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Once Upon a Time: Becoming an Employee of the Year Finalist

One of our star team members, Liam Smith, has been nominated for the Eagle Biz Employee of the Year Award 2019 and made it into the final three! We sat down for a chat and asked him to tell us a bit more about how he got to where he is today…

The Liam Smith Story

When you look at this quiet, fairly unremarkable young man sitting before you, hunched over at his desk, head down, tapping away at his keyboard, pausing momentarily to check something then tapping away again, you could easily be fooled into thinking that he’s nothing special. This is where you’re wrong. Liam Smith, or Leebo as he’s known around the office, is our SECRET WEAPON.

Understated, but never underrated. Always pushing himself to do better, learn more, code faster, be the best at everything he turns his hand to. Leebo doesn’t shy away from the unknown, he tackles it head on, full throttle. Unsure of something – our CTO reports that Liam is a smart researcher, canny and adept at using all the tools available to him to find the information he needs to move on further in the game – that is the game of app development, where one false move could result in more than just an ego tumble.

Long long ago Liam came to us, a wizard’s apprentice with a lot of untapped potential, searching for an opportunity to shine.  He immediately took to our office of nerf wars and nerds, quickly becoming an integral part of our family. Described by some as quirky and tenacious, Liam’s infectious enthusiasm is fuelled by all things technological, fantastical and the occasional McFlurry (crunchie please!).

Read on to find out more about the mage behind the rainbow keyboard… 

How did it all begin?
“When I was younger, I did a bit of programming at school and found I enjoyed it, especially the balance of creativity and problem-solving. I had a dream of doing video-gaming, and that is still a some-day goal of mine.
Following school, I spent a couple of years at college, studying IT Software. Then 3 years ago, I found myself working in my local supermarket, fed up and frustrated. I kept thinking back to my gaming ambitions, but I realised that I needed to further my skills to get potential employers to give me a chance. After a long conversation with my Dad one night, I researched apprenticeships online, found out the information I needed – funding, options, how to apply and went for it; everything else just followed on from there.”

How do you end up working for Apps In The Sky?
Apps In The Sky (AITS) was the first company I clicked on, and they gave me what I needed – the confidence to believe in myself again and the opportunity to learn and grow.
It was challenging work to begin with. Starting out on the Android development team, I pushed myself relentlessly to master the commercial software languages, the stuff that wasn’t covered in my college classes. I think I’ve proved myself a hard worker, and now I’m learning how to become a specialist in iOS development too.”


What challenges did you encounter?

There were periods when it was really tough; I found it tricky learning how to manage my time and develop the discipline required to balance college assignments with real-life apps that I was working on. Fortunately AITS were fantastic, supporting me to complete my apprenticeship with flying colours and pushing me to succeed at something I love.”

So what now? 
“Being part of the AITS team is brilliant. I feel like I have come a long way in such a short space of time. I’ve also written a few computer games, 2D platform and puzzle games, and AITS have given me encouragement all the way. I love coming to work now – the sense of achievement, and skill required. The fact that every day brings something different is what keeps me motivated and hungry to learn more.”

Jenn Vernau

Jenn Vernau

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