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At the end of a week that should have been Umbraco's Codegarden conference, I thought I'd try and replicate some of the fun of the event by giving away some free stickers. One person who sent me a DM on Twitter was Gary. He mentioned he hadn't been to many Umbraco events and so I thought I'd introduce him to the Umbraco Community. 

So, ladies and gents, grab yourself a tea, coffee or beer and please give Gary a massive Umbraco welcome. 

Thanks for agreeing to join the Community Corner, it's amazing what people will do for a free sticker. 

Name: Gary Henshall
Twitter: @garyhenshall10
Website: Work in progress.

How did you first hear about Umbraco?

It was 5 years ago when I joined Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service as a graduate. Having joining straight after graduating, we already had several websites and some even in v4! I was then sent on Umbraco Certifications for V7 which massively improved my development and Umbraco knowledge. To this day it still surprises me how much i learn on each project i do in Umbraco.

What are you currently doing with Umbraco?

I am currently working on accessibility within some of our websites as well as general support we provide internally. The most interesting Umbraco project I am planning is a migration from a site in V7 to V8. I am starting this over the next couple of months once other priorities are complete.Following this i want to be more involved with the community and look into contributing in some way.

When I say 'Umbraco Community' what first comes to mind?

The Pie and Ale, it was a pub we went to after the Level 1 and 2 courses in Manchester. It was my first taste of the Friendly Umbraco community where I met some fellow Umbraco devs such as Doug Robar, Mark Goodson and Emma Burstow. I haven’t met anyone in the Umbraco Community that I wouldn’t have a beer with.

What would you like to see more of in the Umbraco Community?

I would like to see more open development days / training that I would be interested in attending. I'm thinking along the lines of "How To's" to help upcoming developers. These may already exist, maybe i'm not aware of them!

What's your favourite music to listen to?

Don’t know where to start with this one. Can range from The 1975 to Stormzy. Totally depends on what mood I wake up in.. You can definitely define the time of year or what my mood is by my currently liked songs in my Spotify playlist! I am a huge music fan.

What's your favourite food?

You can’t beat a decent burger or a nice rustic pizza (with a nice cold cider of course). Oh, can’t forget a nice piece of Ribeye or fillet steak! As you can see, I am a huge food fan too!

Have you ever been to Codegarden? Did you plan to go this year?

I have never been but would definitely like to at some point.

What bit of work are you most proud of?

There were a couple of projects that I am proud of. The first came with tight deadlines and meant developing a fully custom solution within Umbraco within a matter of weeks. This included me building the front end as well as the back end / back office functionality. The second was another fully developed solution that I completed alongside a colleague. The end product was of a high standard which was recognised by the satisfied customer but the most satisfactory point was working alongside another colleague and having that collaboration / joint learning during the project.

Who inspires you, whether it's within the Umbraco world or not?

I can’t think of anyone individually but seeing posts online of what people are doing with their work inspires me to push myself and learn. The community is full of talented developers and it is interesting to see what other devs are working on.

Anything else you'd like to share with us?

I recently became a dad to a little girl. She is turning 1 next month. I must say it has been the quickest and hardest year of my life (grey hairs are becoming more prominent) but i wouldn’t change any of it.

Tell us how you became a developer and what you love about your job.

I initially chose a Programming course at college because it was the only topic at the time that interested me. That then led on to University and now i find myself just about to enter my 6th year at GMFRS. The two key points i love about my job are; the people and the constant ongoing learning that happens everyday. Being a developer is the part that drives that learning. There is always something new to learn or improve on and having that drive to improve is really supported at where i work.

If a kid walked up to asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give ‘em your best tip, what would it be?

Very cliche but don’t be afraid to fail or ask for help. When I first started off I would avoid trying things in case it failed or i would spend days trying to fix a problems but I’ve learnt over the years that you need to fail to learn and there is no problem in asking for help. The best thing about this tip is that it is relevant to all different walks of life.


About the author



Owain is an Umbraco MVP, an Umbraco certified master and works on Umbraco projects on a daily basis. When not coding, he enjoys running, spending time with his wife and building lego! 

He is also a GitKraken ambassador and helps look after the website.

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Where to find Owain

Twitter: @ScottishCoder
Linkedin: Owain Williams
Our: Our Umbaco