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Rob Twells

Ron Twells

BSc Software Engineering, Class of 2014

Rob is the managing director of his own web development company.

What happened after I graduated

'I started the business during my final year of university and by the time I graduated, fortunately I had enough momentum and financial security built up that I was able to go full time. Since then it has been a case of learning a lot of lessons the hard way and working a lot of late nights but the lessons, late nights and hard work has got the business to where it is now; a long way from where it started!'

What my job involves

'I’m currently a managing director of Frogspark. The company provides three core services: bespoke website design/development, web application development and digital marketing. We have a vast array of projects but a particular area I enjoy is creating cloud based systems for our clients.

'We also work with a wide range of clients in different industries. Frogspark became a very reputable web development company amongst fitness bloggers and personal trainers so we decided to develop a second company, Lift, which is aimed at that industry specifically.

'It’s been fantastic to see the impact of the systems we have built for our clients which have allowed them to streamline their business processes and give them much more scalable options for growth.'

How Sheffield Hallam helped me

'First and foremost the core skills I took away from the software engineering course helped with the practical side of the business. I was able to build up a good enough skill set in web development to be able to offer it as a service.

'The course at Sheffield Hallam also provided me with some great foundations in project management. Learning the fundamentals in running a development project is something that has been instrumental to our success so far.

'I would not hesitate in recommending the software engineering course at Sheffield Hallam, the lecturers are fantastic and came from a "real" background where they could provide insights into what it would actually be like in industry and transfer that knowledge to students.

'There were a few lecturers in particular that made my time at Sheffield Hallam great - Mehmet Ozcan to name one. They made a real effort to ensure you did well and I could really sense the support I and fellow students received. They all genuinely wanted us to do well.'

A word to the wise

'The best advice I could give is if you have an idea, a passion or something you really want to do - just go for it. I was never the most talented on the course, but being prepared to take a bit of a risk can pay off.'

Future plans

'My current focus is to grow Frogspark further and we have some very ambitious financial plans in place for the next 3 years. Outside of Frogspark, myself and my business partner are very interested in getting involved in commercial property.

'We were recently involved and worked with a Silicon Valley-based company that were acquired by Google, which was a surreal experience. We had worked with them for around 18 months on design and digital marketing of their product and watched them grow from hundreds of users to hundreds of thousands.

'Being involved with such a great company and team of people (alumni from the likes of Apple, Google and Linkedin) was a fantastic learning experience and seeing them find success with Google was very inspiring.'

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