Joy was an engineer and inventor. He was also an accomplished draughtsman, having worked at the locomotive drawing office of Shepherd and Todd, where he became acting chief draughtsman. In 1850, he became superintendent of the Ambergate, Nottingham and Boston, and Eastern Junction Railway. Three years later, he became Superintendent of the Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway which were operated under contract by EB Wilson and Company. Joy filed many patents for inventions and delivered a paper on A New Reversing and Expansive Valve Gear at the IMechE.