As a long-standing team member, Mike’s diverse and sophisticated web development skill set is a huge asset to Virti and to our customers.
Tell us a little bit about your background
Despite my current tech role, I was actually a humanities student over a decade ago! I studied History at the University of Southampton, before transitioning into a more tech-focused personal roadmap with an MSc in Archaeological Computing. I loved it, so after graduating I taught myself full-stack web development. This helped me to land a role as a junior developer in a small company that ran a games website. I worked there for a few years, whilst also dabbling in games development and expanding my skill set.
When did you first become interested in virtual and augmented reality technology?
Back when VR was just a hazy dream and the original Oculus Rift was created, I was immediately excited to be able to live in a ‘real life’ matrix. I finally got to try an Oculus at a games event in Bristol - a roller coaster simulation - and my stomach genuinely lurched. That's when I knew this was no Virtual Boy - the technology was something special.
When (and why) did you join the Virti team?
I've been part of Virti for almost 3 years now. I did some freelance work on our main web app and became much more involved as time went on, being particularly excited by the prospect of providing people with the ability to create their own VR experiences with our toolset. There's something magical about being able to craft a unique experience for clients and then seeing it come to life.
I was ecstatic to eventually be brought on as a full-time, permanent team member; it amazes me to think about how much Virti has grown since those early days, both numerically and professionally.
Can you describe your role at Virti? What does a ‘typical’ day look like?
I'm a web developer, so a typical day generally involves working on the awesome new features that allow our clients to create and edit various types of digital experience. I also focus on fixing any bugs that are brought up as quickly as possible.
I'll often work across the engineering teams in order to be part of the alignment of our systems, processes, and designs. This is great because, quite frankly, our entire team is amazing to work with - and I really mean that!
What skills did you bring to the team, and what skills have you developed since joining?
Fullstack web development was my trade before Virti, which meant that I could get involved in all aspects of our online setup when I joined the team as a front-end developer initially.
Over the past few years, my exposure to devops, front-end development and back-end development have helped grow my understanding in almost all aspects of our online platform. As Virti has been expanding, I've been learning a lot from the team about devops processes, continuous integration, AWS and more. It’s extremely valuable and fulfilling to be able to take on this new knowledge.
What excites you about being part of Virti?
I love being given the freedom to experiment with new technologies. Recently, for example, I've been loving using Typescript, Prisma, and RTK Query. We've also taken on some amazing new developers since I started, and being able to learn from them has been a humbling and exciting experience. Ultimately, though, it's being part of such a wonderful team that keeps me excited. Every Virti team member is just a really nice person with so much of their own expertise and passion. It's amazing.
What’s your proudest achievement (so far) as part of the Virti team?
A recent achievement that sticks out was the product of one of our quarterly week-long jam events. I worked with our CTO, Nils, to create two feature-complete tools - a screenshare video recording tool, and a comment collaboration tool. I was wary of being able to understand and implement some pretty new (to me) technologies (video and audio streams, video recording, canvas drawing, audio contexts manipulation). However, I managed not only to understand, but also to fully implement them.
Looking ahead, what do you think the rest of the year holds for Virti? What are you particularly looking forward to?
As we race through the start of 2022, I am looking forward to various new Virti platform features coming together and being developmentally complete. In particular, a certain feature I'm working on that has been in the pipeline for a long time now (watch this space)! Our design team has come up with something very special.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work? Hobbies, talents, projects etc…
I like to cycle, play video games, develop video games (a whole different beast to web development!), and consume a whole load of tech and science related media. I do not stray much from the nerd stereotype it seems! As a humanities grad, though, I do also follow current affairs fairly closely with much critical interest.