Liza Shulyayeva

14 years of game dev

It feels like just yesterday I got my first job in game dev back in Australia, but it’s been about 14 years! I feel like I’ve done a little bit of everything, and was very fortunate to have gotten to grow as an SE on the job while working with different languages, frameworks, and teams. I guess the main phases of the last 14 years have been:

As a Build engineer, I worked on build tools, CI pipelines, autotesting tools and policies, Sony and MS compliance, and a large mishmash of other areas. As a tools engineer I worked on content editors, coders’ and content creators’ development environment tooling, game engines, engine upgrades, language upgrades, and…more huge mishmash of other things. As a Backend engineer, I worked on auth services, ecom backends, on-call rotation tooling, game server configuration tooling, and…yes, further mishmash of other things. Now, stepping away from games, I’m exploring JS and frontend development, which is a whole new can of pickles (“worms” has a negative connotation, and I like pickles a lot), and I’m writing!

I’ve been super fortunate to get to hop around in many different areas and tech stacks. It really seems to be impossible to get bored as an SE when there’s always so much more to learn and discover.

Being self-taught, it took a while to gain confidence as a programmer. I was very fortunate to work with really experienced coders early on and absorb some of their knowledge and (good) practices. Now, I’m still constantly discovering things I don’t know: the more I learn, the less I feel like I know. But I’m fully comfortable with the not knowing, and even when I don’t know something 99% of the time I have a pretty good idea of where to start figuring it out. My favorite problems are the ones where I don’t really know the solution off the top of my head, but know where to start digging.

Anyway, it’s been a really fun 14 years!

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