Hoo Qing Yu

SENIOR GAME ENGINEER, LAMBDAMU GAMES

#GIRLPOWER series

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On Being A GAME ENGINEER

“I make mobile games!” declares Qing Yu, who has been involved in game design and development for the past 4 years. She explains how being a game engineer did not mean it was play all the time. “Our office is an open office concept, and we have to communicate with people from many disciplines.”

She goes on to enlighten us on how games are really made, “The usual workflow involves the game designer coming up with the idea for the game, then it goes to the artist who will prepare the visual mock-ups, for the programmers to use and integrate.”

Work-life Balance

“We are lucky - we work from 10am to 7pm, and our company does not support senseless overtime.” Qing Yu shares with us how she juggles her time. However, once in a while, “in our industry, there is a term called 'crunch time', which is when you have to rush to meet a deadline. It’s only during this crunch time where you will work OT," she continues, "in fact, there is an upcoming games convention, so we are in a bit of a rush.” It also helps that she really likes what she does, and Qing Yu really likes games. “Even in my downtime, I play games.”

Challenges along the way

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In Singapore, the prevalent culture is to focus on 'mainstream' subjects. She was lucky to have the opportunity to develop a love for gaming and problem-solving by her 'techie' father. “He created the mastermind game, in the form of numbers. He coded it all by himself, so we had a lot of fun playing that. So I guess this kind of thing started to grow my interest in games.”

As a female, she has had to put in double the effort to convince others that she loves gaming. “You just have to show them that you are just as passionate about games as they are.” Other times, there is also “doubt whether women are as capable as men, so when that happens - keep working. When people see that effort, they will be less prone to feel that doubt.”

Qing Yu has this advice for anyone looking to walk the same road as her, “Know that this is something you have to overcome. If you really like something you are doing, you won’t let this hamper you. You have to believe in yourself.”

Looking to the Future

Qing Yu reflects that she loves problem-solving, which was what got her involved in programming in the first place. Working in the game industry has changed the way she looked at games. “I tend to look at it in a more analytical, critical way.” she muses, “I would look at a game and think about how can I make it nicer or better. And what effect a certain feature has on the overall game.”

She wants to tell the younger generation of girls who are interested in gaming like her, "If you’re interested in puzzle-solving, and if you’re okay with math and logic, then you can start by following some tutorials to make your own games." Indeed, compared to 10 years ago, there are now a lot more free resources available online to help anyone start exploring code and game development.

October 2016

Robin Kwok

Head of Business Operations & Strategy, APAC of Airbnb

#GIRLPOWER series

ACADEMICs

“I loved programming. Every time I finished a project, I was always waiting for another project to work on,” says Kwok. She shared that her first project involved learning code in C++. As she continued her studies in programming, she learned that she loved working in a lab, working with other engineers. “I got the best of both worlds: learning software and hardware knowledge.”

In her career, she soon noticed that she had become “the technical go-to person for customers .” She also expressed that “seeing the end consumer product is the most gratifying feeling one can have.”

ROAD TO AIRBNB

Robin's first encounter with AirBnB was when she rented a tent on the the platform over Christmas holidays in Puerto Rice. The tent from Airbnb far exceeded her expectations: the host provided a memory foam mattress, clean pillows, flashlights and soaps. “I fell asleep under the stars, and woke up by the water every day. I ended extending my trip from 2 days to a whole week!”

During her time on the beach, Robin reflected on her life and decided to apply for a job at AirBnB.  “I got denied when I first applied," Robin shares, "but after a few months, they had a position that they thought I’d be a good fit for. The only catch was that it was based in Singapore. I got the job and haven’t looked back since!”

CHALLENGES ALONG THE WAY

Robin felt that due to the unequal ratio of males to females in the industry, she had to find new ways to build trust in teams and figure out ways to work with others from various backgrounds.

The low representation of females was prevalent in college as well, according to Robin. “While I was in engineering in college I was one of about four girls in electrical engineering. Again, when I started working the technical field it was very common for me to be one woman in a room full of 40 men."

Now she prides herself on being unique in a predominantly male industry, comparing her career success to her experience learning soccer: “No one will pass you the ball. But if you ask for it and you show that you’re committed to getting better at the game, they will start passing you the ball. They start to see as part of the team.”

WORDS OF WISDOM

If you’re ever unsure about something", says Robin, "go ahead and try it. It’s better to try something than to always wonder what if.”

Her message is loud and clear: females should go forth and explore technical subjects like engineering, emphasising that her technical understanding helps her make business decisions, ability to analyse data and more.

Robin also expressed that the importance of giving young girls exposure to areas they be deterred from testing out. “Test it out, build up the confidence, be unique in it—leverage your uniqueness!”

ROBIN'S SECRETS TO SUCCESS

  • Be present: “In a world where we are constantly distracted by noise, be present! Be present in every conversation and have no regrets.”
  • Be self-aware: “I’m constantly self-reflecting, walking through the steps of my decisions.”
  • Look for inspiration “Inspiration is found everywhere you go. I’ll meet someone and be inspired by him or her. My best sources of inspiration are at the airport!”
  • Embrace change: “I welcome change and I really believe change is inevitable for growth. I’m constantly reflecting to see where I can work on opportunities and build my strengths and passions.”

May 2016