“I am never happier than when I am sitting with my head inside a technical problem, trying to work it out,” says Graham Stratford, senior web developer, with a smile. As a senior web developer in the electronics communications group within the University Marketing, it’s something that happens a lot.
Whether he’s working on one of the many Queen’s websites, or the busy online news centre, Stratford spends his days at the computer.
“It’s a lot of programming, as well as design and testing,” he says, explaining that others create the content, while he focuses on the behind-the-scenes, technical work.
“We also help other groups on campus who may not have the (technical) resources to do something,” he explains. “Working with ITS (Information Technology Services), we help them get their websites up.”
Stratford, who has been at Queen’s since 2009, came to computers after earning a degree in chemical engineering and spending time as a teacher in Africa, and later, in Japan, where he eventually joined a software company.
The day after he arrived back in Canada for good in 2001, however, the Cobourg, Ontario native got a call from an old friend who had established a software company in Kingston. He has worked in the area ever since.
Since arriving at Queen’s, Stratford says he is most proud of the Queen’s News Centre, an online information hub that he took from initial concept to finished product
Stratford says while working for small businesses taught him a lot about multitasking (“you’re setting up computers, installing software, doing the programming and dealing with customers!”), he appreciates working in a role that allows him to focus on what he does best – building software.
“I have one severe weakness,” he says, acknowledging the strong design team he collaborates with regularly, “I am aesthetically challenged. If I chose the colours and layouts and styles, people would run screaming.”
Since arriving at Queen’s, Stratford says he is most proud of the Queen’s News Centre, an online information hub that he took from initial concept to finished product. He fondly thinks back on when, after months of work, it finally went live on the Queen’s website. “It was a mixture of awe and terror,” he laughs.
Though his job keeps him busy, Stratford says he can’t wait to take advantage of the fact that as a Queen’s employee, he can take courses on campus. “I’d like to study Etruscan pottery, or astronomy, or modern Russian economics...”
For now, he’s happy spending his days with his head inside technical problems. “I just love being here.”