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What’s it like to work at Apadmi?

Feb 15, 2016 - Blog, Careers

… as a Senior Server Consultant  

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Mark Evans

Mark is one of our Consultants, in charge of the Server team. He’s one of the most experienced members of the team, his knowledge of developing is second to none – and all without a Computer Science degree!

What are you typical hours? 

 37.5 (when I’m lucky!)

What did you study at university?

Musical Instrument Making and Repair (College Diploma)… yes that’s correct, no degree in software development. I made a clarinet from a block of wood (cocobolo) and sheet metal all hand crafted instead! It does prove you don’t necessarily need a degree in IT to make it in the business.

How long have you worked at Apadmi?

6 years

What’s your favourite part of the role?

The variety you get, there is always a new project round the corner with new technologies

Where else have you worked?

Limited to Dev jobs;

– Alphameric which was bought out by Torex Retail
– Micro Librarian Systems
– Call 247 Ltd
– Travelocity
– Styles and Wood
– John Crane Ltd
– Apadmi!!

Why did you want a job working with apps?

I didn’t, I was the first server/web developer at Apadmi but I wanted to work for a small company where I felt I had more input into how things were done and it was the closest I could get to having my own business.

What’s been your favourite moment working for Apadmi?

I wouldn’t say I have a single standout moment but the inflatable obstacle course we had at the last Summer BBQ was outstanding!

What would you say to others looking to get a role at an App Developers?

We are not just apps, apps nearly always need something to talk to and we build outstanding ‘somethings’.

What’s the best project you’ve worked on since starting at Apadmi?

Probably Alere and their Data Link Platform, its nice to know that something you have built is helping save the lives of people suffering with the HIV virus across the world.

Do you think it is important to get more women into tech roles? If so, how can this be achieved?

I think it’s important to get more people into tech regardless of gender. Having said this, there is a disparity in the ratio of men to women within the sector. I think some of this may be due to the way developers are portrayed in movies, fat bearded insular geeks typing on black screens with white text talking in a language you can’t understand. We need to break that stereotype.

On a more positive note, I can’t remember a single CV from a women hit my desk in the first 3 years of working here but now they are much more common, not a 50/50 split but I do see progress, maybe 25 to 33% which is a hell of a lot better than it was.

How have you been supported since starting at Apadmi?

Because I started within the first 6 months of Apadmi’s inception, I have always worked very closely with the directors with a common goal of trying to make Apadmi the best company we can. Apadmi is not just a job, it’s a family where everyone supports everyone to the common good.

 

… as a Creative Producer

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Matt Harney

Matt is a man of many talents, which he lends to a lot of different teams at Apadmi. From marketing to design to workshops, there’s always something interesting that Matt is doing during his work hours.

How long have you worked at Apadmi?

Almost 3 years. I first came in to gain some work experience whilst studying at university. I liked the vibe and the people so when they offered me a full time job I jumped at the opportunity.

What did you study at university?

 Digital Media with Marketing BSc at MMU

 Where else have you worked?

 I was artistic director and lead performer for Canadian fiddle stage show extravaganza, Barrage, which was an understandably amazing experience.

 Why did you want a job working with apps?

 I took over the design and production of much of Barrage’s marketing and digital materials, which I really enjoyed and, after returning to the UK, decided that digital was where I should be focusing my efforts. The digital industry as we know it could be said to be relatively new but I think it’s more that it’s fast paced and constantly developing.

As mobile devices become more powerful and new ways to interact with them emerge, additional tools are added to the mobile designer’s toolbox. This keep’s the work fresh and intriguing.

 What’s been your favourite moment working for Apadmi?

 I have a great time at work. There’s always something going on and I never have that “ugh, I need to go to work today” feeling. With 50+ people, we’re becoming a fairly large company but we still have that pioneering vibe you get with start-ups. Probably one of the best times so far was the Apadmi Summer Roadshow where we took a classic red London bus around Manchester businesses, gave them strawberries and cream, and workshop about app conceptualisation.

What would you say to others looking to get a role at an App Developers?

 From the design department perspective, we’re looking for people who can show us an understanding of what designing for mobile can be. That means they can demonstrate and show examples of a design process. The good thing is that there isn’t really a right answer; there are loads of ways to skin an app. We just want people who understand and can work with a process. Of course they have to be really good and excellent people too! 

IOS or Android?

 As a mobile designer I find there are lots of pros and cons for each. Apple is largely credited with designing what is considered as the modern smartphone interface and they really hit the ground running with that first version of iOS. Google’s first iterations with Android weren’t particularly pretty but over the past 3-4 years they’ve really upped their game. Marshmallow is a colourful and slick platform with some great use of layers.

As far as which one I prefer… I find myself switching back and forth between the two all the time. For me it comes down to the hardware that it all sits in. Right now I have an iPhone 6S but if the right Android phone came along I’d happily going over the other side.

What’s your favourite piece of tech?

I’m really excited to see where virtual reality is gong to go. I’ve been following the development of the Oculus Rift over the past few years and they seem to have really refined what used to be somebody wearing a giant helmet with heavy cables hanging off the back into something that’s comfortable and light and could be seen casually sat on the average desktop. It’s just a shame it’s so expensive!

  

… as a Senior Technical Consultant  

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Matt Graham

Matt has been with Apadmi since almost the very beginning, and he’s also our resident astrophysicist – which just goes to show how app development can attract people from all walks of life.

What are your hours?

Part-time – 4 days’ per week

What did you study at university?

I did a master of physics (MPhys) at University of Manchester followed by a PhD in Astronomy at Jodrell Bank Observatory, University of Manchester.

How long have you worked at Apadmi?

I was one of Apadmi’s first employees, so I have worked here for almost 7 years.

What’s your favourite part of the role?

As a consultant, I split my time between two main activities:

– Providing technical input into business development and helping to secure new work;

– Working as the technical lead to deliver mobile app projects.

I enjoy many aspects of this, such as working with the customer to understand what they are looking for and distilling that into an MVP that can be delivered within their budget. I also still really enjoy working on the code and writing the software to create an end product that everyone’s happy with. This requires continued close collaboration with the customer throughout the process, which I also enjoy.

Do you have a good work/life balance?

I really do. Apadmi is a very flexible place to work. I am currently part time and there was no problem with me switching to this, so that I could spend an extra day a week with my younger son, Noah, before he goes to school in September. I was also allowed to do this for my older son, Sammy, before he went to school a few years ago.

Where else have you worked?

Prior to working at Apadmi I worked at EMCC, which is the company that Apadmi’s directors previously worked for.

Why did you want a job working with apps?

During my time at university, I really enjoyed a number of modules learning to program in C and C++, which can be a useful skill in theoretical physics. I’d always been a bit of a computer geek and had built PCs as a teenager, so was very taken with being able to write my own code to run on them.

By the end of my PhD, the smartphone was starting to emerge and it seemed like the most fun thing to write code for, because of the opportunities relating to it being mobile, portable and always with the user, but also the challenges relating to its limitations of memory and computing power.

What’s been your favourite moment working for Apadmi?

A few years ago, I was technical lead for the development of the Android version of the X Factor app. It was a good moment when I saw the app mentioned and shown on prime time TV.

What would you say to others looking to get a role at an App Developers?

Go for it. It’s great fun and a really good mix of User Interface and “Engine” development.

What’s your favourite piece of tech?

 The smartphone, of course! Although no one calls them that anymore.

… as a Digital Designer

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Jignesh Lad

Jigz has worked at Apadmi for a while now, and has seen the industry change quite a bit! We chatted with him about his favourite parts of working as a Digital Designer.

How long have you worked at Apadmi?

I’ve been here for 3 years

What are your hours?

Fulltime – so I tend to work around 39 hours a week

Do you have a good work/life balance?

Yeah, I would say I have a good balance with my work and personal life. I don’t think I’ve reached a point where Design has over taken my personal life, but it can get a bit hectic during a big project.

 What’s your favourite part of the role?

My favourite part of my role is that I get to tackle various different UX challenges on a project. I enjoy trying to understand how users will interact with the design, and also what the user would want from the app.

I also like the wide variety and styles of projects that we get to work on at Apadmi.

IOS or Android?

I use both so neither one is my favourite.

Why did you get into app deign?

I originally started off in branding and then just before I started my second year of uni, the world of Digital Design started to really take off. I realised this would be a big game changer and a huge area of growth, especially when it came to iPhones and Android phones.

What would you say to others looking to get into App Design?

I would say whatever industry you are currently in, if you are looking to get a role in App Design then it’s essential you have a lot of mobile knowledge. Keep on top of any developments in the industry because it’s forever changing rapidly.

…as a Junior Developer

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Sarah Briscoe

Sarah is a Junior Developer here at Apadmi. We caught up with her and asked what her daily life is like, and how she finds working at one of the UK’s leading app developers.

How long have you worked at Apadmi?

I’ve been here just over a year – I started in October 2014

What are your hours?

At Apadmi we do Flexitime, but I generally do an 8-4. I’ve always got plenty of things to do, so sometimes I’ll end up leaving at 5 or 6.

What’s your favourite part of the role?

It’s definitely that feeling you get when running something you’ve written for the first time, and it works! You can’t beat it – it just feels so good. You could put in two weeks work to get to that point!

What’s it like to be a woman in tech?

I’ve been really lucky finding Apadmi. There are three women out of eight on my Server team, and that’s quite rare. It’s good because we are such an open team. I never feel like I’m not being listened to because I’m a woman, which I originally thought might have been the case.

What it’s like in other companies, I’m not sure, but I know I’ve been quite lucky.

What can we do to increase women in similar roles to yours?

One of the most common misconceptions is that people think you have to be from a certain degree in order to be a coder or developer.

When I was at school, girls in my class weren’t necessarily pushed to do maths and sciences. If you start going down that path, then you get to college and think, “Oh there’s not many girls doing this course” – even if you are interested in the subject, it can put you off.

Tech companies going into schools is a good place to start, and smashing the perpetual idea that you have to be a “tomboy” to be interested in coding – all kinds of girls can be interested in maths and tech!

You could even take a female member of staff to recruitment fairs, to inspire more teenage girls into the industry. Just having more female faces out there, and getting kids used to seeing women in those roles is very important.

How have you been supported since starting at Apadmi?

Amazing! Before I even started on a project at Apadmi I was practising and watching online tutorials. If I didn’t understand something, people around me were more than happy to explain something that was really simple to them – but they would take 5 or 10 minutes out of a really busy day, to come and explain some basic stuff to me.

I definitely wouldn’t be at the level I am without the team I’m on, because they are just incredible. Even now, if I’ve got a question about something, they might have a deadline but they’re still willing to come over and help me out. We all help each other out, which I think is quite nice.

Working here is just great because there’s a lovely atmosphere. If you are in a pickle, if you are stuck, someone is going to help you out without having the “I’m too busy for you” attitude.