As I wrote in my recent reflections about the range of projects I helped to deliver during my time at the Open Data Institute and beyond, I’ve been thinking about the type of work I want to be doing in the future.
Most of the last few years has been very focused on research and advisory work. I’ve enjoyed all of that. But I’ve been missing the rewards that come from building, maintaining and growing things over the longer term.
I really enjoy consulting and freelance work in general. It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn about many different sectors and work with a range of different teams and organisations. But you can only go so far: a good engagement is really about providing insight, building capacity and the moving on to the next thing.
In my earlier career I spent more time making and maintaining stuff which has its own rewards. So I’ve been looking for a role that would allow me to do that. I’ve turned down some and got knocked back from others. So it goes.
I’m very happy to say that I’ve found a new part-time role. And it’s with a project that I’ve already been involved with for some time. Having stepped down as a trustee, as of next month I will be taking on the role of CTO of Energy Sparks on a part-time basis.
I helped to start the project a number of years ago. And have continued to provide some advice and support as it grew into a charity. Recently I’ve been helping the team build out some new features. Which is what prompted me to learn more about the UK’s smart meter data ecosystem.
The product is at a stage where it needs some more technical leadership and support. There are some interesting data engineering and technical challenges involved in scaling the system as it continues to roll-out across the UK. I’ll be enjoying digging into that.
What really excites me though, is the opportunity that Energy Sparks provides to help educate children around climate change and energy efficiency. And, more broadly, data literacy in general. The insights it provides to staff are already unlocking cost savings, but it’s this wider impact and use in the classroom, which I think is really key.
There’s also a lot of interesting work happening in the energy sector in the UK right now, which should lead to increased access to, and better use of data. It will be good to be a small part of that.
For now, this is will be a part-time role. I’ll be continuing to do freelance work alongside my other duties. Recently I’ve been helping Full Fact thinking through structured data around fact checks and a team at the World Bank to think about how to develop open standards for risk data.
Get in touch if you need some help with other projects or want to learn more about what we’re doing in Energy Sparks.