Experience this career in VR
Studio Production Director, Ubisoft Toronto
I was born/grew up in: Montreal, Quebec
I now live in: Toronto, Ontario
I completed my training/education at: McGill University, Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering, (Concentration in Computer Systems)
Describe what you do at work.
I spend a lot of my time working with teams to follow up on progress to identify and eliminate obstacles. A lot of time is spent in meetings: discussing project status & current challenges, breaking down issues and problem solving together. Some of my work involves connecting people together and helping teams support each other effectively. For example, I help teams prioritize and focus on what’s most important – because there is never enough time to do all that we want to.
Even though my professional starting point was engineering, and still remains my passion, since I became a manager a lot of what I do is really centered on people. Even a technical decision can often require more than just a technical understanding of the problem. You also have to understand and work with the people involved, the skills they have, their motivations and what drives them to do their best.
When I was a student I enjoyed:
How does your job affect people’s lives?
I began my career feeling very passionate about my individual contribution and enjoying solo work on my own tasks. Eventually I realized that as a Manager, I could have a bigger impact by helping others work well together, assisting them as they grow and develop their skills, and providing guidance and support when they face challenges. I truly enjoy coordinating the efforts of a team as we can achieve so much more together – we are more than the sum of our parts.
What motivates you in your career?
Managing teams is a very rewarding experience. Helping someone develop their skills, grow from a junior developer into a more senior developer, a specialist and maybe even a manager is very exciting. It’s not about solving people’s problems for them, but helping them develop the skills they need to find the solutions themselves. I feel that I have a positive impact on the people I work with and this is what drives me.
If I can get rid of an irritant, eliminate a stress or help someone break down a problem they are concerned about, that can go a long way in helping them be more effective in their role and feel more motivated overall. Often we are in situations where there is more work than time available, or limited bandwidth on a team. So we are constantly prioritizing and making choices about what is more important to the team and what brings the most value to the player, our end user. Making the important choices early on is critical to achieving success.
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
Describe your career path to this career.
I held various summer jobs in software development throughout my university studies. This early exposure was very helpful in determining what kind of career I wanted. Work experience was really valuable in developing real-world experience and helped complement the experience I was acquiring at school.
My decision to pursue this career path was a combination of my passion for software development and my love for playing video games. It was the perfect intersection of the two. As a software developer, the game industry was very appealing as it combines all kinds of different areas of software development into one piece of technology: tools, graphics, networking, AI, animation, physics, there is so much opportunity to learn.
My brother was a huge influence in my life. He was the one who first introduced me to programming by teaching me Basic when I was around 10 and also introduced me to video games. He also really pushed me to be assertive and to not be afraid to challenge the status quo.
During my professional career, I had some really great managers. One in particular who really encouraged me to take risks, accept that making mistakes was part of the learning experience, and push myself out of my comfort zone.
What activities do you like to do outside of work?
I love running. It makes me feel great and gives me time to think and have some good solo time. I also really enjoy strength training, hiking, and biking. Other than that I love to cook and make extravagant meals for my family & friends. I enjoy hanging out with my family, playing video games and board games.
What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?
See challenges as opportunities not roadblocks. Every road worth travelling will be littered with obstacles. Each one will be an opportunity to learn, to shine, and sometimes to surpass expectations. If you are interested in a career in games, try stuff at home: learn to code, draw, write, experiment with whatever area of game development you are most passionate about. There are so many free resources available that you can use to make your own game or mod. Figure out what you are most passionate about and go all in.