Q: What is your job and what does your typical day involve?
A: My title is "Programmer", but what area of programming I work in changes from day to day, depending on what the current projects require. I may be working on gameplay mechanics one day, implementing the GUI (Graphical User Interface) the next, and then creating in-house tools after that. With a smaller team and a large number of projects running simultaneously you need to be prepared to switch it up in line with the team's current needs.
Q: How did you decide that you wanted to be a part of your industry?
A: I don't think I had that moment where it just clicked that this is what I wanted to do in life. I think a natural interest in both computers and video games from a young age meant I just naturally progressed towards working with them. The cliché is "Find a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life", and that's what I tried to do. Additionally, programming is just incredibly cool with endless possibilities and an ever-increasing importance in the world.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your industry?
A: The challenge first and foremost. When you're in a "creative" industry, you will never not be challenged, because you're constantly trying to innovate. You can put heart and soul into a project and really get a feeling of ownership for it. With the crazy amount of computers, smartphones, game consoles, and internet access readily available around the world, it's incredibly easy to get your product in front of thousands, if not millions of people, which will always bring a great sense of accomplishment.
Q: Since starting your job, what's your greatest achievement?
A: Possibly actually starting the job, with how tricky it can be to get a place in the industry. Since then, it's been a large amount of little achievements, rather than a little amount of large ones. For the limited time I've been in industry, I've got a stupid amount of released titles under my belt already. Having all those products out there, that include your own work, and are enjoyed by millions worldwide, that's a fantastic feeling to have.
Q: Where were you born, and what made you come to Bournemouth?
A: I was born in Swindon, Wiltshire, a couple of hours drive North of Bournemouth. I came to Bournemouth for the university. I looked round at a number of courses related to games development, and Bournemouth Uni really stood out to me as an exciting and progressive place to be. I think I was set on being by the sea too after growing up in a reasonably land-locked place, and what better place for that than here? I was fortunate enough to get work in Bournemouth the same week I finished my course, after 4 years at the university.
Q: What do you remember about your first day at your job?
A: Having to be told I was free to leave for lunch. On a more serious note, I suppose attempting to get over the initial imposter syndrome that seems so common for those entering their target industry for the first time. After being in education all your life and looking up to these companies, it's a strange feeling to suddenly find yourself among all the employees. You just need to remember that the company has put faith in you for that position, not someone else, and they believe you have the talent and drive to get the job done. Go prove them right.
Q: When you were a child, what did you want to be?
A: Asleep for the most part, and not a lot has changed since. As mentioned before, I always had an interest in computer and video games, but I suppose at a young age I didn't fully understand how I could get a career out of it all. I think I went through the whole wanting to be a vet stage at one point too, which sprouted from a love of animals and no idea what else to do.
Q: When was the last time you learnt something new?
A: Today? The fun thing about being in a creative industry is that you're either creating new ways to solve a problem, or you're learning how others have done so themselves. There's no end to the learning you can do, nor should there ever be.
Q: What was your first job?
A: My first serious job was as a temp Sales Assistant at a nationwide electrical store. It was ideal for teaching me I probably shouldn't be in a sales position, I wasn't fantastic at pushing people to make purchases they really didn't need to be making. My first permanent job was at a local bowling alley, which was fun at the time, but not something I'd likely go back to in a hurry...
Q: How are your company's Christmas parties?
A: From what I remember, we had a lot of steak, and a lot of terrible Christmas cracker toys. From what I don't remember, I'm sure we had a lot of fun too.
Q: What was the best advice somebody gave you?
A: Possibly that I should be prepared for criticism, and use it to further develop my skills and the products I create. You're never going to please everyone, and there will always be someone who has a lesser opinion of your work, but instead of letting it get you down, get to understand their opinion, the basis behind it, and use it to empower you in the future. We all make mistakes, just don't go repeating them!
Q: What would you name the autobiography of your life?
A: That's a tricky question this early on in my career, perhaps ask me again in fifty years.