Andy brings his vast expertise working with a range of startups to his role as Developer, in which he helps with everything from web development to UX design and quality assurance.
Tell us a little bit about your background (education, previous jobs etc.)
I studied for a degree in Computer Games Design BA (Hons) at the University of Wales and this inspired an exciting career in design. Since graduating, I’ve designed all manner of different media; from adult gambling games and online games for children to interactive video ads for Youtube, tablet and desktop apps and websites and e-learning courses for the likes of Xerox. You name it! I’ve also been known to get involved with some project and team management, too.
When did you first become interested in virtual and augmented reality technology?
I’ve always been fascinated by new technology, particularly anything related to games or something involving higher levels of user or player interactivity and experience. So, from the moment I heard about the conception of a “consumer” VR headset - and all the potential experiences it could provide - becoming a very real possibility, I was very excited!
When (and why) did you join the Virti team?
I was aware of the impressive things that Virti were doing with new technology, particularly VR, and had found out more about their progress through discussions with friends from indie games development circles. Virti then invited me to come and take a look at what they were working on. Needless to say, I was blown away by the standard of the technology I was able to try out, let alone its potential uses. By February 2020, I’d joined the team. It was a mere few weeks before the UK entered its first national lockdown, so it was very interesting starting a new role as we all adapted and adjusted to working from home. Luckily, Virti made this transition really easy and supported us with setting up the equipment needed to continue working remotely.
Can you describe your role at Virti? What does a ‘typical’ day look like?
This is an interesting one, as although I’m primarily a web developer, my experience working in several startup companies means that I’m able to also pitch in in other areas and help drive momentum where it’s most needed. Since starting at Virti, I’ve worked on several areas, from developing the web platform to customer support and UX/design to quality assurance. Alongside this, I’ve also been able to provide internal knowledge sharing. I’ve loved every second of it! Every day is a new challenge waiting to be taken on.
Currently, I’m heavily based between quality assurance and development work. A typical day might therefore revolve around testing various platform features and new updates across the web, mobile devices and VR devices, as well as picking up any front-end web development tasks that I can assist with. But who knows where I’ll be heading next?
What skills did you bring to the team, and what skills have you developed since joining?
I feel like a bit of a ‘Jack of all trades’ in terms of what I bring to the team. Having worked in a range of startups previously, I’ve been lucky enough to gain experiences and skills along the way that are useful in a variety of areas. This has enabled me to lend my expertise to other areas of the team, such as in quality assurance, project management, UX, design and development.
I’ve also learned a huge amount since joining the Virti team. My development skills have improved, not to mention picking up additional skills in both quality assurance and UX.
What excites you about being part of Virti?
Being a part of Virti, for me, is all about getting to work on and help drive forward an ecosystem which provides learning in a multitude of accessible and immersive ways. The numerous lockdowns experienced in the UK over the past year and a half have proven that education is priceless, and being able to provide training and learning for all industries, is one of the most important things we can be doing right now. Plus, working with VR and AR is truly awesome!
What’s your proudest achievement (so far) as part of the Virti team?
Over the past year, there have definitely been instances where I’ve felt down about not being able to do anything substantial to help people get through the pandemic. Then, an article shared internally revealed that Virti was helping train up to 18,000 NHS staff in Covid safety measures using our 360 simulations, and I felt as though what we were doing was really making a difference to people’s lives. We were having a truly positive impact and helping to tackle Covid. So, this is definitely my proudest achievement so far!
Looking ahead, what do you think the rest of the year holds for Virti? What are you particularly looking forward to?
There’s so much going on at Virti right now. We have a lot of exciting projects underway. I’d have to say though that I do have a soft spot for the Virtual Human application as there are simply so many cool use cases and the updates that it will be receiving are going to make it all the more amazing! So, watch this space.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work? Hobbies, talents, projects etc…
I have two children, so they tend to take up the majority of my time outside of work! But I do love to play computer games, when I can, and I also go to the gym most mornings.
Anything else to add?
I’m super proud to be a part of such an awesome team! I’ve not known a startup with the same level of enthusiasm, talent, dedication and commitment to the cause as Virti.
Connect with Andy on LinkedIn.