Meet Rob Wyant, a General Assembly graduate whose latest work as lead iOS developer for Rukkus has brought virtual reality into the ticket-buying experience. Before Rukkus, Rob founded his own startup, Yapper, while in business school. During that time, he used General Assembly’s workshops to help him build confidence when discussing the technical aspects of his company. In 2014, he moved beyond workshops and graduated from GA’s first iOS Mobile Development course at our Washington, D.C., campus.
Aside from what he learned at GA, Rob is a self-taught programmer and is involved with NYC Swift Guild, a meetup for GA students. He says that none of what he’s accomplished with Yapper and Rukkus would have been possible without taking a GA course. “I tell that to anyone who’ll listen as often as I can!”
We connected with Rob to learn more about his journey with mobile development.
1. Why did you want to learn iOS development?
Out of absolute necessity! We were able to raise a small Friends and Family (F&F) round at Yapper, but the development process is rarely sustainable for technical startups if the co-founders are non-technical, like I was. Yapper’s core product was a white-labeled mobile app, so learning Swift was an obvious personal and professional investment.
How did you start working with Rukkus? Tell us more about the app.
I was sold on Rukkus immediately. To me, the incumbents in the ticketing space have sort of stagnated from a “product” and “customer service” standpoint. To draw a loose comparison, my friends and I sign up for the large cable companies because we have to, not because we want to. At Rukkus, we’re committed to making every aspect of our company better than what’s already out there—from the fees to customer service to, of course, the mobile app and purchasing experience!
2. What was the most exciting or most difficult part of building Rukkus?
This month, we introduced Virtual Reality to the ticketing industry for the very first time! Building Rukkus’ app was an incredible challenge for a lot of reasons, but this single feature has to be the most exciting. We obtained beautiful, 360-degree panoramic pictures of all sections of every NBA, NHL, and most MLB venues around the US and Canada. I built a fully-immersive view that displays these images in Rukkus’ iOS app. We call it Seat360, and you can use it when choosing tickets.
3. What are you most proud of from your work on Rukkus?
Being selected to the “Featured” page of the iOS App Store is, notoriously, one of the Holy Grails of iOS Development, and was certainly one of my proudest moments at Rukkus. It’s an incredible feeling to see your hard work recognized by Apple for the first time! Since the feature, we’ve seen our user engagement go crazy —our Average Session Length is up nearly two minutes and the number of Screens Viewed Per Session has tripled.
4. What’s on the horizon for Rukkus?
We will continue to ship features that our customers are screaming for. My motivation is to always build a product that people will tell their friends about. Seat360 was an explosive start, but we’ve got a few more home-run features lined up for Spring/Summer 2016.
5. What advice do you have for aspiring iOS developers?
My advice for anyone trying to switch careers is to keep learning. Consume whatever you find especially interesting. If you’re not into books, try podcasts, iTunes U, etc. There’s so much content that’s just a Google search away—no excuse to ever stop learning! Feel free to reach out if you are interested in mobile development; my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
6. Fill in the blank: If it weren’t for GA, I would ____.
… be working in a cubicle!
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