Full-stacking shelves; Regan Roulston on his first three years in recruitment.


Stacking shelves at Woolies goes like this; Pick up the thing, rotate it, place it down, repeat.


Three years ago my sole responsibility at work was to ensure that the produce I stacked on shelves all faced the same way, in the same line, and that I did it as quickly as I could. There comes a time, usually as you stack the fiftieth pumpkin, when you start to think maybe a career in a lining things up isn’t for me.

I had walked out of my first university lecture and never looked back, so studying wasn’t an option. In the way the realisations do, I was hit in the face with the glaring fact that I had no experience with, anything.


Today, I’m responsible for building the teams in some of the biggest PHP software houses in the city. Writing this in a way that didn’t seem boastful or proud took me a long time. It’s hard not to sound full of yourself when you say something like that.


The fact of it is though, it’s the truth. I started as an intern with Just Digital People, and a baptism of fire into resourcing. My phone voice was terrible and I had no idea what an email signature was. Repetition is what saved me. Find the person, make the call, write it down, repeat.


For the last year, 50 weeks, 5 days a week, 11 hours a day I have been speaking with 5-25 PHP developers, developer managers, and bosses who needed PHP developers every day. This time on the phone with PHP developers across the city has meant I have an in depth insight into the market. I have a birds eye seat of the movement, growth and intricacies of development teams that an individual coding from dawn to dusk just doesn’t have access to. I’ll be the first to stand up and say that I am not technical. I don’t pretend to know things that I don’t know, and I don’t profess to follow everything 100% of the time when I’m at a tech meet up. I do, however, know what I’m talking about when I talk about PHP development and career progression as a PHP developer. I can tell you if someone is a great PHP dev, a mediocre one, and who not to bother with. I know which skills they’ve got and which ones they need. The best part of my day is when senior developers call me and ask about current salary ranges, which companies are using what emerging tech and the latest development team structures. I get genuinely excited about being the guy PHP developers call when they want to know which shifts in the market are coming. I can tell you, in depth, the structure and strategy behind the PHP staffing of teams in companies across Brisbane.


A part of where I want to take my specialisation of the PHP space is opening up about the ins and outs of the current PHP market. This is the first time in 3 years that I’ve written anything other than an email, job description or reference check. After this introduction of who I am and how I got here, I hope to share these insights into the market, get opinions on what I’m not sure of, and bring everything to the table to put Brisbane on the scene as the next space to watch in terms of PHP software houses.


This job and what I do is no longer ‘the next thing I did’ after stacking shelves. It has built my skill set into being a specialist recruiter. I line up the best PHP talent with the people that need it and make sure that it sticks. In a twist of fate, my career actually does now revolve around lining things up.

Regan Roulston

Regan Roulston is a specialist PHP/Java Script recruiter for Just Digital People. Get in touch! regan@justdigitalpeople.com.au