From PHD student to developing prototypes for a VR project

Shaun Jerdan

Shaun Jerdan joined trained at CodeClan to further his web development skills. He’s a postdoctoral researcher in digital health at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI). 

Tell us a bit about your career before studying at CodeClan.

When I joined CodeClan I was coming to the end of my PhD and had just started working at the University full time. I come from a social science background having studied sociology as an undergraduate. At UHI I was able to combine my social research skills with software development as I taught myself to make virtual reality (VR) experiences using game development software. The next natural step for me was to get myself deeper into software development.

How did you find out about the course?

I became aware of CodeClan through my work network, my supervisor’s son was part of the first Inverness cohort. I applied because I wanted to get a deeper understanding of software development, it was also a great opportunity to make myself more valuable in a research environment. I wanted to have the skills to develop prototypes whether it being an app or a VR experience as well as being involved in the wider research process such as user testing or data analysis.

What were some of your highlights?

The course was fantastic, it was certainly challenging and required a lot of problem-solving. Everybody there wanted to learn so working together came with ease. I particularly enjoyed group projects where we managed to build a product together. The industry talks were also great, it was valuable for me to hear about some of the companies working here locally. I have since collaborated with one of the digital marketing companies that spoke to us, to assist us with recruitment in a research study.

What are you working on right now and how are you finding it?

I’m still working at UHI, working on several exciting projects. I am part of a project looking to assist the psychological wellbeing of NHS Highland staff during the Covid-19 pandemic, I am developing prototypes for a VR project looking to help adolescent mental health in different countries as well as a similar project looking at assisting young people here in the Highlands, again through the use of technology. I love research and being able to combine it with my passion for technology and software development has been a real treat.

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