KJR Collective Catch Ups: Mike Hallatt

The Collective

18 October 2018

A couple of times a month, we like to get to know members of the KJR Collective a little better. Today we catch up with Mike Hallatt.

Years in the industry: 37 years

Years at KJR: Three – but Mike has had a lot to do with KJR for some time as a contractor, client and peer.

Based in: Sydney

Currently working with: Service NSW on multiple projects, including once looking at the cost of living in NSW. Mike heads up the team of five from the KJR Collective.

What Mike loves most about his job…

It’s all about variety for Mike. After working client-side for over 10 years, the world of consulting has opened Mike’s eyes to the sheer depth of digital – “there’s a lot more going on than what I thought!” But it’s been exciting, learning as he goes. Like, what does FDD even stand for? It’s Feature Driven Development! But don’t tell anyone that he never knew that…

With experience comes wisdom, and that’s the other element that Mike enjoys in his role. If you’re new to the industry or simply eager to learn from those who’ve come before, Mike always has time for you. He’ll go as far as specifically taking a couple of his new recruits under his wing to encourage and guide them through their early testing career – not to the pub!

How Mike got into this industry…

Let’s take a trip back to 1980, Manchester. The National Computing Centre developed a brand-new computer course sponsored by the government and young Mike was talented enough to score one of 16 places (out of 208 candidates). Over 9 months he studied the theory and was exposed to the practical – some might remember when you used to feed lines of code into a computer via cards – “if you dropped the cards you were in trouble!” That was right back at the start.

But how did he find himself as a consultant in Australia? Luck? Good-timing? Opportunist?! His last role in the UK quickly had Mike swept into the role of Test Manager, covering for some impromptu leave. He was up to the task and “absolutely loved it. This was the first time I was given power and responsibility and had to make decisions.” Ultimately it was this role that allowed Mike to pick up his family and relocate to Australian.

What Mike thinks about the future of tech…

There’s an eyebrow raised by Mike when it comes to the future of tech. As a technology purist, he’s not keen on those that might manipulate technology for “strange shit”. Putting your train ticket chip in your wrist is one thing, but the potential for completely altering the power of the human body with a computer system, that’s another. Will we, as humans become robotic?!

Being in the testing space for many years, Mike is also acutely tuned into the risks around AI. “It’s fascinating but could lead to a whole potential set of risk to life scenarios.” He queries how these innovators will be testing their technology to ensure no fatal errors.

His final point takes a step back to acknowledge that despite all the ‘wacky, cool new innovations’ in computing, regardless of the badge, it’s still data. It doesn’t matter how many layers there are to the program, it’s data manipulation – data in, data out. Which is why he loves it!

He also does other things…

Mike’s 90-minute commute to KJR’s Sydney office is worth it for the outdoor activity (cycling, kayaking) he gets to enjoy in Thirroul (just north of Wollongong). He’s an action-man, telling stories of skydiving and bungee jumping for charity and the plane experience that was “just a little boring, so I asked to pilot to do a mid-air stall!” He’s also a band-man – a drummer in fact. “Back in the day” his band Jersey Kerb had a residency at Taylor’s Bar in Surry Hills.  And like any good Brit, he enjoys refreshing beer (Coopers Pale Ale) to wash it all down at the end of a big day.

Mike’s final word of advice…

“The more you learn, the more interesting something gets. So if you’re serious about your career, read, learn and expand all of your experiences.”

You may also like