Hi, I’m Ruben
I’m a web developer in Cornwall, UK, and my wife can help you relocate to Cornwall.
I’m currently a Senior Backend Engineer at Hopin. LinkedIn has more details of my work history, and GitHub has all my code.
I’m a web developer by trade but also like to work in other, related areas like home automation.
I’ve been spending too much time with computers for as long as I can remember. From my first PC, bought for £10 from a charity shop, all the way through multiple Macs and custom-built PCs, they have been both my day job and my hobby.
I was born in Wimbledon, south London — home of The Championships — and lived there for approximately 5 years before moving across the river to Eastcote where I lived, grew up and went to school (where my year 11 ball was featured in The Independent).
At the end of 2003, I created my first website, wackomenace (named after I used one of the then-common ninja name generator websites), using a prepaid card (Splash Plastic) and a friendly web host that accepted it (Purple Cloud). It soon grew to include a blog, tools and resources as well as some of my first open-source code.
I quickly got into the then popular “blog scene” featuring such luminaries as (in no particular order) Matt Haughey, Anil Dash, Jeffrey Zeldman, Jason Kottke, Eric Meyer, Mark Pilgrim, Cameron Barrett, Dave Shea, Dan Cederholm, Douglas Bowman and Daniel Bogan, amongst others, taking design and development cues as the web quickly evolved. I was even one of the kottke.org micropatrons.
In 2006, I went to university at the University of Reading where I got a degree in Computer Science. During that time, I worked for a year at the Microsoft Technology Centre in Reading.
Around the end of 2008, wackomenace went offline as I migrated to more “respectable” domain names.
My first job out of university was a Business Analyst at Shell on the graduate programme. I stayed with Shell for four-and-a-half years, working in a number of areas and it’s also where I met my future wife.
After this time, I decided that I wanted to get back into hands-on development and so left the comfort of a multinational company to move to orderswift, a small startup working in online food ordering. It was a change of industry and a massive change of pace and responsibility, doing everything from web development to hardware installation and customer service. I stayed for a year, but probably learnt about five years worth in the time!
I was looking for something a little different at this point, and happened to come across the Government Digital Service. I liked the organisation, their work and their ways of working, so when the opportunity arose, I said yes with little hesitation. I spent three years working on various parts of GOV.UK, and in that time moved up to eventually become Lead Developer. I also, for the first time, carried out and led interviews and became a line manager. I had an Instagram story made about my work and blogged about the meaning of responsible building. The work gave me a real sense of purpose and I loved every moment of it.
In 2019, having decided to move from London to Cornwall with my wife, and remote working still being something that wasn’t universally accepted, I left GDS and London, and started work at Resolver as a Lead Developer, mostly remote but with three days a month in the office in London. I used to travel by train or plane and stay with my parents, but COVID-19 put an end to this regular commute. I worked on Accord ODR, a new SaaS app aimed at dispute resolution providers. In addition, my wife and I took on the project management of our own self-build house.
In April 2021, I moved to Hopin, where I am a Senior Backend Engineer, working on customer-facing analytics. In May 2021, we moved to our new house.
About this site
This is the umpteenth iteration of my personal website. I’ve moved a number of times between hosting providers, technology stacks and having a blog versus a plain, low-maintenance landing page. You can find older iterations for my previous websites at ruben.arakelyan.uk, ruben.am and ra.me.uk at the Internet Archive. In addition, most old URLs should still work because cool URIs don’t change.
I’ve deliberately decided to use the latest technologies and not spend time trying to work around browsers that don’t support them. If it looks a bit wonky to you and you’re not using a browser that fully supports current web standards, then unfortunately you’re on your own. Having said that, the site itself is very simple and should be readable anywhere, if not looking its best.
However, on the flip side, my increasing interest in vintage technologies means there is now a plain text version of this page served over the Gopher protocol at gopher://ruben.arakelyan.uk. If, like most people, you don't have a Gopher-compatible browser, you can view it via a proxy.
The current version of the site is stored on GitHub and hosted on OpenBSD Amsterdam.