I have been interested in computers and, more widely, electronics, for as long as I can remember. There are many childhood stories of me taking household appliances apart to see how they work! As a teenager I played with shell script in both early Windows versions and Linux, and this is where programming became a passion.
I have spent the 20+ years since that time perfecting my art and working in fields as diverse as healthcare, finance, and construction, and this gives me a unique perspective on problems. Working at PortSwigger, surrounded by some of the best people in their fields, allows me to use these perspectives and push my own knowledge even further by constantly learning and absorbing new ideas.
I am an interesting quirk at PortSwigger in that I didn't come via a traditional university education. My software engineering prowess has been learnt at the coal-face through 10+ years of professional development. I have worked my way from a role as a support engineer solving log-in issues, over to a junior developer role, and then taking steps up from there. Yes, it was the long way but it served me well and I have met some great mentors along the way!
The freedom to evolve an idea and allow it to fail. PortSwigger has always allowed individuals to express opinions and have ideas - in development this allows us a safe space to try new things and new technologies without fear of recrimination should they prove to be a failure. The attitude is not "right first time", but "the right answer at the right time".
Various things. I started with the obligatory footballer and, upon realizing that I was no good at football, slowly progressed from Lawyer to Accountant before finally settling on software engineering.
I can remember having an Atari 2600 in the house as a child, as well as a spectrum, before moving to IBM PCS (starting with a 286). The first computer I remember buying with my own money was a PC I put together myself using an AMD K6-2 running at around 500Mhz.
I enjoy retro computers - I have a collection of retro consoles as well as a kit-built homebrew Z80-based bare board for running MS BASIC and Z80 assembler.
The people. Any company can say they stand out by making awesome software (even though we do!) - but the main thing that we have here are awesome people. There is a lot of effort that goes into recruitment at PortSwigger - we don't look for "people like us" so we don't end up with a stale workforce. We employ people who show exceptional skill and attention to detail, and this comes across in the teams that we have built - they are all uniquely exceptional in their own way.