IndustryMSwDevStudent Stories

Thinking outside-of-the box at Weta Workshop

By May 17, 2020 No Comments

Chrissy Macdonald, one of our Master of Software Development students, is doing her internship at Weta Workshop. She’s working on a range of projects but her primary focus is on an upcoming AR (Augmented Reality) experience, she’s very excited about it and working with such a talented team.

Dianne Pulham (Communications Specialist at Weta Workshop) who is working with Chrissy on this project said that, “VR/AR experiences have not been around for long. This is especially true when you compare them to traditional 2D platforms such as films or PC games….Developers of VR/AR projects are required to think on a whole new level. When you cannot predict where your audience is going to walk, or even look, you need to think carefully about how you will guide them through your experience.

Fresh eyes and minds are incredibly valuable to our work. Outside the box thinking is why we turn to Wellington ICT Graduate School…Having a team with people from all stages of their careers creates an environment where new ideas can thrive.”

The final part of our Master of Software Development is an internship where our students are placed in local tech businesses where they can apply the skills they have learned and get practical experience. The skills Chrissy learned in class like “rapid prototyping and CI/CD (Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery) have been crucial” during her internship for “it’s a lot easier to make relevant changes when there’s feedback that is both regular and actionable. This keeps our work moving in the right direction.”

Chrissy had just started working at Weta Workshop in early March when the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world and New Zealand went into an alert level four lockdown. Thankfully, Chrissy and the Weta Workshop team are able to work remotely from home and Dianne said that, “Luckily for us, we love technology and our number 8 wire attitude helps us leap over any hurdles. For example, if your laptop dies during a video call, just jump on your phone to finish the meeting.”

Dianne notes that, “We’ve seen online gaming take off during this time of isolation. People are using games for entertainment and as a fun way to hang out with their friends. This is likely to grow demand within the games industry as people begin these new habits.”

We asked Dianne what skills are important to have in the industry and she said, “it depends on what aspect you want to focus on…Something we’re seeing more often is the need for cross platform design. This enables both coders and developers to translate the same idea. It’s becoming a necessary skill for communicating within teams. In terms of soft skills, creativity, passion, focus, a bug for learning and growing, and a can-do attitude” will take you a long way.

Chrissy shared that every day is different working at Weta Workshop but “we generally start each day with a stand-up meeting. This helps everyone understand our priorities for the day, what we hope to accomplish and what might be holding us up. From there, my day could encompass any combination of coding, collaborating, reviewing, discussing, documenting, or anything in between.”

The most important thing Chrissy has learned during her internship so far is that, “it’s okay to not know everything, as long as you’re willing to learn! Flexible thinking and perseverance go a long way – but so does knowing when to ask for help.”

You can enrol in our Master of Software Development for July 2020 now and have a hands-on experience the industry like Chrissy did!

Leave a Reply