Steven Mapes

Freelance Software Solution Engineer · CTO · Python/PHP Dev · AWS · DBA · System Architect · Ashford, Surrey · steve@jigsawtech.co.uk

With 2 decades of experience as Head of IT, software solutions engineer, developer, architect, IT consultant and network/database administrator in industries including insurance, mobile and marketing. I've delivered highly scalable, high-velocity platforms to my clients and employers. I'm a software solutions engineer by trade specialising in working on creating bespoke "back-office systems" and general problem solving. I've managed teams of developers and systems administrators reporting directly to the board, dealing with clients as well as internal staff. I've worked with both WAMP and LAMP environments, enjoy learning and developing new skills.


Experience

IT Software Solutions Engineer

Steven Mapes T/A Jigsaw Tech - Self Employed

I am a web solutions developer who specialises in mobile web, web services, API integration, development, SEO, SEM, CRO, analytics, social integration, social strategy and the semantic web.

With 20 years’ professional experience behind me, I am ready to work with you to architect and build new web applications and services, automated processes, consulting on IT solutions, design and administer databases as well as to work on business intelligence and reporting services.

I am happy working on in-house enterprise systems, hosted solutions or public/private cloud.

Examples of my clients include Recruiters, Digital Marketing Agencies, Research Companies, Solicitors, e-Commerce websites, corporate software houses and sole-traders/individuals, event organisers and retailers.

Technologies used include:
Webservers - Apache, Nginx, Flask
Programming Languages - Python, Django, PHP
Databases - MySQL, MSSQL, Neo4J, Memcached, Redis
Operating Systems - Linux (Ubuntu, Mint), Windows Server 2008/2012
Cloud Solutions - Amazon Web Services (EC2, RDS, Lambda, Auto-Scaling, ElastiCache, Cloudfront, S3, Glacier), Zappa
Version Control - GIT, SVN
Front-end Development - HTMl5, CSS3, jQuery, Bootstrap, Foundation 5, Datatables
Other - Bash scripting, screen scraping, API development & integration, Cordova, Phonegap, Gunicorn

Examples Projects: - High Velocity / High Volume Tracking Platform (Ad / URL / Event)
- Event CMS
- Recruitment CMS
- Homecare Mobile App
- Homecare rota admin tool
- e-Commerce system
- Questionnaire platform
- Deposit checker
- AWS Platform Architecture
- Technical SEO Audit
- ELT Tools/ Data Analysis
- Technical Consulting
- Database Performance Tuning
- General front-end and "Back-end system" development.

Please refer to the Projects section for further details.
October 2012 - Present

Director & Co-Founder / CTO

TFNation Ltd

TFNation® is a multi-day, family-friendly events for fans of Transformers® and other robot brands. The convention takes place each August in Birmingham, England.

I helped found TFNation in 2015 and officially became a director in 2020.

May 2015 - Present

Director & Co-Founder / CTO

More Than Merch The Eye Ltd

B2B and B2C Pop-Culture Merchandise supplier

March 2018 - Present

CTO & Co-Founder

Event Nation Limited - (Evena)

I co-founded Event Nation after spotting a space in the market for a highly-connected event platform, which could maintain a persistent online present whilst putting the data back into the hands of the event organisers. This was especially noticeable within the pop-culture event industry where there is a strong community feel and the traditional "fire and forget" websites do not provide event owners long-term value for money as the sites are normally pulled down after the event.

We designed a new event system using the Neo4j graph as a backend that would allow for highly connected data. This meant that fraud detection was easier, as was ensuring limited ticket allocations were kept, profiles of groups of attendees (anonymised) could be created and patterns discovered. This gained added usefulness with our built in e-commerce platform that allowed not only for ticket sales but also for the sales of general merchandise. Because a graph was at the heart of the platform it was easy for us to create a recommendation engine for tickets as well as merchandise based on similar attendees. The platform allowed us to connect attendees’ social data, where they gave permission, and discover which attendees were more likely to have friends/connections that would also be interested in attending our clients’ events.

Jan 2017 - March 2019

Head of IT

Moko Social Media

Having bought AMV I was immediately promoted by Moko to Head of IT for Moko Social Media UK. My role consisted of managing and mentoring a team of developers and system administrators, leading the development of the mobile platform (LAMP stack), integrating with 3rd party companies from suppliers to billing providers as well as streamlining and automated the platform.

Reporting directly to the CEO, I was part of the management team taking day-to-day decisions on the direction of the company as well as giving SEO advise to the larger Moko group.

Jan 2012 - Oct 2012

Team Manager (IT)

American Mobile Ventures

As Team Manager I was responsible for managing, hiring and training a team of developers whilst continuing to lead the platform development.

AMV were purchased by Moko Social Media in December 2011.

May 2011 - Jan 2012

Senior PHP Developer

American Mobile Ventures

As a senior developer I worked on all aspects of the AMV platform(s) including connectivity, billing integration, mobile and website rendering, adult verification, mobile user identification, handset identification, multi-lingual support, regulation confirmation, templating, operator chat development and integration, tracking, dynamic content, search, reporting, marketing api's, migration of code base from procedural PHP4 into OO PHP5.

Database-wise, this role included working with tables in excess of 350 million rows which meant performance needed to be considered at all times.

Oct 2006 - May 2011

Windows System Engineer

Journey Travel Insurance

I started at Journeys Travel Insurance as a Claims Administrator and moved into a mixed role with IT Support the next year. From October 1999 I moved fully into IT working in a mixed role as a PHP Developer, SQL Server DBA, Window Sys Admin and 1st/2nd line support for the UK and Italian offices

Apr 2004 - Oct 2006

Systems Engineer / IT Support Co-Ordinator

Journey Travel Insurance

During this period my role consisted of administrating the Windows Servers (Windows Server 2K, MSSQL 6.5/7), working as a Developer (PHP, HTML, Javascript), as well as leading the support team.

Apr 2000 - Apr 2004

IT Support Analyst

Journey Travel Insurance

1st / 2nd line desktop and server support on a windows network. Including MS Office, Exchange 5.5, Windows NT, support of bespoke Delphi based application, training, ad hoc report writing using SQL Server.

May 1999 - Apr 2000

Claims Administrator

Journey Travel Insurance

It was my job to process incoming insurance claims and logging them into both the new and old platforms, process the documents sent by claimants and EMS companies.

Mar 1999 - May 1999

Skills

Software Development
  • Python
  • Django
  • PHP
  • HTML5
  • CSS
  • Javascript
  • jQuery
  • Windows Services
Database Dev / Admin
  • MySQL/MariaDB
  • SQL Server
  • Neo4j
  • Memcached
  • REDIS
  • ElasticSearch
System Admin / Architect
  • AWS
  • Linux (Ubuntu, Debian preferred)
  • Windows Admin
  • Docker
  • Platform Architecting
Workflow / General
  • Test-Driven Developement
  • GitHub / BitBucket
  • Git Flow
  • Mobile-First, Responsive Design
  • Agile Development
  • Team Management
  • Cross Browser Testing & Debugging
  • Technical SEO
  • Web Scraping / Automation
  • Technical / Developer Interview
  • Technical Consultancy

Projects

HiQuest

Horizon International
I was contracted by Horizon International to create a new web portal that would be used both by internal staff across the global regions as well as by the clients and agents. The platform would need to scale and be globally available with low latency whilst working across a multitude of devices. The platform would handle data validation, reporting and tracking of shipments and would interact with both their back-office freight system and existing client website HiCloud.
The proposed solution would use AWS with a multi-AZ RDS backend with read-replicas, webservers behind an application load balancer, I would use ElastiCache (memcached) for caching and speed, S3 and Cloudfront would be used for serving of static files whilst S3 would also be used as the backend for binary files. Global Accelerator would be used to reduce global latency allowing end-users in Japan to connect to the Tokyo AWS region whilst US and European based users would connect to their local AWS end-points and then be routed globally across the faster AWS backbone. The core platform was built upon a stack consisting of Nginx, Gunicorn and Django with the Django Rest Framework used to provide both public and private APIs. GIT was used as the versioning system with BitBucket Pipelines used for automatic unit tests running upon commit and both Snyk.io and PyCharms Security plugins were used to monitor the third party requirements for security vulnerabilities
Technologies Used: AWS, Python, Django, MySQL, Memcached, SQS, S3, Cloudfront, Elastic Load Balancer, VPC, VPC-Peering, AWS Global Accelerator, SNS, RDS, Windows Services (compiled from Python), Linux services, Django Rest Framework, BitBucket, Snyk, Docker, Gunicorn, Nginx, Bootstrap 4, jQuery, ECMA6
Jan 2020 - Present

CRM

Galago Group (Nursdoc, Nursing Direct, QuickTemp)
I designed and built the new internal CRM for managing candidates prior to importing them into their existing legacy back-office software Aspire. The CRM allows for full management of the candidates from initial application through compliance, with data insights for management and audit tracking. at this point they are imported into the existing back-office system for booking.
As part of the project the data needed to be imported into the closed-off Aspire system. This part of the project was achieved by creating Windows Services that would connect to and directly import data into SQL Server.
Over time the CRM has developed new features including the ability to monitor and read emails, to send emails via a variety of methods (SMTP, AWS SES), send SMS messages, upload files, process and extract the content of files including PDFs, Word Documents, Excel spreadsheets, images and sound files, extract data from Aspire into the CRM and to keep both platforms in-sync with each other.
Technologies Used: Python, Django, NeoModel, MySQL, Neo4j, Memacached, Gunicorn, Nginx, Apache, S3, Cloudfront, Lambda, SNS, SQS, ELB, Qlikview, Windows Server, Windows Services, Linux Services, ElasticSearch, Redis
September 2018 - Present

Homecare App

Galago Group (Nursing Direct)
I created an Android and iOS app for Homecare workers to view their rota for the week, check-in/out of appointments, create and view notes and contact the office. The apps tracks the location and duration of visits, sending notifications to internal staff if the carer’s location is outside of a user-configurable distance of the appointment location.
The app’s management integrates into the CRM platform I built allowing consultants to build rotas and manage both clients and carers.
The app uses SMS based pin authentication, supports foreground and background location tracking (interval and state-change triggered) and talks to an API hosted on AWS.
Technologies Used: HTML5, CSS, Javascript, OnsenUI, jQuery, TransistorSoft, Cordova, PhoneGap Build, Python, Django, MySQL, Neo4j, AWS, S3, SQS, SNS, ELB, EC2, RDS, ElasticCache, Memcached, JSON, SMS, OpenStreetMap
September 2018 - Present

Booking And Management System

Chalet Servoz
Chalet Servoz were a client of Evena, now transferred over to Springbourne Tech. We designed and built a new reservation booking and management system for Chalet Servoz.
Technologies Used: Python, Django, MySQL, Memcached, Django Storages, AWS, S3, EC2, Linux
September 2018 - Present

TFNation

TFNation Limited
I co-founded TFNation as an event company within the pop-culture event space. Our main event focuses on the Transformers fan community. I worked as both an organiser, IT consultant, IT directory, customer service lead as well as being in charge of marketing (social and physical) including our takeover of Forbidden Planet stores across the country in April 2016.
Initially the TFNation event platform was provided by Evena however the platform was then rebuilt form scratch in December 2019.

Technologies Used: Django, Python, Neo4j, MySQL, Memcached, Linux, Nginx, Gunicorn, Javascript, SQS, Git, SES, S3, Cloudfront, Route53, ELB, Cloudwatch

June 2015 - Present

Evena

Event Nation Limited
Event Nation was formed to create a new event ticketing and e-commerce system built for events and event organisers who wanted control of their data and understood the need to keep historic event details on the web for marketing and SEO. We spotted a space in the market, especially the pop-culture event area, where there is a strong community feel and the traditional B2B players "fire and forget" websites do not provide the event owners long-term value for money as the sites are normally pulled down after the event. Some organised can spend 12-24 months adverting and marketing for an event only for it to disappear from the internet afterwards. This makes follow-up marketing difficult especially for those events where their attendees wish to engage and revisit the website for image galleries, videos, forums etc. We designed a new event system using the Neo4j graph as a backend that would allow for highly connected data. This meant that fraud detection was easier, as was ensuring limited ticket allocations were kept, profiles of groups of attendees (anonymised) could be created and patterns discovered. This gained added usefulness with our built-in e-commerce platform that allowed not only for ticket sales but also for the sales of general merchandise. Because a graph was at the heart of the platform it was easy for us to create a recommendation engine for tickets as well as merchandise based on similar attendees. It also allowed us to connect attendees’ social data, where they gave permission, and discover which attendees were more likely to have friend/connections that would also be interested in attending our clients’ events.
What also separated us form many of our competitors was that the ticket software was fully branded as our clients’ websites rather than being an Evena event portal. This meant that we ensures that client data was always kept separate and belonged to them with only anonymised data being pulled into a central system for analytics and global profiling.
Technologies Used: Django, Python, Neo4j, MySQL, Memcached, Linux, Nginx, Gunicorn, Javascript, SQS, Git, SES, S3, Cloudfront, Route53, ELB, Lambda, Cloudwatch
Jan 2017 - Mar 2019

Optic Questionnaire Platform

Instinctif Partners - via Springbourne Tech Limited
Instinctif Partners are an international business communications consultancy , whom specialise in reputation, influence and communication. They required a new questionnaire platform to be built to allow them to perform regulatory compliance reports for clients on an on-going basis with tailored question and answer sets.
Instinctif Partners are an international business communications consultancy , whom specialise in reputation, influence and communication. They required a new questionnaire platform to be built to allow them to perform regulatory compliance reports for clients on an on-going basis with tailored question and answer sets.
Due to the highly connected, highly flexible nature of questionnaires we architected the platform to be built primarily on-top of the graph database Neo4j.
Technologies Used: Neo4j, Django, Python, Linux, AWS
Jul 2016 - Sept 2016

Ampere Analysis

Ampere Analysis Limited - via Springbourne Tech Limited
For this project I was subcontracted by Springbourne Tech Ltd to work with them on a development project for their client Ampere Analysis.
Ampere Analysis are a media research and analytics subscription business. The project was designing, building and delivering a bespoke web platform which could be used both as a public blog / CMS whilst also offer paid access to in-depth reports, data discovery and business intelligence tools over a highly scalable system.
The website was developed in Python and Django and integrated with QlikSense to handle authentication for Qliksense as well as to provide a more powerful export API. Due to the connected data we chose to use Neo4j as the based for the platform.
In 2020 v2 of the website was launched which removed the need for a graph database replacing it with a pure RDBMS / Caching system as the connected data was no longer required.
Technologies Used: Django, Python, AWS, Apache, Nginx, MySQL, Neo4j, QlikSense, Javascript, Elasticsearch, Memcached.
Feb 2015 - Jun 2015 & March - August 2020

Tenancy Deposit Checker

Deposit Recovery Claims
Deposit Recovery Claims wanted to create an online tool where members of the general public as well as staff could check to see if their deposits were registered within one of the three UK-based schemes. They wanted to have a central place to perform the search rather than having to perform each one independently.
Technologies Used: Django, Python, EC2, Lambda
April 2016 - Present

Wordpress Extension - Gravity Forms Enable Tracking From Cookies

Deposit Recovery Claims
Allows Gravity Forms fields to be populated with values read from cookies that are themselves taken from QueryString parameters passed to any page on the website. An example use case is to store the GCLID passed from Google Analytics, or other tracking parameter such as an affiliate id.
Technologies Used: PHP, Wordpress
April 2016 - Present

Mobi-Force Platforms

Mobi-Force
I designed and developed several mobile ad platforms for Mobi-Force including a bespoke lightweight ad server using just Nginx, an high-velocity, high volume, ad-tracking/routing platform, an affiliate platform, remarketing platform, ad exchange platform and more for use both by internal staff as well as external clients. The platform has to accept request for adverts, determine the best fit and server within a with 0.15 second response time.
Technologies Used: PHP, Linux, Nginx, Apache, Memcached, MySQL, Message Queues, Javascript, jQuery, AWS, EC2, EBS, ELB, RDS, SQS, SNS, Lambda, S3, Cloudwatch, Elasticache.
Oct 2012 - Oct 2017

Testimonals

Steve is an excellent, dedicated, meticulous developer.

He is one of the hardest-working developers I have worked with, and no matter what issues you throw at him, he will always tirelessly investigate until he has a solution. He goes above and beyond to help, and his knowledge of his trade is excellent. He's also a good guy which is an added bonus!

Krystyna Walker
Head of Business Solutions
Galago Group
Sept 2020
Krystyna Walker
Dan Stevenson
Dan Stevenson
Managing Director
Ampere Analysis
Sept 2020
Steve has worked with Ampere since we set the business up six year's ago. He's carried out consistently good work work in developing our core client database and licencing system, alongside the implementation and management of AWS. Steve is a great problem-solver and expert in his field - he's also reliable and easy to talk to (for a non-techie like myself).
Steven worked for me at Journeys Travel Insurance. He is an effective IT professional with a natural feel for the technology. He works hard, listens to what is required and makes useful contribution to discussion. He was great to have him in the team and I know he earned the respect of our users too.
Simon Hooper
CEO/Inventor
Productive Technology
Oct 2014
Simon Hooper
Siva
Siva Ganesmoorthy
Engineering Manager
NatrualMotion
Oct 2012

When I first joined AMV as a Technical Developer back in November 2010, I feared the worst within the first week of me joining. The system AMV had was complex, not least complicated. It had a mix of procedural code as well as Object Oriented code. I also had to grasp new terminologies in the Mobile world, one that I was quite green on.

Steve's thirst for sharing knowledge was key to my steep learning curve. His continuous dedication to his work and determination to help others learn had been an invaluable asset to AMV. In the 12 months I had been a developer with AMV, I had learnt a lot from Steve. As a leader and manager, he loves making sure that new developers learn the system all the time. He ensures that he shares as much information with them to make their stay at AMV easier.

I would recommend that anyone looking for technical projects, speak to Steve as he is a source and wealth of technical information waiting to explode! I would be happy to work with Steve again on technical projects in future.

Steve is an absolute pleasure to work with, conscientious, hard-working and extremely dedicated he goes above and beyond the call of duty. Steve has a fantastic knack of understanding the commercial requirements within the business, which enabled us to develop sound products and services with the right technical support. Never one to say no, Steve always found a technical way around the Commercial ideas and ensured these technicalities were communicated in such a way that everyone understood exactly how it worked. A real blessing for those without in-depth technical knowledge. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Steve and would be delighted to work with him again in the future.
Leila Kassner
SVP Global Partnerships
Boku Inc
July 2012
Leila
Lee
Lee Hudson
Acquisition Media Lead EMEA
Adobe
Nov 2012

It was an absolute pleasure working with Steve during my time at AMV/MOKO. Whilst Steve worked in IT, a subject which is pretty alien to me, Steve always managed to explain things in simple terms which made it very easy for me to understand.

Nothing was too much for Steve, any problem or query you had, not matter how small, Steve would always make sure he'd explain it to you and ensure that the problem would be resolved.

Steve is a big loss to the company and I'd snap up the opportunity to work with him again!

Steve is a highly skilled, patient and goal oriented person who will be an asset to any team. He has the unique ability to think outside the box, push the envelope on technical development and never take no for an answer. He is also highly respected by his colleagues and has the ability to marshal troops around him.
Praful Krisna
CEO
Coseer
Jan 2012
Praful
Hardy
Hardeep Kapoor
CEO
WebEquator
June 2011

Steve is a great developer and is capable of handling projects very efficiently. It was great working with him. I would highly recommend Steve if anyone is looking for solutions in LAMP.

I worked with Steve for about 5 years at Journeys Travel Insurance and saw him progress from a Support role to a Developer and DBA role. Steve has a knack for learning technology fast and is very committed in getting things done.

Steve would be a valuable asset for any organisation and has my highest recommendation.

Joseph Lee
Senior Cloud Data Architect
Cloudreach
Dec 2009
Joe

Interests

When I'm not working either on client project or my own business ventures, I can be found enjoying a variety of pursuits. I play cricket for Early Cricket Club in Div 1 of the Berkshire Cricket League. (I'm a left-arm swing bowler for those who are interested!) I enjoy being outdoors whether it's hiking or going for a ride on my Kawasaki Z1000SX motorcycle.

When indoors, I follow a number of sci-fi and fantasy genre movies and television shows, as well as playing various boardgames with my friends.

I run various website relating to pop-culture including a couple of sites dedicated to The Transformers, one of which has been online since October 1999. I also run the primary resource website for the 1980’s property Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light called TheVisionaries.net; I’m currently working on a Visionaries-themed coffee table book which I hope to bring for crowd-funding in 2021/2022. I run various website relating to pop-culture including a couple of sites dedicated to the Transformers including one that has been online since October 1999. I also run the primary resouce website for the 1980s property Visionaries:Knights of the Magical Light called TheVisionaries.net for which I am also currently working on a coffee table book which I hope to bring for crowd-funding in 2021/2022.


Awards & Certifications

Over the years I have completed various certifications covering many aspects of IT from network, architecture, database design, database admin, server admin and software development

  • Amazon Web Services Solution Architect Associate
  • Amazon Web Services CLoud Practitioner
  • Zend Certified Engineer (PHP)
  • Certified MySQL Developer
  • Microsoft Certified Database Administrator (MCDBA)
  • Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE)
  • Microsoft Certified Profession (MCP)
  • Cisco Certificate Network Associate