Digital Experience Engineer
Being an emerging field of the twenty first century, the job of a Digital Experience Engineer is profoundly dynamic. In general however, our role is to take an idea and bring it to life in the form of an exciting and engaging digital experience. With ever evolving technologies like touch screen devices and powerful 3D processors at our disposal, the potential for these experiences are limitless
What is a typical day like for you?
I usually begin my day around 9 am with a morning coffee and a skim through the design and technology section of Flipboard. I read in the morning to help me get inspired for the day. Typically I spend my mornings in the whiteboard room jotting down ideas and continuing to work on existing projects. When my team and I have rendered a “project vision” complete on these whiteboards, we then translate it into something called a wireframe. Wireframing is the first and most important step in a prototype design and crafting these wireframes is where I spend the vast majority of my afternoons. Some days however, I am out of the office meeting new clients. At these meetings we work to formalize a product vision and an initial product design. We typically wrap up the day around 6 pm and have been known to enjoy the occasional company wide game of Call of Duty or Starcraft.
What is the most enjoyable part of your job?
The things I love most about my job are the freedom to be creative, the necessity to be goal oriented and the people that I work with.
What is the least enjoyable part of your job?
Product design can often become quite tedious and time consuming, especially when working on a project that requires numerous design changes. When you become extremely focused on your work and making these changes your brain will get tired. It is important to make the time to leave your desk, grab a drink from the fridge and clear your head.
Explain the path you took to get to this job (education, internships, etc.).
Well, my degree is in Mathematics, Digital Arts and Communications and all of these disciplines play a role in the job that I do. While at University I started working as a Marketing and Design intern for the Faculty of Science. Following that I took on two separate design internships at Sony and later at Apple Canada. Eventually I left the corporate scene to join forces with a small Mobile Application based start-up called Enflick and it was in this role that I truly found my passion for product design and business development. Then in October of 2011 I took the leap to begin my own digital design based start-up, VRG Interactive.
Who or what was the greatest influence that set you on this path?
My hero is Steve Jobs. His work has inspired our generation to think differently about computing and the actual experience a user has when interacting with technology. His work has forced me to think about the form of a product as much as it’s function.
What advice would you give others seeking a similar job?
Keep Dreaming. With technology nothing is impossible anymore, so don’t be afraid to become inspired by anything and everything around you. There is always an opportunity to make something even better and I would challenge you to make it your job to figure out how.
How does your job make a difference?
I like to believe that I am improving upon the interactions we all have with the technology that surrounds us by blazing a trail to a friendlier digital future. The emphasis we put on improving the users experience continues to inspire innovation throughout the industry with incredible technological developments. For example, Digital Experience Engineers played a huge role in making the mobile phone the incredible device it is today.
How do you use science, math and technology in your job?
Every decision I make is calculated and precise. I use math and technology daily to work through the problems I face in my job. When an idea or problem is initially presented to my team, it becomes our job to figure out how we can use technology to either bring the idea to fruition or solve the problem at hand.
Is there one course you wish you had taken in high school but didn’t? Why?
I can’t think any specific course I wish I had taken. However, I wish I had gotten involved with my school’s co-op program. If there is one thing that has helped me solidify my career choice beyond anything else, it is the real life, working experiences I’ve had.
What makes this job right for you?
I love my job because it allows me to put my imagination to work every single day. I am a big thinker and I need a job that provides me with this sort of creative outlet while also engaging my passion for design and technology.
What's the most bizarre or silliest thing you’ve ever done in this job?
That would probably be our all night hack-a-thon. Everyone in the office, regardless of his or her discipline, was given the opportunity to choose one item in the workplace to “hack” by making it better or even more fun. We had some really awesome and some really weird submissions throughout the night including the conversion of one meeting room into a relaxation spa, an automatic garbage can lid with a motion sensor for the office kitchen, a new email and instant messaging tool and a screen saver that would make funny faces at you when you weren’t looking.
What activities do you like to do outside of work?
I’m an avid basketball fan and I love to go to Toronto for a Raptors game whenever I can. Beyond that, I also love experimenting in the kitchen and playing music when I get some down time.
You just won $10 million! What’s the first thing you’d do?
I would probably invest a large portion of it in the Stock market and then use the rest to buy a Go-Kart and a lifetime supply of fruit cups!