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Au’Guest’ Blog Post- The journey of prize winning grad to freelancer

Written by Andre Calvo, joint winner of the Wired Sussex prize for ‘Best final year digital media project' at University of Brighton, as part of the Wired Sussex guest blog month

During my time as a student I was never fond of participating in group work because of the difficulties in communication and organisation.  It was always a problem to get everyone in one place, keep track of who was doing what and remember deadlines.

These problems led me to design and develop a project communication app specifically for students. The overall goal was to create a platform that provided a more efficient way of discussing, planning and organising work. My research showed there were apps of a similar nature but they were targeted to larger businesses and unsuited for simplistic University projects.

‘In The Loop’ was designed to be as simple and easy to use as possible. As a student I was easily able to find other students to be part of my user centred design process which helped decide and discover features and functionality.

The app allows students to register an account and then invite friends to their projects, or ‘Loops’. All projects were listed in order of their due dates for clarity, and within the projects students could see a list of upcoming tasks, recently uploaded photos from the inspiration wall and a summary of who was involved in the projects. Students could also instant message other members of the group and manage tasks by adding notes and changing their completion progress.

The project was a great experience and I was very pleased and to be awarded the Wired Sussex prize for my work.

Journey so far
After completing my 2 year BTEC ICT course at college I began my Digital Media degree at the University of Brighton. From the variety of subjects taught on the course I soon realised that web design and development was the path I wanted to pursue.

For my third year I was lucky enough to secure a 12 month internship as a web developer at a digital agency. I learnt a lot during the year and also met my good friend and now business partner, Ollie Silviotti.

Ollie graduated last year from Digital Media Development and was the previous placement student at the agency where I interned. We soon started working on a project together outside of the company and towards the end of 2012 we created Yak. As Yak, we offer various web design and development services. Yak is a long term project for us both and we are slowly growing our client portfolio and have some of our own projects planned for the future.

I finished my Digital Media degree with first-class honours and also won the SiteVisibilty prize for ‘best student’ after achieving the highest average grade. Since graduating I began freelancing as a front-end web developer at Bite Studio, where I now work full time.  Feel free to get in contact at

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