MSwDevStudent Stories

John: extraordinary software developer, augmented reality enthusiast.

By September 25, 2017 No Comments

Meet John, WICTGS Master of Software Development (MSwDev) graduate. With 3D modelling, animation and motion graphics to name but a few of his creative skills, John is also an AR enthusiast and has recently been selected to join the Mahuki Innovation Hub, a digital innovation accelerator programme at Te Papa.

We caught up with John at Mahuki to talk AR and his passion for testing and pursuing creative business ideas for the Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums (GLAM) sector.

John (seated) with his business partner, Jack, at Te Papa’s Mahuki Innovation Hub.

Q. Hi John, tell us what drew you to software development?

“After completing a Multimedia Arts Degree in the Philippines, I felt that learning software development was the next step in expanding my skills as it plays a significant part in our modern time. I’ve always been curious about programming as well, so I was drawn to the Master of Software Development programme offered by the Wellington ICT Graduate School. Also Wellington is such a wonderful city to live in, I’m from the Kapiti Coast and you can feel a great sense of work-life balance here.”

Q. What did you enjoy most about the Master programme, did it live up to your expectations?

“The programme was exceptional! I loved the group work setup and working closely with clients like Callaghan Innovation and Gamefroot. The implementation of scrum methodology introduced us to real life scenarios on how to be “agile” in our application development. The teachers and facilitators were really supportive too and provided a well- structured plan on how to keep us engaged with interesting projects, topics and relevant seminars in a fresh and unique way. Even having a spacious floor and our own kitchen to work on our projects felt like we were in an office set-up rather than a classroom which is really great.”

Q. We first heard about you when you pitched your DiscovAR concept during the MSwDev Entrepreneurial Programme – how have things progressed?

“The Entrepreneurship Programme with Natalie Robinson was one of my favourite courses during my Master’s studies. It provided us an opportunity to test and pursue an idea to making it into a business, and the industry talks from professionals gave me a great perspective about Wellington’s ICT sector. My idea was to provide augmented reality solutions for the GLAM industry, enabling galleries, libraries, archives and museums to showcase collections and engage their audiences in a more modern way.”

DiscovAR, founded by John, was created during the Entrepreneurial Programme as part of his Master’s study.

Q. Congrats on being selected to participate in the Mahuki accelerator programme! What a great opportunity to be supported in developing your ideas into world-leading digital businesses for the cultural sector. Are you continuing to work through AR solutions for the GLAM sector?

“Thanks. We are truly fortunate to have Te Papa’s support in building our business. Mahuki helps us understand the ins and outs of the GLAM sector. The entrepreneurial training is really top-notch, covering all aspects from building a brand to personal development.

A few days after Jack and I entered Mahuki, we found out that most museums are still in a difficult stage in adapting ARVR tech for their exhibitions, so we agreed that we have to restructure our business idea. We aimed to identify a problem worth solving for using technology that would provide benefits for the GLAM sector.

Having worked in retail part time on weekends, it led us to investigate how museum retail operations work. That’s where we formed LOCALFLAIR. Mahuki was supportive with pivoting because they understand that startups are about creating solutions and connecting it with opportunities.”

Q. So tell us more about your start-up, LOCALFLAIR?

“Our start-up, LOCALFLAIR, enables institutions to activate the creative communities around them through retail. Galleries and museums all want to support local creatives, but in order for the work to support the institutions they must do three things.

  • Provide commercial benefit;
  • Relate to the current exhibitions; and
  • Improve standing with the locals.

Finding work that fits all three criteria is very time intensive. This is amplified every time the exhibitions change, making working with a diverse range of local artists even harder to sustain. We are aiming to help by mapping out the local art community and connecting organisations with the right products and people.”

LOCALFLAIR is exploring ways to make local institutions as accessible as possible to local artists.

Q. Can you explain the business process – what have you developed?

“We are currently doing market validation before we invest a lot of time in developing the application. If we have a better understanding of what we are trying to provide to our potential customers based on the problem that they have, this will help us build the technology in a more efficient way. We also aim to understand how museum retail operation works, including the decision process that takes place, drivers, barriers, management and how they value retail in achieving sustainability.”

Q. What are your goals for LOCALFLAIR?

“Our goal is to connect with as many institutions as possible. We hope to build relationships with them and hopefully have them sign-up to our product and service. I hope that it would become an actual business by the start of 2018. Me and my co-founders really believe that it has a potential to provide great service for the GLAM’s retail industry.”

Q. How can we help?

“We’re looking at how to make it as easy as possible for local institutions to work with local artists. So if you’re a Wellington creative, head to our website and quickly fill out our survey – the more we understand about how (or if) artists are already working with GLAM’s retail industry, we can best figure out how to help.”

Thinking about a career change? Want to work in the fast-growing tech sector but don’t have any tech skills or experience? No problem! Your unique set of skills and experience are just as valuable as the technical skills you’ll learn with us.

Our 12-month Master of Software Development (MSwDev) is open to anyone with a Bachelor’s degree. This conversion programme has been deisgned for people from non-information technology disciplines, who want to become software developers.

Next intake for MSwDev is July 2018 — June 2019.

Applications open 1st October 2017. Book an advice session to find out more about the programmes we offer.

Are you ready to take the next step in your education? Book a session with our Academic Advisor today:

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