John became involved in computer programming when his children started training at Lithgow Swimming Club. During the mid-1980’s he designed a program in Microsoft Visual Basic to help run the weekly races. This was in the very early days of computer programming, and John was working on an original “Commodore 64” computer. John was awarded life membership of the swimming club.
At the same time, his wife Jennifer was an examiner for ATOD, and she would spend days handwriting on student’s exam reports to send to the teachers.
John decided to try out his new skills to develop a computer program to print the exam cards. This program was designed about 1990 and developed over subsequent years. It is now the current ReportWriter program and is used by all ATOD Examiners.
A database to hold student results was started about 1991, and the program was written about 1995 to accurately transfer examiners results from the ReportWriter results into the database.
In 2001 John was asked to design another program to help office staff and teachers plan their examinations.The objective was to improve the on-time running of examinations, to more accurately predict the total time required, and to reduce office staff time when trying to work these things out. This program became the Exam Planner program. It was used by the ATOD Office and sold to teachers in 2002 and beyond. In 2015 it was decided to change this program to a web-based program. Subcontractors were appointed, and John was involved in specification preparation and contractor negotiations for this work. In 2016 the computer-based Exam Planner was discontinued and replaced with the web-based Exam Planner.
From 2004 to 2018 John has been the Central Card distribution Officer for ATOD. The duties involve the printing of Exam Cards, the postage of Exam Packages with medals and reports, and the updating of the database. It also involves the stock control and ordering of exam cards and medals.
John retired from ATOD work in early 2019.