Happy 4th of July everyone!
It’s been a crazy summer for me here in South Dakota (where I’m currently at!). Right now, I’m spending my last real summer back home before I more permanently stay in LA. Since I’m a junior at USC now, I’m not guaranteed housing with the university. Because of this, I’m moving off campus to my own place (and with my own wi-fi! Woot woot!).
My roommate and good friend, Michael Chen, however, is staying in university housing so that he can stay near his sister, who is going to be a freshman next year! With this, I needed to find someone who was willing to get an apartment to me. So, of course, I asked my good buddy, Sam, to move in with me. Short story is she agreed and we’re already all set up for a nice little apartment a couple of blocks north of campus. She also needed a place to live over the summer because before she was living with some Augustana girls whose lease would be up in May. So when I came back to Sioux Falls, she moved in with me in my basement at my parents home.
Now Sam and I sit together in a small little basement and bicker and play video games! It’s been great so far and I couldn’t be happier with the arrangement, I think? I don’t know what I could complain about with one of my best friends living together with me! Perhaps I should be a little bit more careful with our spending, however, haha. In all seriousness, though, we’ve been doing a lot! I’ve spent a lot of time with her moving her stuff, kayaking (where I broke my Sony camera D:), going out late at night to take photography, and playing all sorts of new games. Check out Depth, the shark versus divers game, it’s literally amazing and hilarious at the same exact time.
On the more business side of things, since the summer started I’ve been super busy with my new job and hardly have had the time to go about reviewing games and such. But I’m really getting hyped up and pumped up to put out more content. Sam really likes the whole production of film stuffs and is super into YouTube and vlogging and such, and has really motivated me, not only to help her accomplish that stuff, but also to really work hard on the stuff that I’ve been clamoring about. That includes my new job!
I recently didn’t know what I wanted to do for income over the summer. I was really dedicated to my new game project, which is now at a standstill until I can work out some further arrangements, and I didn’t want to work because of it. But now, having to help pay for an apartment and my ever-increasing debt pressuring me, I took up an opportunity that practically landed in my lap. You see, I didn’t really want to work at like BK or GameStop or anything that would really constitute temp work. I’m a bit worn out by the whole young 14-20 year old employment cycle, especially because of my student jobs that are lackluster clerical positions. It may be a bit entitled to say, but I just really don’t like the dredge of normal work days. Having to deal with all the stuff in my life, I’ve really just set on trying to spend as much of my waking days focused on the things that I want to do and things that I want to accomplish.
Coming off that, I got a phone call from my good friend, great writer and ex-girlfriend, Hope. She said that her mom remembered that I was a game design major, and that her new start-up was looking for someone to help develop a new game-like application for their company. They were looking for a student to intern with them since they were on a low-budget.
As soon as I got into further contact with her mother, I fervently pushed for this position. I sat down with the president of the company and he gave me an overview of what they wanted and asked me a lot of the usual interview-type stuff. Turns out, they didn’t want me to work on the game-like application, because although that is a project the president does want to see come to fruition one day, he is much more interested in seeing a information portal-type application that will help his customers using his product in the field first. What they wanted was an android/iOS application that would help teach their customers about their product. A manual-before-the-game-type situation, which I personally think is a smart business decision and one that I can sympathize with.
In terms of my capabilities, I had to figure some things out, however. So, he gave me a couple days to think things over, do some research into the type of work I’d have to do to accomplish the task, and come up with a production plan. I chose this time to do some research into android and iOS as well as created a burn-down chart based on production tools I’ve used at my classes in USC. (Thanks Peter Brinson!)
I emailed him again after a couple days, went back in for a second interview and then, I was pretty up-front and honest. No, I had no experience in app development. No, I’d never made any commercial product. No, I didn’t specialize in the computer languages that these platforms were primarily run on (Java and Swift/Objective-C).
However, What I also told him was what I did bring to the table. I’m hardworking, a quick learner, I have strong production skills and I have worked three different languages (Java, C# and Python, with C# being the primary due to USC’s adherence to Unity.) Yes, I’m just a student, but I have a lot of experience in planning, producing and, at the least, understanding and manipulating programming. I presented my burn-down chart, a breakdown of what I needed to accomplish the task, and a breakdown of what kinds of challenges I would be facing in order to produce the product. The first of these was that I would not be able to produce both an Android and iOS app, as cross-platform development would be very arduous and difficult both in terms of production time and my team size (just me!) I said it was something we could address at a later time, but for now, if I were to work with them, I would be producing an android application, since my prior skills from high school were object-oriented Java, which coincidentally is the primarily programming language used to make android applications.
I ended up getting the internship and I could not further emphasize how much this is going to be huge for my career and learning. Having this opportunity to work 40 hours a week in a office setting working on a project programming a mobile application on my own is a huge responsibility and a lot of work, but hopefully in the end, I can use this internship to springboard into a games internship next year. At USC, a lot of internships require you to be at least a junior before considering you, and being able to say that I professionally and personally created work for company as an internship, on mobile no less, will tremendously help my application for games internships.
I’m able to say not only that I have the programming and production skills to plan and produce a product, but also that I’m able to do so on a mobile platform that I didn’t even know how to do before the internship. I can prove that I’m a quick learner and adaptive worker. Supplement that with my USC education, and I’ve got a mighty fine application as a prospective intern.
I’m still toiling away at this project and I’m hoping that it will turn out well. I might even post some of the in-progress development, we’ll see. I’m busy working hard at that.
So as you can see I’m working hard, and trying to advance my life in a way that is both positive and productive.
There’s obviously a bunch more I can say on both the subject of my current internship as well as all the fun stuff I’m up to with Sam, but I’ll leave that for another post!