Posted 26 January 2022

Watch Viv Galinari's Pep Talk on making a career change and working in tech

Our latest Pep Talk featured AR artist at Meta, Viv Galinari, who answered all of your questions on coding, creating filters for Instagram and switching careers. Hosted by Steph Fung, Viv discussed experimenting with software, relocating to south-east Asia to focus on learning and her predictions for the future of tech. Plus: we share a range of resources that Viv recommends for anyone looking to get started in the world of coding and AR.

Big talking points:

  • Creating a plan and lifestyle that supports your goals (04:30)
  • Getting into AR and experimenting with software (10:50)
  • Switching careers and getting your first junior role without experience (14:44)
  • Coding languages and which ones to learn depending on your interests (20:00)
  • A discussion on sexism in tech (23:00)
  • Tips on breaking into the industry (25:20)
  • A short tour of Viv’s workspace and equipment (28:57)
  • Face filters and creating for social media (31:35)
  • How the future of tech may impact the real world (35:10)
  • AR in museums, galleries and other cultural spaces (37:25)
  • Viv’s move to south east Asia and where to live when working in tech (40:30)
  • How important is learning to code in the world of AR? (43:45)

What did I miss?
After an introduction from our host Steph Fung, Viv shared her own mini-pep talk with us, focusing on three main points: “Make an actionable plan, create a lifestyle that supports learning and show up to it every day.” Inspired by the changes she made to facilitate her own career in tech, Viv explained how prioritising learning and building up a roster of transferrable skills helped her break into industry: “I was never a ‘junior junior', I’ve had ten years of experience.”

Then, Viv went on to share her journey to working at Meta as an AR artist, reflecting on her seven years as a membership manager at D&AD before taking the leap into tech. Unable to do an MA in computer science, and despite taking a detour through the world of business innovation, she eventually realised that she could “no longer run away from coding” if she wanted to take on a new career in creative technology.

Speaking about her move to south-east Asia to teach herself all things coding and AR, Viv described being surrounded by nature and choosing to utilise her own resources, instead of taking the usual route through a coding boot camp.

“Make an actionable plan, create a lifestyle that supports learning and show up to it every day.”

The conversation also touched on creating for social media and Viv’s views on how tech might impact our everyday lives. When it came to talking about filters, Viv noted how creating filters for Instagram is a way to ensure that her skills are always in demand, due to the longevity of the platform. And when thinking about tech’s place in the real world, she predicts that while AR and VR will enhance our everyday experiences, “giving life to otherwise inanimate objects,” tech will never fully replace things like galleries or museums.

Personal growth as a developer was also a huge talking point. While Viv attributes certain platforms with being central to her development as an AR artist, she also emphasised the importance of continuing to learn: “If you think you know everything [in tech] you’ll be out of a job soon because it’s forever evolving.”

With that in mind, Viv also shared a number of resources for emerging creatives looking to get into coding and AR, which we’ve listed below!

Resources recommended by Viv for anyone looking to get into coding, AR and tech

Free resources

  • SuperHi, an online education platform providing a number of online courses in coding, design and project management. This includes courses on interface design, javascript, Instagram filters and animation for those at beginner level and above. Viv particularly recommends the Foundation HTML, CSS + Javascript course for absolute beginners, or their an annual membership which can be great value for money.
  • SparkAR, a free tool from Meta that allows users to create AR effects. You’ll also find everything from easy-to-use templates and asset libraries, to advanced customisations and controls. There are tutorials available on their Learn page, as well as a Facebook group for the Spark AR community.
  • Computer Science Crash, an entertaining YouTube series providing an overall understanding of the computer science field.

P5.js library for creative coding


Web AR

  • A-Frame, a web framework for building 3D, AR and VR experiences.

AR Artists doing amazing work

About Viv Galinari
Based in London, Viv Galinari is a technical and AR artist. For those less familiar, AR (or augmented reality) involves layering visual and auditory information onto reality to create digital immersive experiences. You might have used an AR face filter on Instagram, for example.

With a journey that has seen her work in a variety of roles, Viv has mastered skills in creative coding, augmented reality and visual programming – and was even voted one of the top women in tech, winning the TechWomen100 award in 2020. Now working for Meta – previously named Facebook – Viv is testament to power of up-skilling when changing careers.

What is Pep Talk?
Pep Talk is our monthly Instagram Live event to share relatable, easy-to-process tips in conversation with inspiring creatives.

Each session begins with a ‘pep talk’, where a chosen creative gets to share their ultimate advice for anyone who might be feeling a bit stuck, before answering questions submitted by you, our readers.

Written by Creative Lives in Progress
Mention Viv Galinari