Introducing: Lara (tea drinker)

In the first of a series of blogs introducing members of the UrbanThings team, our newest starter Lara Ruffle Coles explains how she got into Android development and what she’s been up to in her first high-octane week.

After working in the media industry as a client and account manager, a desire to innovate and learn new skills led me to take a break from working. After considering what to do next, I began teaching myself Android app development, and have now released two apps on the Google Play store. Last week I took the next step and started my first role in the bright and shiny world of digital media as UrbanThings’ Support Technologist.

I have always been interested in new technology and first learnt how to use a computer – an Apple Mac, aged nine as my father worked in desktop publishing. He would bring home work computers for the family to use whenever his work computer was upgraded, and I spent many hours playing Solitaire and Tetris on a PowerBook Duo.

Moving forward to 2010, I began my Android journey with my first ever smartphone, the HTC Desire. It was a complete revelation and I was in love, and of course I was immediately infinitely cooler than all iPhone users. Unfortunately, at work, everyone has an iPhone, but I am rolling with the punches…


At UrbanThings I will be working closely with the whole team, and will be running app user support, coordinating our social media profile, and developing elements of our apps as part of my on-going Android developer training. My first week was quite busy as we were launching our newest app TripChecker on the Wednesday, but thankfully there was enough time for pizza and ice cream on my first day – the making of any great team!

In preparing for the TripChecker launch I got my head stuck into Google AdWords, sent out my first press release, and prepared for our launch party with a slideshow and some Spotify playlist suggestions – Queen was unfortunately vetoed. Boooo. Wednesday’s launch party was very successful, alcohol and pizza were consumed, and we had a few hours off the next day to rehydrate – read and see more here.

I finished my week with some blogging (in the unusually peaceful office), whilst the rest of the team travelled west for Bristol API Hackathon 2, before firing off a round of launch party posts. All in all it was a very satisfying first week.

Over the next few weeks I will be consolidating our social media profiles, starting a number of research tasks with our Head of Platforms, and dipping into the UrbanThings Android code base.

All is a go in East London’s Tech City – aka Silicon Roundabout, so please do keep following our blog to learn more.


Lara’s Top 5 Life Goals

• Visit Japan during cherry blossom season (ETA 2017)
• Keep singing in my two choirs until my voice is kaput
• Acquire one of the terraced houses facing Greenwich Park
• Look after two Scottish Fold cats (just like Taylor Swift)
• Develop an amazing award-winning millionaire making app to achieve number three