Jake Smith is the End of level boss and one of the founders of JP74. Jake works on front end development and media/animation, and keeps one eye on emerging technologies. And plays video games. Here are his first 5 Jobs:

1 — Blackpool Pleasure Beach / Burger flipper
Having never really had a part-time job of my own when younger, this challenging position in the fast moving world of consumer catering for adrenaline junkies was done at weekends while at my first year of uni, to supplement beer money. I think I spent all of the aforementioned beer money in the arcades.

2 — Fingerprint / Junior Graphic Designer
While doing my ND in Art & Design, I managed to get a part time position at a design and print studio. Just as Macs were on the way in — with Freehand 4, QuarkXpress 3 and Photoshop 2 — PMT cameras and film output was on the way out. I had a great opportunity to learn that I seized with both hands. It started from a 2 week “off my own bat” work placement, but I got offered weekends and any uni holidays due to my eagerness and contribution to the studio.

3 — Sony Entertainment Europe / PlayStation game tester
Playtesting PlayStation games, and getting paid. Student. Heaven. I was introduced to the testing department through a friend while on a tour of Psygnosis (Sony and Psygnosis shared the same building in Liverpool) a few months before the launch of the Playstation. I talked the talk and beat a few testers at a few games.

Nearly every weekend in my second year at uni studying Graphic Design was spent playing video games in the name of working. I worked long hours on a flagship Sony title, completed many games (but broke more) and had great fun, but ultimately knew that the QA life was not for me.

4 — Subnet New Media / Pixel pusher
Straight outta uni, I got a call from a local new media agency needing someone with Macromedia Shockwave experience. My friend Pete and I had done a lot of Director work at the tail end of uni, so we spent an evening preparing some demos, and hey presto… “we’d like to work with you long term”.
Subnet was a very rock’n’roll agency. Blissfully unaware of our own potential or power in the late 90s, we worked on some quality accounts like Disney Interactive, Coca-Cola Schweppes and Volvic. Ultimately, after five years, the agency was disbanded, but most of us forged on with other creative and digital projects.

5 — JP74 / End of level boss
In 2001, Pete and I started JP74. Over the last ten years we’ve worked on a wide range of digital projects, walled garden sites for set top boxes, stadium screen display software for a Premier League football team, through to design and technical scoping of iOS and web app development.

The jaypee team consists of about 15 creative and skilled team members, we enjoy the challenge of problem solving for our clients — all highly placed in a variety of sectors — including D&AD, Egencia and Quadriga.

We try really hard to do the right thing at JP74, from taking on the right kind of interesting projects, advising clients correctly — even if it means we lose out — creating a relaxed environment and collaborating with bright people. Might sound like a cliché, but it’s harder to do than you’d imagine!

You can follow Jake on twitter here.


We’ve asked professionals in creative industries what jobs they have had in the past to get their foot through the door (or at least pay the rent). For more in the “My First 5 Jobs” series look here.