products and strengthened confidence in what DDB can deliver. Engaging, motivating and supporting the engineering team of six.

I delivered world-class development on large and small projects for commercial, government and enterprise clients; understanding business requirements, designing solutions to suit and often consulted clients on their internal technical approaches - providing a holistic view on technical recommendations and processes.

Technologies and tools used (in no particular order):

Next.js • Gatsby • NodeJS • GraphQL • Contentful • ReactJS • TypeScript • JavaScript • Serverless • JAMstack • AdonisJS • Amazon Web Services (EC2, ELB, VPC, Lambda, API Gateway, DynamoDB, Aurora MySQL RDS, SQS, CodePipeline, CodeCommit, CodeBuild, CodeDeploy, Cloudformation, IAM, Secrets Manager, Cloudfront, CloudTrail, S3, CloudWatch) • Well Architected Framework • micro-services • Algolia • Sendgrid • Cloudflare • Netlify • Sitehost • TailwindCSS • Webpack • Laravel framework • MySQL • NoSQL • Redis • VueJS • SilverStripe • PHP • Microsoft Azure app services

March 2014 - February 2016 (2yrs)

Buzzdial — Full Stack Engineer

A start-up focused on real-time audience sentiment during live events, I played a key role in establishing the technology stack and building a platform capable of handling hundreds of thousands of concurrent users. The platform had been utilised in notable events like the 2015 UK ITV Leaders debate, Shark Tank Australia, SBS Eurovision, and the 2015 Rugby Championship featuring the All Blacks.

Technologies and software used (in no particular order):

PHP • Redis • Memcached • AWS (EC2 - auto scaling multi-zone clusters and RDS, S3, Cloudfront) • JavaScript

January 2010 - February 2014 (4yrs 2mos)

Digital Arts Network — Full Stack Engineer

My most significant project was the development of TVNZ Ondemand’s mobile and tablet applications for both Apple and Android platforms. This project, carried out in collaboration with Brightcove, a Boston-based streaming partner, gained considerable recognition. The iOS and Android apps not only topped their respective app store charts soon after launch but also garnered multiple awards at the Best Awards.

Another key project I spearheaded was the creation of myWealth, a comprehensive wealth management and planning tool for NZ Funds, a firm specialising in wealth management. This innovation was well-received and was also honoured with a Best Award.

Technologies and software used (in no particular order):

JavaScript • Node.js • Redis • PHP • HTML5 + CSS3 • Phonegap + Apache Cordova (hybrid app development) • Expression Engine

September 2009 - January 2010 (5mos)

National College of Design and Technology — Tutor / Speaker

I played a pivotal role in facilitating the transition phase between the departure of the Head of Department and the arrival of a new colleague. My support was primarily helping students learn the fundamentals of CSS and exploring CMS Made Simple.

July 2007 - April 2009 (1yr 10mos)

The Web Company — Full Stack Engineer

I was responsible for comprehensive project delivery that encompassed every phase of development. This included the initial planning stage, design conceptualisation, content creation and compilation, client engagement and project management, as well as front-end and back-end development. Furthermore, I was involved in hosting to ensure the efficient operation and continuous improvement of the systems in place.

The variety of projects I handled was vast, ranging from static brochure websites for simplistic yet impactful online presence to full-featured content management systems for dynamic and flexible content delivery. On top of these, I also developed comprehensive e-commerce solutions that facilitated seamless online transactions and customer engagement.

Technologies and software used (in no particular order):

PHP • JavaScript • HTML + CSS • osCommerce • Magento • Prestashop • Wordpress • CMS Made Simple • Joomla

Recognition

While the numerous awards I’ve garnered over the years from both local and international platforms, such as the Axis Awards, Cannes Lions, The Mashies, The Webby Awards, Spikes Asia, D&AD, CSS Design Awards, FWA, The One Show, The Effie Awards, WARC Awards, The Best Awards, and Awwwards, have been significant achievements, they are not my sole driving force.

At the heart of my work lies a profound commitment to crafting solutions that truly benefit people and contribute to the success of businesses. My primary objective is to deliver high-quality products that resonate with users and drive tangible business results. While the awards are certainly validating, they are an added bonus to the gratification I find in making a genuine difference through my work. At the end of the day, the true reward lies in the successful completion of a project that creates real value for both the users and the business.


Available for after-hours freelance software development. Get in touch!