Despite the fact that Bobulous is seemingly unemployable, he thought he'd have a go by compiling a list of his achievements, academic and extra-curricular. He thought long and hard, and this is all he could come up with.
Achieved GCSE and A-level qualifications at Wilson's School in Wallington. Despite sleeping through most of his GCSE and all of his A-level lessons, Bobulous didn't manage to fail a single subject.
Having gained sufficient A-level results, Bobulous went on to sleep through lectures at University College London's computer science department, and mathematics department. After five years, he finally managed to complete what was a three-year course, though he was originally supposed to complete the four-year course.
Despite his feeble results at UCL, Bobulous can at least feign intelligence by waving his GCSE and A-level certificates around. So long as no one realises he can't remember a thing about any of the subjects he actually got a pass in.
Important note: when Bobulous took GCSE exams, grade A was not the highest attainable grade; A* was the highest grade. So Bobulous is not as much of a smart arse as he likes to pretend.
Bobulous was very pleased when he woke up after two years and discovered that he'd passed five A levels.
Important note: despite general studies being a joke of an A-level (Bobulous wrote about the movie Starship Troopers for one of the final art essays — he'd not actually ever seen Starship Troopers at the time), he still values it more than the computing A level which was a total joke. In fact, he had tried to drop out of computing, but the request was refused.
Won the English subject award in the third year of high school. And, during his A level years, he almost certainly set a new record for the greatest number of referrals to head teachers and form tutors without being asked to leave the school.
Bobulous thinks someone was lying when they said university life is easy. After a whole academic year of dossing about and paying very little attention in lectures, almost half of the people on his course were mercilessly refused admittance into the second year because of insufficient grades. Not exactly the doss he was expecting. But how did Bobulous do?
Miraculously, these grades were sufficient for Bobulous to enter the second year of his Mathematics & Computer science course.
Due to distractions and a pathetic lack of effort, Bobulous handed in exactly no computing coursework for the first five weeks of the new academic year, and may as well have not handed in any maths coursework either. Consequently, one of his tutors recommended that he quit the second year and try again the next year.
On the plus side, Bobulous did spend the year doing a lot of freelance web development, even working on what became the official website for a band seemingly no one has heard of. (But with the search-engine-baffling name The The, it's not surprising the band were always a bit obscure. Despite the fact they've been releasing records since the eighties.)
Bobulous tried much harder this time, and actually attended some lectures and handed in some coursework.
By Bobulous' standards, these are very good marks.
Bobulous barely got halfway through the first term before suddenly being diagnosed with a benign tumour on a delicate gland attached to the brain. So, another academic year postponement. Which was a shame, because he started off this term so diligently.
Brain surgery, radiotherapy, and resting aside, Bobulous returned to UCL the following September. But, his medication still being fine-tuned, he was not the sharp-minded and energetic creature he remembered being. So the third year did not go well. Barely making most lectures, and hardly succeeding to submit any quality or quantity of coursework, Bobulous reached the exam period with a sense of resignation.
Bobulous was expecting bad results, but not this bad. He did not have the required grades to be permitted entry into the fourth year of the course. However, to his shock, he had scraped enough course units to graduate.
Bobulous was, to his amazement, awarded a lower-second class degree in Mathematics & Computer Science. While this looks nice, most employers that are looking for graduates will only accept a first class or upper-second class degree; and most employers that aren't looking for graduates will only accept candidates that have at least two years' experience in the relevant role.
Bobulous passed the exam with a score of 91%. However, some people insist that passing this exam says very little about actual programming ability. And the lack of interest from employers seems to suggest that they agree.
Working for one week in 1994 at Commercial Union House in Croydon, Bobulous gained a fine appreciation for the drinks vending machine and for the tedium involved in performing tasks that an untrained monkey could do. Also realised that the university student next to him was doing the exact same task, but working half as fast, and getting paid to do it. Didn't learn anything useful.
Work experience for one week at one2one headquarters in 1996. Learnt about the mobile phone networking market, the technology involved, and the fun that cellular network supervisors can have by sending engineers out to repair transmitters that may or may not actually need repairing. Realised that even in really smart offices you can go a whole week without being assigned a proper task. Bobulous familiarised himself with another make of drinks vending machine.
Once worked as a bricklayer's assistant for three days. Easily the hardest and most honest work Bobulous has done.
Worked at an Index store in Sutton for a year and three months, 1997 to '99. Learnt that no matter how hard the managers work, the staff body can find a way to make even the best business idea unprofitable. Job perks apparently included stealing everything in sight while not doing any work and then dodging responsibility at the end of the day. [Index effectively went out of business in 2005, though some stores were bought up by rival Argos. Bobulous accepts none of the responsibility for this.]
Three-and-a-half months operating a proprietary content management system to publish daily and weekly content to live commercial websites. A moderately bright ape could have successfully filled the role. Learnt that in-house content management systems are the real definition of torture.
On "temporary" assignment for almost three years in the Information Services department at a central London council. Learnt that recruitment agencies are completely useless, at least from the worker's point of view.
Two-and-a-half years as ICT Contracts Assistant for Sutton Council. Learnt that most staff and councillors are quite happy to ask for expensive toys they don't need so long as it's not their money that will be used to pay for it. The role also strongly reinforced the impression that several layers of management could be stripped from a local council without it having any negative effect on the work done by the front-line staff.
Bobulous seems to like the sound of his own fingers tapping on a keyboard. Much as people try to tell him he has all the writing skill of an ex-soap opera script writer, he persists in knocking out painfully lifeless text.
By cramming his own photographs and writing into HTML-formatted documents, just as everyone else on the Internet has, Bobulous has declared himself a web publisher. This means nothing, of course, but it gives him a chance to look down on those without their own nonsense on the web yet.
Bobulous claims to like nothing more than capturing an event on silver halide or digital medium. This is often because the busier he makes himself recording an event, the less he actually has to contribute to the event. You might be surprised how much work a photographer can get out of by simply muttering "not now... I haven't taken a picture of this yet!"
The sense of power gained by playing games appeals to Bobulous. The sort of games that leave you in the middle of Armageddon with only a shotgun, a scrap of body armour and a bad headache, then expect you to single-handedly save the known universe from one form of nastiness or another. Highly intellectual games like solitaire or Tetris simply confuse Bobulous, so he mainly sticks with the games that involve a boomstick or ten. Games like Battlefield 2.
Favourite genres include industrial electronic techno punk rock. What this means is a mystery to Bobulous himself, but anything that includes guitars, synthesizers, foul lyrics, or melodic bass ought to please him.
Bobulous has, to varying degrees, used the following programming languages:
He is fully aware that he needs to get out more.
Pretty good at researching, choosing, and assembling PC components into whole systems, and replacing heatsink-fan units.
Bobulous is fully practised in the role of text markup. He currently uses HTML5 but has been very fond of XHTML in the recent past.
Pretty handy with a stylesheet. When Google gave six days' notice that websites would be punished in the search rankings if they weren't mobile-friendly, Bobulous managed to give his entire site a mobile-friendly restyling in two days.
A very able PHP developer in the past, Bobulous has created database-backed server-side scripts that allow dynamic web pages such as user management systems and discussion forums.
Bobulous is a big fan of Java, and even gets paid to write software using this programming language. He's especially fond of writing verbose Javadoc comments that patronize anyone who bothers to read them.
Good at creating simple logos and graphics using the GIMP and Inkscape, and with a bit of practice Blender. (For "simple", read "bad".)
Genuinely great at French until someone who can actually speak French shows up. Then problems arise.
Thanks to a computer-based language-learning course, Bobulous can now confidently wield phrases such as "katten är på gatan därför att huset luktar illa" and "du måste betala med kreditkort, men du har betalat med potatis och grönsaker!". Again, Bobulous considers himself fluent in the language until confronted with a real-world example or native speaker.
Bobulous has an entire site full of nonsense at Bobulous Central.
And his modest contributions to open source can be found on GitLab.
Bobulous has also had letters published by Computing Which? magazine (May 2004), Prospects (Issue 05, November 2005 – no longer online), and Which? Magazine (March 2006). That practically qualifies him as a columnist.
As someone so in touch with the modern recruitment process, Bobulous has crafted some excellent advice for people trying to win a place as an employee. See his article: How to ace that job interview.
If you've already won yourself a job, and discovered it's in a company that embraces hotdesking and flexible hours, take a look at: Flexible working pros and cons.