Dream Job: Adam Shaw, QA Engineer

Meet Adam

adam at sound booth

QA Engineer

Do you enjoy exercising your brain and stretching it in multiple directions? Are you introspective; does thinking energize you? Perhaps you pose questions to yourself and try to sort out responses through reflection. If so, you may be a person with the talent of Intellection.

One of Adam’s gifts is introspection. He spends time thinking about others, pondering how the world works, and musing through possible solutions. He is caring, inquisitive, and invested in listening to those around him. Adam’s interest in video games and proclivity in understanding how gaming works has lead Adam into his current dream job.

If you enjoy spending time thinking, you may enjoy a career in gaming. Take a look into the life of a professional gamer in Adam’s thoughtful responses below.

What’s your title? What do you do? How long have you done this?

My job title is “QA Engineer” and I work for NVIDIA Corporation.

What I do, day to day changes a lot, but typically it’s some combination of running software benchmarks, building/dismantling computers, testing video games or capturing marketing footage. I’ve been at this job for just over a year.

nvidia-corporate-presentation-1-638

What jobs or past experiences have led you to the current thing that pays you money (your job)?

My previous job was almost two years as a Sound Designer/Audio Engineer for a local mobile game studio called Simutronics.  I also acted as a QA intern there for about 7 months before switching to Audio.

Before Simutronics I had a lot of non-professional experience.  I studied music in college. I played and beta tested a lot of games as a teenager and into my early twenties as well. One day, while I was leading a raiding guild in a game called ‘Rift’ a friend of mine suggested that I might be well suited to a career in games.  Turns out she was right.  Less than a year after she made that suggestion, I had an internship.

What occupation did you imagine having when you were 5? What about at 25?

When I was 5, I either wanted to play baseball or be a psychologist.  I was probably about 25 when I started pursuing my career in video games.

adam coffee
What one can find at the bottom of a tea cup!

The Best: Tell us, what’s the best part of your job?

It’s unpredictable.  Any given day I may be given a completely different task than what I was doing the previous day.  I don’t like falling into familiar patterns or getting stagnant, so it’s nice to always be mixing things up.  We’re almost always working on something current (or unreleased!) so I don’t expect I’ll ever be at risk of getting bored.

ADam with a mic
Playing Johann Sebastian Joust at the Pixelpop Festival

The Stink: Tell us, what’s part of the job that you really wish were different? 

I wish we had room in our office for more testers.  The people I work with are great and I wish there were more of them.  We’re a bit bottle-necked by facilities at the moment. I hope we’ll eventually get more space so more people can join us.

Outside of your job, how do you spend your time?  

The majority of my time outside of work is either spent gaming, performing in, or attending improv shows, or doing photography.  I also occasionally dabble in video production.

adam doing stuff
Spaceteam Tournament

Who is someone you look up to for career inspiration?

Within the company: My team lead Jeremy is very, very, good at his job and I hope I can one day lead as well as he does.

Outside the company: My friends Sam and Seth Coster from Butterscotch Shenanigans.  They started their own indie game studio from scratch and are incredibly smart and hard-working. I am constantly blown away by what they accomplish with such a small team and I feel like they are a prime example of what you can achieve when you set your mind to something.

adam black and white
Serious…
adam black and white happy
Annnnd, not so serious!

What is your advice to people who are interested in a similar career?

Don’t make assumptions.  You don’t have to live on the coast or get a degree in video games to get this sort of job.  Just show that you can think critically, have a good eye for detail, know your way around a computer (and android/iOS), and are a fast learner.

There’s a thriving game development community in St. Louis and there are multiple opportunities every year to get your feet wet in game dev at local “Game Jams”.   Check out http://stlgamedev.com/ if you want to know more.  You’ll probably stumble across some pictures and videos I’ve taken! 🙂

adam conference
St. Louis Global Game Jam

If you could read these questions about someone else, who would you want to see answer them? (can give a job title or name a specific person).

I’d like to get a peek into the mind of a full-time college professor.  Doesn’t even matter what subject they teach.

Any other passing words of advice or anything neat you have going on that you would like to share with us?

While what I do certainly qualifies as a “dream job” it’s definitely not for everyone… but it’s definitely more attainable than you think if you go for it.

There are lots of tools and tutorials online about how to start making your own video games.  Once you know how they’re put together it’s pretty easy to figure out how they break and how to break them.

 

****

Adam is a great example of how hobbies can lead into careers. His non-professional experience lead to his first opportunity as an intern.

Video game tester, and you can too! Thanks for sharing with us Adam!

 

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