This feature was first published in Journeys Summer 2021.
We came to Singapore in 2009 because my dad worked for Rockwell Automation at the time, and his job took our family all over the world. I attended Singapore American School from seventh grade through tenth grade, and the best part was getting to spend time with different people and experience new things. Going to Brussels to perform in the AMIS senior orchestra, the Telunas art trip, the soccer team, Interim Semester, even just hanging out with my friends in the art studio—believe it or not, I actually even miss walking home in the rain!
I believe that SAS helped me succeed because it allowed me to choose from a variety of courses that interested me, which was crucial for my learning. Whether it was art, orchestra, history, or computer science, I was able to figure out what was important to me and prioritize that for college and beyond. Also, being part of the SAS art community was a huge influence on my life. I spent all my free time hanging out in the studio, even when I was not actually doing art. Having a creative outlet where I felt accepted and understood was very important for me.
My family left Singapore in 2012, halfway through my high school years. We moved to the United States, and I experienced a huge culture shock. I ended up going to college at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, where I graduated with a bachelor's degree in game design and development. I was fortunate to land a software engineering internship at Blizzard after my third year in college, and it must have gone well because they hired me full-time!
I currently work at Blizzard Entertainment in Irvine, California as an associate software engineer working on the Shared Game Engine. I specialize in automation engineering, which provides automated pipelines and tooling for fellow developers and engineers on the team (at some game studios this is called tools engineering). I get to work with an immense technical stack—our underlying frameworks, languages, and software products—so I am constantly learning and expanding my problem-solving abilities. Automation engineering is great because it combines my love for technology with working directly with people.
I entered this field because I’ve loved playing video games ever since I was a kid. Being able to work in this industry was a dream, and Blizzard has always been special to me because I love World of Warcraft. The hardest part for me was breaking into the field. Because of the nature of the work, it’s incredibly competitive, with way more people than there are jobs. It feels surreal that I am now working with people I grew up idolizing. I love my team—everyone has a passion for video games and creating, and it’s a pleasure to get to spend every day with people who share my enthusiasm. Oh, and we get to make video games!
My advice to others interested in game development is that if you’re passionate about it, it’s never too early to start. Explore the many free online resources for learning how to make games. Game development can be whittled down to three overarching disciplines: programming, art, and design. Focus on developing the specific area or discipline that appeals to you most. Every so often, take a look at postings of the jobs you want, and learn the required skills for each position (that’s how I landed my internship). Being passionate about playing video games is important, but knowing how to make them is entirely different!
When I think back to SAS, the person I remember most fondly is Ms. Barbara Harvey! I still remember going into the portfolio review where it would be determined if I had the skills to skip into higher level and AP art courses in high school. It was the first time I met Ms. Harvey, and she told me that the pride I took in my work and the grit in my work ethic would take me far. Learning how to believe in myself and follow my passions brought me to my dream job.
Journeys, our print publication, shares current, in-depth stories written by and for members of our school community. It is mailed to current families, faculty, staff, and alumni in December and June. If you are interested in contributing an article to Journeys, email email@example.com. Read more articles here.
- always an Eagle
- Blizzard Entertainment
- class of 2015
- once an Eagle
- software engineer