After getting my BA in Communications at the University of New Mexico, I worked at a nonprofit organization that supported native peoples in the US southwest. After five years, I went to get an MA in Journalism at Stanford University. After graduating, I did development/marketing writing for a nonprofit supporting kids with disabilities, then moved on to technical writing at a chip-design company where I worked for five years, eventually managing a team of tech writers.
Getting Your Start with EA
My entry to EA BioWare Edmonton was a little unique; my husband was hired as a writer here shortly after we had our oldest son. When I was looking for work after a year of maternity leave, the company was creating a new editor position. My husband told me about it, and my rather multifaceted work experience seemed to map fairly well to the job requirements, so I sent my resume to the HR staff. Happily, I was called in for interviews, and I guess they went OK because I’m still here almost seven years later.
Working at EA
Working here is an incredible experience, and the undisputed highlight is the people I’m privileged to work with. I’m surrounded by the most diverse, creative people I’ve ever met; you can’t help but be inspired (and generally amused) by the work that goes on here every day. The environment is very supportive of employees and families, which helps us get through the busy times.
EA BioWare has allowed me countless new opportunities to meet people and experience new things: I’ve had the opportunity to speak about game editing in classrooms and attend conventions and conferences where I was privileged to learn from both fans and other industry professionals about how to do my job better and how to make our games better.
Out of the office, I help manage our studio’s dragonboat teams (Go, BioWarriors!), which participate in festivals every summer; I’ve gotten to meet new team members and their spouses who’ve relocated to Edmonton and help them get settled in; I’ve run in distance races through the mountains, danced and sung, and gone to playgroups with my colleagues and their families.
Any Thoughts to Those Seeking a Career at EA?
If your goal is a design position, I suggest doing your research, honing your skills, and getting feedback. Research includes playing games—but playing them with a critical eye: What could have made that level better? What part of that dialogue grabbed you (or didn’t)? What part of that boss fight was your favorite? Why? Learning to evaluate the pieces that make up the game is critical.
Honing your skills means both determining what part of the field interests you and developing the needed skills accordingly. Create games or modules—there are numerous game-creation programs you can use to get your hands into the development process. Many post-secondary schools offer game design classes and certificates; these can be great ways to learn about the technology and processes involved in design.
And most importantly: learn how to ask for and implement feedback. EA Studios are designed by teams of people; every dev is one part of an extensive process, and we depend on each other for feedback and ideas. Incorporating input effectively is key to both making great games and having a great work environment with your colleagues.