Dr James Uther

Web: uther.wtf | Mastodon: @jbu@fosstodon.org | Twitter: @hemul | GitHub: @jbu | LinkedIn: @jamesuther | Insta: @jimbarama | Pixelfed: @jbu@pixelfed.social | Mail: james.uther at gmail | March 23, 2022

The 1-powerpoint-slide version from work:

James is a senior engineering lead in our Digital practice where he specializes in leading solutions to the most complex technical challenges. With over 25 years of technical and leadership experience across industries, technologies, and cultures, he is able to offer valuable insights to clients.

"Technology is changing so fast and the part of my job I enjoy the most is tackling complex problems for clients. Sometimes optimizing the software can improve performance by 1000 percent, or other times we help businesses enable scale through a cloud migration, or improve performance through culture and process insights. Above all, we help our clients to find the best path that is right for them."

James has worked across a broad range of projects. To help clients work more efficiently and innovatively, he often encourages clients to think beyond the technology itself. For example, he recently helped an insurer improve their data engineering culture, so their business teams could collaborate better with their data scientists, which resulted in significant performance improvements within their financial software projects.

“It's easy to fall into technology cargo cults and misapply technical and organizational trends. It takes the experience gained by using a wide variety of tools in many disparate situations to be able to quickly identify how best to use the resources you have for your project”

James arrived in the UK from Australia many years ago, via a detour for a few years in Finland. He can often be found wandering the hills of some random wilderness, or helping his son with redstone machines in Minecraft. He holds a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Sydney.

Key Skills

Software development, strategy, architecture & management. Ability to influence and coordinate across expertise boundaries. Development methods, including scrum/agile. Coding. UI & visualisation design. Product prototyping and iteration. Team leadership. A variety of programming languages ranging from object-oriented to functional, and proven ability to rapidly become productive in new technologies. Recently used languages include Python, Java, Scala, Clojure, C++, TypeScript, JavaScript, Rust, F# and C#, and they have been used in a range of environments. I have contributed to and initiated open source projects. Also lots of infrastructure and DevOps (Kubernetes, Terraform, etc.)

Work History

Senior Lead Engineer

Oliver Wyman | London, UK | Dec 2016 - now.

LShift (see below) was acquired by Oliver Wyman to form the core of their technology delivery capability. Since then I've been involved in various projects, mostly in the financial space.

Senior Developer

LShift | London, UK | Nov 2012 ‐ Dec 2016

LShift is a hi-tech software development company. It is small but, we like to think, close to perfectly formed. Our company is home to some of the best developers in the UK - not only in our opinion, but in the opinion of a number of international blue chip companies who use our development and research skills.

LShift has been successfully delivering agile projects for blue-chip clients for more than 10 years. They are technology agnostic, preferring to use whatever best delivers business benefit. Senior Developer is the only developer/architect role in the company, and is unique in that enormous freedom is given to own and direct all aspects of a project (from technical to client relationship), along with enormous responsibility to deliver. Given the exceptional caliber of the staff, this works well.

I joined LShift for the chance to work with such talent (and humour). I did learn a lot of technology, but the most important secret I learned was how to reliably deliver complex projects. Technologies used so far: Clojure, Go, BigQuery, Scala, JavaScript, TypeScript, C#, F#, Docker & Kubernetes, AWS, GCE/GKE, Hadoop, Spark, ElasticSearch, and many more.

Projects have ranged from data-mining open NHS data to building highly secure messaging platforms.

Trained in DSDM agile project management.

Research Fellow

University of Sydney | Sydney, Australia | May 2012 ‐ Nov 2012

The Computer Human Adapted Interaction lab conducts research in ubiquitous computing. "We are exploring the technical means by which people can make sense of what it means to 'own' and visualise their data in a digital world. We currently focus on e-learning and health."

Within this role, I was lead architect and developer on a Personis, a research system offering methods for users to intelligently manage and use their online profile and support Lifelong User Modelling. I also led and taught a group of computing science students from one of the most prestigious universities in Australia.

Senior Architect

Nokia | Farnborough, UK | Feb 2005 ‐ Sep 2011

Various roles, including software Team Lead and Software Architect for a number of phone programs, architect for new product ideas, global architect for an important new software technology within a key development team, and member of a global team responsible for a number of high-priority architecture and technology initiatives.

Senior Consultant / Team Leader

Mobile Innovation | London, UK | Feb 2003 ‐ Feb 2005

Mobile Innovation was a leading user interface designer, product integrator and software developer for smartphones.

Senior Software Engineer/Researcher

F-Secure Corporation | Helsinki, Finland | Feb 2000 ‐ Feb 2003

F-Secure is a publicly listed software company based in Helsinki. Founding member of the Usability Working Group & research project manager leading usability related research, future UI design and best practise usability within the company. (Java, JavaScript, XUL)

Java Competence Team Manager. Built and maintained the company's Java expertise. Architect and Team Leader for a large-scale server implemented in Java.

Software Development Manager

University of Sydney | Sydney, Australia | May 1994 ‐ Sep 1999

I was the initial hire in this project, and responsible for the planning and implementation of the entire technology stack, from specifying, installing and running servers (web, sybase, mail, news, proxy, smb, etc) to developing the custom software that made the course possible.

Architect and lead developer of a large-scale, world-leading e-learning platform within the Faculty of Medicine using both client and server side Internet technologies. (Java, Python, JavaScript, SQL)

I invented AJAX in 2000, except it was Java instead of JavaScript (1px applet) and LiveConnect to talk to the JavaScript side 😂. Turns out marketing and having a cool name for the thing is useful!


School of life

University of Sydney



Google Scholar See also writings listed in My Blog

Uther M, Zipitria I, Uther J & Singh P. (2005). Mobile Adaptive CALL (MAC): A case-study in developing a mobile learning application for speech/audio language training. IEEE Workshop on Mobile Technologies in Education, November 2005. link

Uther M, Singh P, Zipitria I & Uther J. MAC: An adaptive, perception-based speech remediation s/w for mobile devices. Artificial Intelligence in Education (AIED) workshop on language tutoring, July 2005.

Uther M, Singht P & Uther J. Mobile adaptive CALL (MAC): an adaptive s/w for computer assisted language learning. IEEE Pervasive services in computing, July 2005. link

Apted T, Kay J, Lum A & Uther J. (2003). Visualisation of ontological inferences for user control of personal web agents. E Banissi, K Borner, C Chen, G Clapworthy, C Maple, A Lobben, C Moore, J Roberts, A Ursyn, Jian Zhang (eds), Proceedings of IV03-VSW, Information Visualisation - Semantic Web Visualisation, IEEE, 2003, 306 -- 311. IEEE link

Uther M, Uther J & Kay J. (2003). Visualising cohort comparisons with VlUM, Proceedings of CSCL, Computer Supported Co-operative Learning Conference, 114--116.

Lum A, Kay J, Apted T & Uther J. (2003). Visualisation of learning ontologies. Poster at AIED03.

Uther J & Kay J. (2003). VlUM, a Web-Based Visualion of Large User Models. Proceedings User Modeling, in Brusilovsky, P, A Corbett and F de Rosis (eds), Springer-Verlag in Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence (LNAI/LNCS), 198--202.

Uther J. (2001). On the visualisation of large user models in web based systems. Ph.D. Thesis. link

Uther J & Kay J. (1999). Describing and Viewing Large User Models. In D. Hawking and R. Wilkinson, Editors. Australian Document Computing Symposium, 1999, p 81-84.

Uther J & Kay J. (1998). Compact Display of Large User Models. Paper presented at the Sydney Visual Information Processing Meeting. link

Uther J & Taylor V. (1998). Fusing Dynamic and Static Web Sites. Paper presented at the Sydney Document Computing Symposium. link

Carlile S, Barnet S, Sefton A, Uther J. (1998). Medical problem based learning supported by intranet technology: a natural student centred approach. International Journal of Medical Informatics 50 (1998) 225-233. link

Uther, J (1997). It's Just A Web Site. Presentation given at the WWW7 Satellite Conference on Medical Education, University of Sydney.

Carlile S, Sefton A, Uther J, Barnet S. (1997). MedEdNet: A Faculty wide intranet to support an integrated medical curriculum at the University of Sydney. AusWeb97.

Uther, J (1994). A Useable Boxer Editor. Proceedings of OZCHI 94. p 53-58.

Uther, J (1993). An Editor for the BOXER Computing Environment. Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction. Abridged Proceedings 1993 v.3 p.210

Uther, J (1993). A Boxer Architecture and Interface. Masters thesis.