From Oxford (in 1979) I joined the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment (RSRE) at Malvern (two hours drive north west of London), which was then part of the Ministry of Defence (MOD). For the first ten years I was a researcher, working on software to design silicon chips. I climbed to the top of the greasy pole as a researcher achieving what MOD called "Individual Merit" status, which gave me significant academic freedom. The project I had worked on won a Queens Award for Technology. I was 34 and was wondering what to do with the rest of my life.
In 1989 I moved into the mainstream computing area as a manager of a team and I was also in charge of exploiting much of the software technology developed at RSRE. In support of the software exploitation I made numerous trips to Boston and Silicon Valley, and traveled widely across the US and Canada. Within five years I headed a business of 25 staff with a turnover of £2 million per annum. At this time RSRE was transitioning into an independent Government Agency (firstly the Defence Research Agency, and later the Defence, Evaluation and Research Agency - DERA) under a Chief Executive recruited from industry. In 2001 part of DERA became a company called QinetiQ (pronounced "kinetic") which is a large international defence and security company (www.qinetiq.com).
In early 1998 I moved out of management into consultancy, and did technical, marketing, and management consultancy. I also helped build up a publications business that wrote technical and IT market briefings for MOD – that had, and still has, an enthusiastic readership of over a thousand readers.
In 2001 I returned to management and led a team of more than twenty IT analysts and programmers within QinetiQ's Trusted Information Management Business Centre. In 2006 I moved out of management and mixed consultancy with a freewheeling role as a "greybeard". In April 2008 I left QinetiQ and am now semi-retired.
My wife has taken early retirement from QinetiQ – we started at RSRE together straight from Oxford. She has been a programmer; a researcher into Speech Recognition (writing many learned papers); the head of all the Trades Unions; and finished her career in operations management. She is certainly not finding retirement boring.