Jim Culverwell, Head of Engineering

13-Jul 2021

Jim Culverwell, our Head of Engineering in the Wollongong office, is a seasoned technologist with 20+ years of experience in designing, selling, and delivering financial software. He has split his career between the City of London, Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and now he's here with us in the Illawara sharing his passion for building technical teams. Get to know Jim and read about how he's #Accelorating his career!


What has been your career journey to get here?

Fresh out of university, I started my career in 1999, working as an accountant for a large multinational. I quickly changed direction after working next to a programmer who was fixing Y2K bugs. I was fascinated by his job and noting my interest he helped me get started by teaching me the basics of coding. I quickly fell in love with the problem-solving aspect of programming and it's been a passion ever since. Some might also say the release of 'The Matrix', released the same year I started my career, played a big part, although twenty years later I still can't code as fast as Neo or Trinity.

After spending the next year teaching myself to code, I took a full-time programming position working for an Energy Trading software start-up in London. Upon joining I quickly realized how little I knew but being surrounded by great mentors over time I became more proficient. A few years later I joined a software start-up in the Fintech sector as the technical co-founder. This eventually led to running our North America region, where I was based in the Wall Street area for eight years, followed by two years in California. During my time in the USA, I was also fortunate to hold a position on the Microsoft Office Developer Advisory Council, at the Microsoft headquarters in Redmond.

Shortly after a successful exit in 2015, I returned to Australia with my wife and two children. Since arriving in Australia I've worked as the CTO of a charity and more recently as an Engineering Manager of an ASX listed company.

I feel really lucky to have had so many great experiences and to have met so many wonderful people on this journey.  I am honored to be joining Accelo. 

What excited you about joining Accelo?

Two main reasons excited me about joining Accelo - the people and the product.

What's immediately apparent, when you first meet the people at Accelo, is the incredible talent across the team. This is not by accident, from its conception Accelo prided itself on creating a workplace where people could thrive in an inclusive and intellectually challenging environment. This resulted in producing a truly exceptional team and an exciting place to work as a technologist.

The other reason I was excited to join Accelo was the product. It is rare to find a product that is so well designed and engineered. Taking a complex problem space and making it easy is the true test of any software company. It's safe to say that the Accelo team truly nailed this and has set the company up for continued success as it builds upon its lead in this space.

What is something unique about the Accelo engineering team?

The positivity and comradery of the Accelo engineering team are extraordinary. The energy with which the team approaches work is truly inspiring and the respect they have for each other makes them an incredible team to work with. The leaders at Accelo have nurtured a culture of togetherness and excellence, this is so evident in the engineering team today.


What does a typical day look like for you?

A typical day involves supporting the engineering team on our current initiatives and helping to create an environment where the team thrives. A large part of the tactical work I do is around optimizing work and flow and ensuring the engineering team has what it needs to meet its immediate goals.

This can range from meeting with technology team leaders, discussing our current projects, to code pairing with a developer. I find staying close to the code is important because it helps me to better understand the developer experience and the requests of the team.

On any given day I will also have time set aside to focus on more strategic items. This might include meeting with our people team, continuing our work on making Accelo the best company to work for, or working with our product team on new and exciting features.

I really enjoy my day-to-day job because much of it involves focusing on making Accelo a great place to work and maintaining our culture of engineering excellence. 

For someone starting their career, what piece of advice would you give them?

My advice for someone starting their career is to find an interest they are passionate about, then 'jump in the pool'.

I hadn't found my true passion when I went to University, but fortunately, I stumbled across programming early on in my career. If you can find an industry you are passionate about and then get to work in that area it's truly rewarding - it really doesn't feel like work. I feel very lucky to be a part of the Accelo team where we get to work together on the things we love.

By 'jump in the pool' I mean you don't always need a master plan, sometimes just 'jumping in' is all you need to do to get started. If you have an industry you want to get into, try your best to get a foothold, even if it means starting at the bottom. Once you are in, your mentors and peers will help guide you on your next steps. I've had a couple of 'jump in the pool' moments in my career, like swapping careers to become a programmer, or joining start-ups. Looking back, those were the best decisions I ever made, even though at the time I couldn't have foreseen exactly where they would lead.

Join Jim & the Engineering Team!

We are hiring! If you are a committed, curious, self-motivated person who wants to join a fast-growing start-up, we want to hear from you. Head to our careers page to read more about our open engineering roles in Wollongong.  


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