Computing BSc alumnus Malcolm Slade

Malcolm Slade

Job Description

As the Head of Technical SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) my key function is as a problem solver using my broad knowledge gained from my BSc in Computing to research, analyse and solve complex problems relating to website and server technologies, web performance, information architecture and the many facets of Google's ranking algorithms. Although housed within SEO, my role spans most departments from design and UX through to build and testing. I am also responsible for bespoke technical consultancy as well as training, both internal and external.

Best Aspects of my job

My job is broad with every day bringing new challenges and opportunities. One minute I might be writing complex XML to help pass information to a search engine, the next I might be analysing load and rendering issues or explaining a technical concept in layman's terms using a baked potato. Unlike many people I actually get to use knowledge taken directly from my degree (HTML, SQL, Python, HCI etc.) and I am required to learn new things constantly like XML, JavaScript, Regex, web server management etc. I get to travel the world and meet a lot of people, training large organisations, small internal teams and public speaking. I am also respected for my knowledge within the business and often called upon by other team members or departments.

Getting into my type of work

There is no common route in to SEO. My colleagues have various degrees including History, English, Maths and Sports Science and many have no degree at all. While a marketing or IT based qualification can help, what really matters is passion, intelligence and tenacity. You need to be able to talk to people, understand their problems and communicate your work and recommendations professionally. You need to be able to work with data, capable of independent research and flexible with solutions.

Career Path

When I left University in 2005 aged 31 I initially went down the path of teaching ICT. This however was very short-lived when I discovered just how far removed the national curriculum was from my actual degree. In October of 2005 I interviewed for an SEO role at a start-up agency (Epiphany) and in November 2005 became Epiphany's first employee alongside the 2 founders. The 3 of us then started working out what SEO actually was and how to do it well. Over my 14 years at Epiphany I have been through the whole SEO department, from Senior SEO Analyst and Head of SEO before finally settling in to my current role as Head of Technical SEO (Chief Problem Solver).