Meet the Harman Luxury Audio Team
Name: Paul Williamson
Position/Job Title: Principal Software Engineer
With Arcam Since June 2014
With Harman Since July 2017
Welcome to our latest newsletter feature, Meet The Harman Luxury Team. Our goal is, quite simply, for you to get to know us better. Each edition we’ll be featuring a different member of the team. This month it’s Paul Williamson, Principal Software Engineer.
How would you describe what you do in your current role?
I’m responsible for the Harman Luxury Audio iOS apps. Additionally, I oversee the porting of these apps to the Android platform. I am also the in-house user experience designer and expert in the Cambridge office.
What did you study in school? Did you always imagine yourself doing something like what you’re doing now or did the fates just take you in that direction?
I actually studied Music Technology at college and university! However, I’ve always been interested in programming, so when the opportunity came to marry the two, I jumped at the chance.
Share with us a little about your career arc?
I started off working as an IT Technician, where I would try and script as many things as possible to make my job easier and more efficient. During this time my manager encouraged me to learn as much programming as possible. A direct result of this was learning to create iOS apps, shortly after Apple announced the iPhoneOS software development kit.
After leaving this job, I freelanced for a while, before going full-time as an iOS developer.
What is the most important thing you have learned over your career?
Without a doubt it is extensive problem-solving skills. My stint as an IT Technician taught me the skills to log and analyse network traffic, which has made tracking down fairly obscure bugs much easier. The ability to think outside the box when it comes to how things break is incredibly useful.
Any other advice you would offer people just starting out in this industry?
It is important to stay passionate about what you do. Each year Apple presents the Worldwide Developer Conference to update developers about new APIs. It is well worth watching as many of these talks as possible, as you gain key insights about how to use the API by the people that wrote the API.
What are you most proud of in your life?
My ability to stay motivated during self-study. Without this I would never have been able to teach myself the skills required to do my job. It also allows me to stay excited about new technologies which directly benefits our customers.
When did you first realize you had a passion for music or audio? Was there any one song, band or movie that did it for you?
During school I discovered my passion for music, which started with playing guitar. I didn’t realise it at the time, but Eddie van Halen’s solo for Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’ is probably the whole reason I wanted to play guitar years later!
What gear are you rocking at home these days?
I use an Arcam AVR20 receiver. I stream using the Apple TV, and game using Xbox One X and Nintendo Switch.
For recording music, I use JBL 305P MkII reference speakers, paired with a Strandberg Boden OS 6 guitar.
What current technology impresses you the most?
Without a doubt the current generation of guitar amp modelling, which is incredible. It’s really hard to discern the difference between a real valve amp and a modeler in isolation. In the mix it’s almost impossible
What’s your favorite music genre?
Progressive metal, melodic death metal.
The desert island question of course. If you were marooned for eternity and could only listen to three albums, what would they be?
‘In Contact’ by Caligula’s Horse
‘Sound Awake’ by Karnivool
‘Queen of Time’ by Amorphis.
You have the floor. In closing, tell us anything else you want to about yourself.
I’m always trying to think of ways we can improve the user experience for our customers, sometimes much to the chagrin of our software team!
I can usually be found in the Cambridge office with headphones on listening to some sort of Scandinavian metal.