Hi 👋 Good to meet you!
I'm Blake Simpson, a Freelance Full Stack Engineer with over 15 years of experience.
I have developed many websites, iOS apps, Android apps, APIs, Frontends, Backends, and even desktop apps for a range of companies and clients. I specialise in software development and team leadership.
I have citizenship in the UK and Germany. Therefore, I am permitted to work in both the EU and the UK. Additionally I speak both German and English.
Ruby on Rails
The 7fridays travel booking platform is based in Germany and serves customers looking to book exclusive travel experiences in Germany and surrounding regions.
This project has involved the development of the 7f shop platform as well as the content management systems. Development has been mainly making use of Next.js, Tailwind, and TypeScript on the frontend as well as Nest.js, TypeScript, GraphQL, and Postgres, on the backend.
Open Source: expo-jwt
While working with the React Native toolkit "Expo", I encountered the need to encode and decode JWT tokens. However Expo lacked native cryptographic libraries essential for JWT functionality according to the JWT RFC.
Since then the project has gained traction as a lightweight JWT encoder/decoder, finding use in numerous web projects. Currently the library has over 3,000 weekly downloads on NPM and is used by hundreds of public repositories on GitHub.
Course: Learning React & Redux
"Learning React & Redux" is an online course I wrote that equips learners with the skills to understand React, Redux, and Webpack from a fundamental level by building a web application step-by-step. Starting from the basics of setting up a React project from scratch, including Webpack configuration.
The course is available online for free, with the source code being available on GitHub. The course website is built with Gatsby.js and hosted on GitHub Pages.
Alongside the course's online presence, I also conducted live weekly teaching sessions over a 2-3 month period for a group of developers while working at Celebrate. This hands-on learning experience, coupled with live feedback, further enhanced the practical application of the course material.
Cyclic Cellular Automaton
The Cyclic Cellular Automaton (CCA) algorithm follows a cyclic pattern, meaning that the states of cells are updated in a circular manner, looping back to the beginning once the end is reached. This cyclic behavior gives rise to fascinating emergent patterns and dynamic behaviors when visualised in the browser.
I first saw the original concept at the EdinburghJS meetup (credit to Patrick Nasralla for the talk and inspiration) and just had to try it out myself. It has been a fun and fruitful experiment in algorithm design, programming efficiency, and gave me the chance to try out some new technologies.
- Freelance Software Engineer
- 2023 – Current
- Europe, Remote
Developing for Mobile & the Web with React (Native), TypeScript, Node, Ruby, Rails, and more.
- Engineering Manager
- 2021 – 2023
- Edinburgh, UK + Hamburg, Germany
The first engineer to join this VC backed tech startup ($12,000,000+ invested). I led the introduction of development processes with the CTO, with a strong focus on test coverage and stability. Managed the developers (freelance & internal), oversaw the team from 1 team to 3 teams as we grew. A key role in hiring developers + managers.
Continuously documenting our product internally and externally (e.g. https://docs.procuros.io/docs)
I performed 1:1s with my teams, planned career development steps but also still kept a strong hand in the code: architecting our customer facing frontend (React based) as well as designing API interfaces, coding critical-path features, PR reviews, etc.
Additionally I was the system admin for Slack, G-Suite, Notion, Sentry, Cloudflare, AWS, etc.
Skills: React.js (w/ zustand, immer), TypeScript, Electron.js, Node.js, AWS (CDK), PHP (Laravel), API Design
- Tech Lead (Full Stack)
- Edinburgh, UK
Lead a team of 4 developers to build online games. Technologies included: React, Node.js, AWS, Postgres.
As well as architecting and developing new solutions, I lead 1:1s with my direct report developers and crafted their career development plans.
- Senior Software Engineer / Chapter Lead: Development
- 2017 – 2021
- Hamburg, Germany
At celebrate, I helped found one of the small-venture companies named celebrate.app. I worked to build up and release to the market multiple apps related to photo sharing and photo printing, now rated 4.9+ stars on the App Store.
This began as me being a single FullStack developer building apps for iOS and Android via React Native (Frontend) + Ruby on Rails (Backend) to growing a team of 10+ people including multiple engineering teams that continue to thrive to this day.
Skills: REST APIs, React.js, React Native, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Ruby, Ruby on Rails, Node.js, HTML, CSS
- Software Engineer (FullStack)
- 2014 – 2017
- Hamburg, Germany
Part of the development team responsible for the XING public API + developer platform (dev.xing.com). This API serves over 500,000,000 requests per day.
I also worked in the mobile notifications team (push notifications, statistics, A/B tests etc.).
On my final project, I collaborated with Microsoft in Seattle to develop the "XING for Outlook" add-in for Microsoft Office.