We here at Joi Polloi have been reminiscing about our journeys to where we are in our careers today. There’s no ‘right’ way to get into agency, careers aren’t linear. Many go to university with no clear idea of what we want to do afterwards, and many others don’t go to university at all. Often though, you end up gravitating towards something you love, no matter where you started.
We wanted to tell you a little bit about our career paths so far, both conventional and unconventional.
I first got into the creative industries when working on Warner Bros games as a fresh faced 17-year-old. This was a continuation of work placement from college. I’m exceptionally grateful to the tutor who placed me at this company, it was a major turning point in my life and career.
After this 9 month stint as a character animator, I went to Scotland Street College for 3 years to study Foundation Art. These were great times amongst wonderful people of all ages and from all walks of life. It exposed me, a young lad with a fairly narrow view of the world to a much broader way of thinking. I know many people from Scotland Street feel the same, it was a unique and exceptional place to be.
Following Scotland Street I was accepted on to a Design Degree course at university, having been persuaded out of following the path of oils at Bretton Hall. However, I was also offered a position as a junior designer at an agency in Sheffield – accepting that was one of the better decisions I’ve made as the pace and real world learning fast-tracked my career by years. On the first day of this job, I knew I wanted to do ‘this’ over anything else. It felt like it was meant to be, that I’d found the thing that I was good at, and that just happened to be something that I loved doing.
Mine is most likely an unusual path, in particular from my childhood and education weren’t exactly perfect. However, all career paths will be unique in their own way.
If anything is guaranteed it’s that nothing will go to plan, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have one – quite the opposite.
This is especially pertinent for those who are ambitious enough to think about starting their own company. To anyone thinking this I would very much encourage you to do so if it feels right – I received this encouragement myself and it’s appreciated to this day. In some ways it will be the hardest thing you’ll ever do – but the rewards, achievements and impact you can make are worth it.
Andy is the CEO and Founder of Joi Polloi and has been with us since the very beginning – almost 20 years ago!
I drifted into the industry after doing old linear media (I studied Ba (hons) New Media Production at Bournemouth University). I never really had a ‘this is what I want to do’ moment – I’ve always wanted to make good stuff! After university, I was a developer on a virtual Scalextric Product where you raced cars simultaneously on a track in your bedroom against someone on the other side of the world, which was really fun. I never intended to be what I am today when I set out, but I’ve really enjoyed the tangents my career has taken. It’s never a straight path, so always leave yourself open to opportunity – and take the opportunity when it comes along.
Russ is the Technical Director at Joi Polloi and has been with us since January 2017.
I went to university to study Mathematical Physics, but dropped out after realising it wasn’t for me. After dropping out I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do so I ended up working as a cinema host at Odeon for a couple of years. In 2018, I decided to go for an interview at Northcoders. It was at their entry interview that I realised this was what I wanted to do. It was a short coding test and after I’d finished I realised how much I’d enjoyed the problems. If I could enjoy coding under interview conditions then I was definitely going to like it as a job! If I could give any advice, it’s that it’s never too late to change paths – I basically changed career paths 3 times in 5 years. If what you’re doing isn’t working for you then it’s always worth looking to see if there’s another path open for you.
Josh is a Developer at Joi Polloi and has been with us since November 2019.
I originally went to university in 2011 to do an undergrad in Media Studies. After my undergrad, I worked at a local radio station as a scheduling assistant and on the events team, followed by a couple of different jobs unrelated to my degree. I saved up some money and went travelling for a year as I was still unsure what to do next career-wise. I then decided to do a masters in Digital Media Management in 2018. I’ve always had an interest in digital/tech and getting into the creative industry. Studying for my masters cemented this even more so as I was able to explore different roles and discover routes into the industry. My suggestion is to get out there and experience new things, meet new people, make new contacts and don’t put pressure on yourself to land your dream drop ASAP after uni!
Sian is a Producer at Joi Polloi and has been with us since July 2018.
I studied Physics and Philosophy at university, and after my degree I went on to be an editor at Pergamon Press in Oxford, working on scientific journals – so not really related to the digital industry! I first got involved with the industry when I worked in book publishing. I did this for quite a few years – there was a creative element to it in that I was often involved in book cover designs and also the internal page layouts. I never really had a ‘this is what I want to do’ moment. Instead, I have put my creativity into my hobbies, such as painting, drawing and making animations. Joi Polloi is the first time I have worked in a creative industry, so I feel very lucky to have got the opportunity! I think if you want to be creative, then go ahead and make things and have fun – do things that give you pleasure.
Renata is a Senior Producer at Joi Polloi and has been with us since May 2021.
I went to university in 2010 to study Law, but quickly realised that it wasn’t for me. Pretty much as soon as I finished university I got a job with Brad (another one of our developers) working for a web agency in Canada. I enjoyed this a lot more than law. Web development, the whole agency lifestyle and the people that work in technology are a lot more personable (in my experience). If I could give any advice I would just say that networking is key, after all it’s not always what you know…
Matt is a Developer at Joi Polloi and has been with us since June 2018.