Sam William’s Story – Full Stack Developer at VivaCity

Wednesday, 18 August, 2021
Sam Williams - Full Stack Developer at VivaCity

When did you join VivaCity and what attracted you?

I joined VivaCity in January 2020, it was just before the pandemic and I managed to get a couple of months in the office, which was great.

At university I studied environmental geoscience, which is fundamentally geology as a sister course of geology. I quite quickly knew that I didn’t want to go into that as a career path, although I enjoyed it. At university, I had been involved in lots of theatre projects and on leaving started a theatre company with a group of friends. We spent three years touring with shows, both nationally and internationally, but I realised this was not a long term career for me.

While I was considering what to do next, I spent some time tutoring maths and coding games for children and over time realised that what I really wanted to be was a developer. I asked myself, ‘could I be a software developer?’

At the time, it was a pretty scary question. I knew that technology is a giant world and even today I only have a slither of knowledge. As someone who doesn’t have a computer science degree, thinking about trying to become a software developer, you basically think there is no way any company would take you.

A friend encouraged me just to apply for some jobs, which is how I ended up having a conversation with VivaCity’s CTO, Yang Lu. It was a really engaging interview, after which I was asked to do a coding challenge. What was great about the process for me was that Yang was able to see my experience to date, and that I had been teaching myself stuff.

My interviews in the office were by far the best vibe I had experienced during any interview. I’m very, very lucky that VivaCity supported me and was willing to take someone at that level with no prior experience and that I have learnt so much.

Tell us about your current role?

I’m basically a Full Stack Developer and I write code in the cloud team, which is the team that handles all the data once it comes off the sensors.

I get to write applications, like the websites that clients get to see, and I also get to write back-end systems that store and manipulate the data. I get to write code on a daily basis. I’m also currently the Chair of the Culture and Well-being Committee – also known as the Fun Committee – our purpose being to maintain fun as much as possible at VivaCity!

What’s special about VivaCity’s culture and values?

I would say without a doubt, my number one thing is friendliness and being human. VivaCity fosters genuine relationships and everyone is really friendly, kind, understanding and supportive. I think there’s lots of other things the company does incredibly well. It’s very progressive and open to taking people from lots of different backgrounds. Whether it’s chilling together on a Friday or trying to crack a challenge quickly, the people at VivaCity are incredible at making those experiences fun.

What advice would you give to someone looking to join the team?

100% apply! I applied as someone who literally wrote code with kids, But VivaCity is ready to support people who have an aptitude, a drive to learn and to get involved. Write to us, tell us about you and your passion. Don’t worry about what you don’t know, talk about what excites you and what you want to learn. 

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