A profile picture of me on a bicycle - I look okay in this one

This is me

I'm Brett and I'm an Australian born Web Designer and Developer. I usually contract for Australian Government agencies, but I'm currently taking some time between contracts to apply for jobs in the USA.

I graduated from the University of Canberra with a Bachelor of Arts and three majors - Graphic Design, Digital Media, and Media Arts and Production. I love good design and have a bit of an entrepreneurial streak; I've had both successful and unsuccessful ventures in media, crowdfunding, cosmetic sales, subscription boxes and probably a number of other domains.

If you want to know about my professional experience and background, check out my resume page, otherwise for a bit of story, stick around here.


The longer version

When I was in high school my dad told me I should do something with computers as a career - but I'll get back to this point later.

I grew up in a regional town in Australia, and after taking a year off before college (I worked in a video store) I went to the Nation's capital, Canberra, to study a double degree in Law and Sports Journalism.

It took me a year of studying (and not so much studying) to work out that this wasn't what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, and that my ambition reached beyond a newspaper desk or a courtroom.

Now I faced the paradox of choice, do I study business, or science, or engineering - in the end I did the smart thing and based my decision on what my friends were doing :/ I had a mate who threw in studying Economics for Graphic Design, and I thought I'd join him. So a Bachelor of Graphic Design it was - at least for a couple of years anyway. As a young guy, I was still working on finding that balance of what interested me and what I felt I could do for the rest of my life. I found that I preferred a few of my design subjects over others, things like 3D animation and film making, so when I found out that these subjects and other constituted their own degree, I changed again.

Now I had been at university for 3 years, and thanks to the changes, still had 3 years to go. By year 5, I was growing tired of study and school, I was also working full-time at the university organising student events (I had been the president of a few clubs and societies, and had now found a way to get paid for the work), so I embarked on my final change. I sat down and looked at my transcript, thinking that surely after 5 years of study I had completed enough subjects to just graduate with something and get on with my life. Turns out I was right.

Five years of study had supplied me with enough knowledge to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts with majors in Graphic Design, Digital Media, and Media Arts and Production. So I packed up my school bag and my full time job and got out of there.

It was after graduating I picked up my first job, a coolish government gig working on building web applications for state and federal police agencies. I began as a graphic and web designer and this role eventually evolved into a web UI designer and developer.

Government work is okay, and it turns out that it supplies you with quite a lot of free time outside of work hours, and it was then that I started my first entrepreneurial venture, an entry into the crowdfunding market. Things didn't work out and after months and months of work and enough money to put down a home deposit, I threw in the towel - it's important to know when to do this! I learnt a lot of valuable lessons in this time, and have since pursued a number of other ventures, some more successful than others.

In 2014, I left that government job and took some time to head over to the USA - I spent about 2.5 months working as a sailing instructor at a summer camp, and about 2.5 months travelling the country. When I came back to Australia, things fell into place a little more and I knew I wanted to be a web designer and developer, I had a real passion for great user interfaces and the coding that held them together. I picked up a six month contract working as a pdf smartforms and javascript developer and then spent another 5 months abroad in the USA.

This time when I got back at the end of 2015, I decided I wanted to try and get a job in the US - a real kind of job. So I picked up another contract in the Australian government, this time as a UI/UX developer, and started looking at job boards in the States. Then in early January of 2016 I packed up my bags, visa and job offer in hand, and flew over San Francisco.

I spent most of the year working for an amazing ecommerce start up and made plenty of awesome friends and I was loving working for great startup. Unfortunately my taste of the startup life came full circle when, about 8 months into my role, the company ran out of runway and I was left without a job, without a visa, and with a one-way ticket back to Australia. I had an amazing 8 months living and working in California, but it had come to an end, and my visa meant a hasty return to Australia.

Thankfully Australian Government contracts aren’t hard to find and I had a new job before I’d even touched back down in Sydney.

But that brings me to today, I’ve been back in Australia for about 5 months now, and it’s time for me to get back over to the US. This time I’m shooting for NYC and am hoping to be there by March or April 2017. So watch this space, and I’ll be sure to update my story as I go.

In any case, feel free to drop me a line if there is anything web or UX related you want to chat about.

Oh and that bit about dad telling me to do something with computers for a career, well I guess the moral of that story is that no matter how right your dad is, sometimes you spend 10yrs trying to work out what he told you from the beginning - he likes to remind me of this fact!