I first heard of Immersive Labs through a TechCrunch article about its Goldman Sachs investment way back in January 2019. I thought the concept of the platform sounded insanely cool and I was very impressed with some of the customers listed.
I thought nothing more of it at the time, until a few months later when I found myself browsing open positions on LinkedIn. I was working as a software engineer up in Liverpool, without any real intention to leave, but every now and then I'd just have a look to see what opportunities there were around the country. A bit like how I would sink hours into Zoopla looking at multi-million pound houses around the Lake District, ogling like a child with his face pressed up against a sweet shop. Just like that child, I was only ever looking. I never had any intention to apply to any of the posts. That is until the company name on one of the job listings jumped out at me: Immersive Labs. I checked out the website and there it was, that super cool company from the article I had read a while back…
Within five minutes of me going over the Backend job description I found myself refining my CV. How could I not? The role was exactly what I didn’t realise I was looking for!
The interview process was extremely pleasant – everyone was super accommodating of the fact that I wasn’t based in Bristol, which was reassuring. Before long I was made an offer and on a very British, overcast day in May 2019 I was on my way to Bristol to meet the team before making a decision.
I felt like I was part of team before even accepting the job. Everyone was so welcoming, and my future colleagues even convinced me to hang around until lunch so they could take me to St. Nick’s (this amazing street food market in the middle of the city). Suffice it to say, I signed on the dotted line and wrote my notice on the train back up to Liverpool! It didn’t take long for it to hit me – I’d never so much as left my hometown before, but come July I was moving to Bristol.
I. Was. Bricking it!
The full realisation that I’d made the right choice came a few few weeks before my start date. In my previous role, I had organised for a group of engineers to go down to Brighton Ruby, a renowned conference for UK Ruby developers. I had to forfeit my ticket since the conference took place after my final day there and I was gutted. However, the same day that I parted ways with my ticket Jaycee, my first line manager at Immersive Labs, texted me to ask if I wanted a ticket to – you guessed it – Brighton Ruby, since a group of Immersive’s engineers were going! The conference fell on the weekend before my start date. I wanted to go but at the same time I was hesitant. They seemed nice, but I didn’t know anybody! I figured I’d chalk it up to social trial by fire.
I hadn't worked with them yet and here I was at a conference, in Brighton, having a couple of bevvies and sharing a hotel room with some of my soon-to-be colleagues! Immersive Labs really has an incredible bunch of people and a very inclusive social culture. That was my first impression, and one which has gone from strength to strength the longer I’ve been here. I was made to feel completely at ease and part of the team from the start.
By Sunday I felt weird: I had no first day jitters! I was just keen to get to the office on Monday and get to work.
During my first month in Bristol, I spent a lot of time looking for somewhere to actually live. Yes, apparently I’m THAT guy – the guy who moves nearly 200 miles from home without sorting a place to live beforehand. The team was very invested in my house-hunting journey though, with it often becoming the topic of lunchtime conversation and various colleagues offering me tips on each of the areas I was looking at. During my first month I was onboarded really well from a work AND play perspective, and I truly felt like a full member of the Immersive Labs fold within a few weeks.
Seven months later, this feeling only gets stronger.
I'm really enjoying my time here so far. It really is a one-of-a-kind company and that leap of faith I took in the summer of 2019 is turning out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made. My Zoopla spiral looks a lot different now too!