Preferred Job Titles: Composer, Sound Designer, QA Tester/Analyst
By the time I had enrolled at Quinnipiac University in 2014, I had already spent much of my life learning everything I could about game design and music theory. Naturally, I majored in Game Design & Development and minored in Music. I spent much of my time as a GDD major rapidly designing and developing games, and honing my music composition skills. Shortly before graduating, my roommates and I formed an LLC called Artii Games, so we could continue creating games together.
After graduating from QU in 2018, I enrolled at Worcester Polytechnic Institute where I would spend about a year and a half earning an MS in Management. The idea was to study business so that somebody at Artii Games would know how to run a company. Ironically, the most influential courses I took at WPI were not the business courses (though, they were very eye-opening), but the UX electives. It was here where I realized that my real passion is not just making music, or games… My real passion is creating experiences. This also completely reframed the way I looked at music and audio. I was suddenly much more interested in Sound Design and the role that its subtleties play in shaping and experience.
While studying at WPI, I worked a Graduate Assistantship position as a QA Tester, where I tested Android apps that were being used in health-related, academic studies. I absolutely loved this job, and I left it with a heavy heart in December of 2019, as I had graduated and was no longer eligible to work as a GA. Working as a QA Tester allowed me to draw from my knowledge of game design and UX. Not only was I testing bugs, but I was also speaking directly with study participants (users), documenting their stories, and designing and executing persona-based test cases. I would essentially role-play as various user-personas as I tested the apps. Nothing felt better than presenting my findings in a meeting with the developers. I would talk about bugs I had found, as well as UX problems. Sure, a feature may have been working as the developers intended, but if I had received a dozen emails from users asking me the same question about said feature, then clearly, we had a UX problem on our hands. I would investigate these UX problems and propose design solutions based on my knowledge of UX, Game Design, player/user psychology, and just…empathy.
Since graduating from WPI with a Master’s in December, I have been trying to find a job that would bring me as much joy as that QA job. I find myself in this weird realm where I want to do Sound Design for experiences (be they games or not) and explore the effects it has on users. I am also very passionate about QA, as I have seen first-hand how vital its role is in delivering a quality experience. As I search for a job, I continue to work on passion projects with my friends at Artii Games as the Lead Composer & Sound Designer. We currently have two games on Steam and a third on the way.