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Sam Hill® - an Engineering Leader, CTO

All About Me
Hello! I'm Sam Hill, a proactive and hands-on highly experienced IT leader with a proven strategic, engineering, architectural, management, and delivery track record.

I've been involved in software engineering in a variety of forms for over 25 years, and currently the CTO, VP Technology at WildBrain - inspiring imaginations to run wild, engaging kids and families everywhere with great content across all media - creating and distributing childrens entertainment to over 500 streaming platforms in 150 different countries with over 3 billion views a month. My role is leading the teams of Data Scientists, Software Engineers, Data Analysts, Product Owners and Application Support in delivering technology products for the creation, distribution and understanding of content and audiences.

My latest 10 years in technology
2018-2021: Head of Software Engineering at the BBC supporting nearly 600 engineers and was responsible for leading the development strategy, planning, implementation, integration, testing and on-going engineering ways of working of the BBC Platform that covers everything from BBC News, BBC Sport, iPlayer, Sounds, websites, broadcast TV and archiving. I proudly curated the BBC's Step into Tech scheme which has so far trained 32 people from non-engineering backgrounds as Software Engineers.

2016-2018: Chief Digital Architect and Head of Platform Technologies at Marks and Spencer where I was responsible for the delivery of their new digital platform and defining the technologies of a digital transformation from mainframe systems to a new retailing model based on micro-services, using Azure (cloud), serverless and containers (docker/kubernetes), along with PaaS and SaaS capabilities.

2009-2016: Head of Architecture at Tesco leading the architecture and engineering for the international roll out and rapid expansion of their online e-commerce platforms that handled sales in excess of £3billion/year in 2017 and over 1 million deliveries a week.

[The previous 10 years....]

Sharing my ideas through key notes and presentations
I present at many conferences and meetups where I shares tips, tricks and insights on making use of engineering culture, best practices, how to guides for the Cloud, DevOps and software architecture using services/micro-services and sometimes I give talks about my experiences delivering massive scalable, enterprise platforms.

If you would like me to speak at a meetup/hangout/conference then please do get in touch.

Conferences and Events I have presented at:
  1. Lifting the lid on incorporating AI @ The Digital World: Artificial Intelligence

  1. Predictions for DevOps and DevSecOps @ CXO Sync

    Successful collaboration in Dynamic, Flexible and Remote team working @ DevFutures

  1. Enabling collaboration through story telling @ National DevOps Conference

    How to embed digital into the fabric of the business @ Omnichannel Futures Conference

  1. Scaling a Platform - how to build platforms for emmence scale and reliability @ Building the BBC

    Getting ahead in Voice @ Digital Content Summit

    The future of Continuous Delivery and DevOps in Retail where can DevOps take you? @ R-ETAIL:Code 2018

  1. Doing things a little differently with the cloud - using only containers, lambdas and functions @ Cognizant Quality Engineering Summit

    How to Jettison the Bi-modal IT Model to Increase the Speed of Deployment @ Retail CTO Connect

    Why just being agile isn’t enough: How can teams achieve their project goals @ R-ETAIL:Code 2017

  1. Using Cloud to go bigger, faster, sharper and cheaper - how to maximise the use of SaaS and PaaS @ IDC: Cloud Applications Conference

    Disposable ecommerce: going bigger, faster, sharper and cheaper? - building systems and platforms in a micro services container centric way @ eCommerce expo 2016

    Integrating the old and the new to respond to changing customer behaviours - maximise the use of legacy systems as capability enablers and not blockers @ e-Commerce 2016, Stockholm

    What Do Customers Really Want..? And how to create it quickly? @ Internet Retailing Expo 2016

    Overcoming legacy for a new digital world - how to break away from old systems @ IDC: Enterprise Digital Architecture Conference

    How to respond to changing customer behaviours? @ Omni-Channel Retail Summit (interview video)

  1. User Experiences and Perspectives - what does running ecommerce globally take @ BCS: Secure Cross Border Business

    Integrating the old with the new digital world - creating micro-services alongside mainframes @ eCommerce Expo (highlights video)

  1. The cult of the customer - how to build user centric systems @ Fieldworks Connections

  1. Going global with eCommerce - rolling out internationally @ eCommerce Expo

  1. Embedding Security Concepts into engineering practices within the Retail Sector @ Imperva Security Briefing

My career journey with Technology
Back to the early days (for those who are interested in my history), I started out in software development around early 1992, creating games for the Commodore Amiga and subsequently a variety of different business (think Windows PC desktop) applications. This included a period in 1998 creating rendering engines that had the fun task of converting SGML documents into PDF, Word and printshop (PostScript) templates.

1999 - I moved to then incubating Internet and Telecoms sector holding a number of senior roles and was building, growing and helping to transform a number of the then UK's largest ISPs and telecoms providers into profitable, multi-award winning businesses. Companies worked for included: NetDirect, Ision, and energis. During this time, as part of my research for my PhD I created one of the worlds first online Artificial Intelliegence Agents based on using Kohonen Neual Network technologies this became known as The Virtual Bodies Project as system to help users to itneract with their computers via natural language - very similar to Google Home or Alexa today - this just pre-dates them by about 15 years! You can read all about it in depth here.

2002 - I along with two others founded a start-up called NDO where I was the Development Director responsible for the design and engineering of all the products and services offered. Over nearly 3 years we managed NDO from conception through investment, growth, acquisitions, and profitable divestiture to Namesco who I then joined as the Services Development Manager where we created amongst other things tvMAX probably the UK's first nationwide IP-based TV streaming platform - predating BBC's iPlayer by about a year and BT Vision by 6 months or so!

In 2006, I decided that being in an office all day wasn't always that healthy so I went on a walk - a long walk in fact - approaching 300 miles in 10 days over the Himalayan Mountains to raise money for charity, it even had its own website: Sam Goes Walkies.

2007 - After 8 years in the "internet" world I fancied a change so a move into news publishing at Thompson Reuters - Complinet as the Head of Technology leading the software engineering/development, architecture and testing teams producing bespoke solutions around compliance news, risk management, regulation compliance and policy management for most of the worlds leading financial institutions.

2009 - Then it was time for my period in retail as I joined Tesco and was the Head of Solution Architecture leading the architecture vision, driving innovation and transforming the online grocery platform into an SOA-based services/micro-services platform with a team of architects designing all the individual capabilities that make up the platform and supporting their delivery and deployment. This multi-award winning platform transacts sales of approximately £3 billion pounds a year and is currently operational in all 11 of Tesco's operating countries. The platform is an Services/Micro-Services (SOA) Based, multi-language, multi-tenanted platform and new features are designed and delivered utilizing Agile techniques aiming for continuous delivery with a global distributed team. The overall aim is to become every customer's favourite way to shop groceries online, whether at home, out shopping, on the move, anywhere in the world becoming the world's leading ecommerce business that at its peak in 2015 accounted for 57% on all online grocery transactions in the UK [Kantar data].

2016 - I moved to Marks and Spencer initially as the Chief Digital Architect to define the new digital strategy and as the Head of Platform Technologies to lead the transformation of the technology platform into a DevOps, Cloud based, CI-CD driven agile capability with micro-services and events at its foundation.

2018 - I joined the BBC as the Head of Software Engineering directly leading nearly 250 engineers for the Platform's transition from linear consumption to an xVOD based future, continually improving both the systems and the ways of working along with being the Profression Lead for nearly 600 engineers in total.

2021 - Recently joined WildBrain as the CTO, VP Technology leading the teams of Data Scientists, Software engineers, Data Analists, Product Owners and Application support on creating creat software and AI/ML services to really undertstand childrens content and the audiences that consume it.

Finally - I'm an Agile Advocate, where I believe that great software can be created at speed without sacrificing good design approaches with the ability to scale through thinking lean, focusing on walking skeletons (with good bones) and great collaborative ways of working. I beleive that the value can really be unlocked by people working together on shared goals with a common single vision for what good looks like; alongside this I also beleive that everyone should always be looking to improve themselves as well as the software they create - by aiming to learn something new every day.

For my professional profile, please visit:

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Approaching 25 years online - first appeared on 17th September 1997.
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