The NortheastPHP 2017 conference in Charlottetown brought together Information Technology professionals from all over Canada, the US, and Europe. Those who attended shared their leading-edge knowledge about PHP, a programming language used in website development.
Innovation PEI helped fund the conference. “More than 1,800 people work in IT on PEI, and this conference is a great learning opportunity for IT industry professionals,” says Jordan Brown, MLA for Charlottetown-Brighton, on behalf of Heath MacDonald, Minster of Economic Development and Tourism.
Peter MacIntyre, who owns a technology company in Stratford called Paladin Business Solutions, founded the conference along with PHP programmers from Boston, Vermont, and California. For four years, the conference was held in Boston. This past August, the event was held on PEI for the second year in a row.
“Conferences are a great way to share knowledge and make connections with people in the same industry and software discipline,” says Peter. “There is only so much you can learn on your own, and technology moves so fast.”
IT company provides technical solutions
Paladin Business Solutions focuses on developing websites and blogs for his clients, who are located on PEI, in California, Cape Cod, New York City, Florida, Newfoundland, and Ireland. “I work at home,” says Peter. “But I am never in a vacuum. I am always connecting with people online all over the world.”
Peter started his career with an IT program at Holland College. He did on-the-job training with the provincial government, and worked there for the next 15 years.
He also worked for private industry before starting his own business two years ago.
Most of Peter’s work is in web development, and he also does technology consulting, technical writing, and teaching. “Training for coding in PHP is not readily available, and people with that skill are in demand,” says Peter.
He does not have employees, but subcontracts some work to people with the expertise he needs.
“I am presently working on a project that uses technology I am not really familiar with, so I subcontracted the work to a contact I have from California who was a speaker at the first NorthwestPHP conference in Boston.”
Starting a business
Paladin was started in 2003 as a side project while Peter was working with the provincial government. “The business started with me as a hobby. I developed a website and asked technology companies to send me books to review. That is how I learned about PHP on my own.”
About two years ago, he decided to become self-employed. “It was a bit stressful to walk away from a steady income, and there can be quiet times between contracts,” says Peter.
“The hard part about being self-employed is that you have to do the work you have right now and also look towards lining up the next two or three projects.”
Peter has written four books about PHP and one about WordPress. The writing work has often been his foot in the door to speaking invitations at other conferences in the US.
“PHP is a part of technology I love to explore. There is always something new to learn and it’s hard not to fall behind, so it’s important to find a niche and become expert in it.”
Advice for those considering opening their own IT company
“Consider moonlighting,” says Peter. “In addition to your full-time job, do some work in your spare time. It is a safe way to test the idea of self-employment. I did it when we had four kids at home, and that was hard. I worked a lot of late nights.
“When working at home, you have to be inventive with your use of time. I have a lot of freedom, and I can get my work done and take off time when I want to.”
For more information, call Peter MacIntyre at 902-940-5827. Visit www.paladin-bs.com.