Waracle Digital Academy Spotlight: David McCallum

Are you a graduate software engineer looking to learn the latest tech skills? Or are you a seasoned industry veteran looking to retrain in the hottest new mobile technologies? In either instance, here at Waracle, we can help to point you in the right direction. We’ve got oodles of experience designing, developing and delivering mobile apps and high performance digital products for some of the worlds biggest and brightest businesses.

The truth is, we live, sleep, eat and breathe digital excellence and we understand better than anyone that people and skilled technical developers are the beating heart of our organisation. We love mobile development. It’s part of our DNA. We understand the importance of nurturing the best talent and that’s why we’ve created the Waracle Digital Academy.

The Waracle Digital Academy is specifically designed to help us engage and nurture the next generation of digital products and mobile development experts. Today we’re taking a first hand look at one of our star pupils of the Waracle Digital Academy (WDA) and sharing his experience of the process. Meet David McCallum:

How is the Waracle Developer Academy iOS course structured?

The course lasted 6 weeks in total and each session lasted two hours. Each session was hosted by Laurie @ the Waracle offices in central Glasgow between 5.15pm and 7.15pm which I think is great because if you’re working a full-time job or have childcare commitments, this makes it more accessible. I think there are probably lots of people like me who are keen to reskill but might struggle to find the time to learn new things. It was a sacrifice in terms of my own personal time, but I know the mid to long term rewards will be worth it in terms of salary.

There is so much demand for commercial app development and big companies have huge mobile project backlogs because they can’t find enough high quality development capability to fulfil the work.

When did you start learning web technology development?

I’d spent about a year learning the ropes with web development and was completely self taught. I’d watched a bunch of videos online to get me started and had explored Udemy and the possibility of doing a dedicated course at College. The video tutorials were super useful and let me develop my skills in my own time and at my own pace. This was back in the day when I was still working full-time so the major challenge was trying to pick up these skills in my own time. I’m a huge fan of playing computer games, particularly at evenings and weekends and this was something I had to sacrifice in order to get started as a programmer. Looking back I can definitely say it was worth the effort.

How did you make the transition from web to mobile development?

I knew straight away, as soon as I started learning to code for mobile that this was the direction I wanted to take. One of the things that instantly drew me to mobile development, was the fact that I was able to learn how to build the types of apps that we use every day. I found that fascinating. Quite quickly I was able to pick-up the main toolkits and frameworks needed to develop mobile apps. I started experimenting with Visual Studio, React Native and XCode and with the help of WDA I was able to learn at my own pace.

What did you enjoy most about the WDA?

I enjoyed the fact that very quickly I was able to see results running on an emulator and on an iOS device – that’s really rewarding and a big motivator. I was surprised at how quickly I could test the results of my code. I’ve also picked up a bunch of other skills to manage project workflow. Things like SourceTree and Bitbucket are major aspects of the development process so I’m getting a rounded experience that spans the entire mobile development life cycle. I’ve also started to learn how to use Photoshop and Illustrator which let me add some of the front end assets to each new app I developed. Again this has helped give me a really well rounded view of the skills required across the entire app development cycle.

What I enjoyed the most was working in a high-end professional environment. It didn’t feel like a classroom and the atmosphere was warm and friendly. I can’t thank Laurie enough, he was super helpful and patient and helped us all at every step of the way. There was also a real team feel. We even created a dedicated Slack channel to share ideas and hints with everyone else on the course. It was those little touches that made the difference and it felt like a proper developer community. There was no real pressure and we were able to work at our own pace and ask questions. The lecturer made sure everyone understood each concept before moving on, something you don’t get in a classroom setting or with things like Udemy.

Did you explore any alternatives before starting @ WDA?

I looked at other course providers but I thought the cost was pretty prohibitive to be honest. I know at the time I checked they were charging more than £3,000 per head. I’d also looked at college courses but the pace of learning felt really slow and some of the technologies they use seem a bit dated. That’s what appealed to me about WDA was the fact I was using cutting edge mobile tech in a really professional setting. I would honestly recommend the WDA to anyone who’s interested in becoming a mobile app developer.

Waracle Digital Academy

So there you have it. The inside track on the WDA direct from one of its latest graduates. If you’re interested in learning more about the WDA and keen to participate, contact Waracle today to kick-start your mobile and digital product development journey.


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