Saturday, January 07, 2017


So here is the plan… I have just turned 46 and it's the start of a new year.

The most common question I have been asked since I was made redundant last year is “What are you going to do?”

“I'm going back to school to learn to be a Software Programmer” has been my response for the last few months and has worked well but the reality is I finish my PDA in Software Development in just 3 weeks' time. That takes up January and the question is back.

So what next?

It's odd how we define ourselves by what we do for a Job and who we work for.

In reality, I would like to say my main job is being Dad. It is the thing that I will be spending my most time doing for at least the next 10 years (and beyond). So Dad is what I'm doing next and in the time when the boys are at school I’d like to do many things:

My brainstorm came up with some really good ideas that in an ideal world and money no object I’d be up for. However, I need to be realistic, after all my main job is Dad

So my actual plan has 3 parts.

1. - Get a New Job

Apply for a new job in a small startup/design agency local to Aberdeen. The reality of finishing my PDA is a 6-month average wait for a Cohort to get a coding job (***edited - 6 is the time it takes half the code can cohorts to start a job - but it's weeks, not months***). This number is based on a job in Edinburgh so in Aberdeen, this could be longer in the current climate.

So Ideally in a job I want:
  • to be able to help build a business
  • to have the effort I put in be directly related to how the business performs
  • to be using my PDA and expanding my coding skills but still using my existing control skills
  • to be designing websites or apps
  • to be creative (I like building things)

This is my first choice... I would like to be part of something and have colleagues to see and work with each day. However, applying for a new job seems to be a different ball game these days. I have applied for a few recently, and companies (mainly agencies) do not bother acknowledging your application or even get back to you.

One company came back to me but refused to tell me why my application had been unsuccessful as is it was not company policy to do so, is that somewhere I would like to work?

Also, recent advice is to spend a lot of time tailoring applications to job vacancies. I spent a day applying for a job I really fancied and was well qualified to do but after only 5 minutes of emailing my application, I received a negative response.

So if the average is 6 months to get a new job I’ll use the time wisely and in appropriate amounts.

2. - Start a freelance business - Udny Solutions

A pipe dream for many years was to start my own business, however, I grew up with my Dad who had his own business and I know how hard it can be so I am cautious. But hey if I have time on my hands why not get something started. I have had parked for a while now.

So what would Udny Solutions do? I have a few skills I can offer and see what happens.
  • Small business web design and update service
  • Technical author for ops manuals and tech documents
  • Human-machine interface design and evaluation
  • Help and advice in getting chartered
  • I also have a couple of App ideas that I need to develop now I have the skills.

3. - Expand and formalize Udny Designs

I have had a small side hustle for a few years now. Its low income mainly donations via commissions and craft fairs to help with therapy for my youngest Son. Thomas was born with Cerebral Palsy and requires help with his motor skills. He attends a brilliant school Craighalbert center in Cumbernauld. As a parent, I have to fund this myself.

Udny Designs has been covering this for 2 years now and has been going well (we are already on track for this year)

So the plan here is to expand and formalize it into a real company. Adding to the website, making it easier for people to order items, and have some additional products. All to help Thomas. (

So that's my plan. I'm thinking long-term here. By 2026 Ill be 55, Jamie will be 18 and Thomas will be 16. Who knows by then it may be ‘Tuckwell and Sons’ making and selling hoverboards

Anyway happy new year and all the best for 2017, for me it may not work out as planned above but it's been a great exercise to spend this week planning out and brainstorming.

Best get cracking, I've just taken delivery of a 2017 MacBook Pro as I need to give the Code Clan one back at the end of the month.

Its been with me now for over 4 months and will be difficult to let it go, Seems I'm fully converted to Apple