New Grad Q&A: Tayler Hopko

Thank you for checking out our New Grad Q&A Series highlighting our EA Scholarship winners – in this final installment we hear from Tayler Hopko of EA SPORTS who has contributed to the user experience team at EA Canada.

We can’t wait to see what these New Grads do in the years to come as they build their careers at EA and look forward to meeting the next group of Scholarship winners for the summer of 2013!

How did you find out that you would be receiving a scholarship?

I received a phone call from Andrew Wilson [head of EA SPORTS] where he congratulated me for agreeing to join the EA SPORTS team full-time once I graduate - you can imagine my surprise when he also congratulated me for winning one of the EA scholarships!

How will receiving the scholarship impact your life?

This scholarship is going to be a huge help in finishing off my degree. The life of a student is unfortunately expensive, but now I don't need to worry about getting a part-time job during my last terms at school - I can instead focus on my studies, which is especially important now that my classes are the most difficult ones yet. Plus, all the contacts I've made throughout the scholarship process are sure to pay off throughout my career.

What was the most valuable part of your EA internship?

Meeting new people. There's a huge number of people to get to know in the industry, especially at a large company like EA. I made many friends and connections at the EA Canada studio where I spent my term, as well as the Tiburon studio in Orlando, Florida and the Redwood Shores studio in California.

What has surprised you the most about working at EA?

The amount of flexibility and latitude people are given when it comes to their jobs. People are encouraged to not just specialize in one particular area, but to always be learning about something new and interesting. A job title doesn't tie you down here like it does elsewhere.

What are you working on now and what's your favorite part of the job?

I'm working on the Core Tech UI team. We provide front end tech stacks and frameworks to other teams, as well as providing training and design advice. In other words, we help game teams deliver great user experiences (which basically sums up my favorite part of the job!) It's a great feeling to work on something with such a definite impact on the final quality of a game.

Tell us about your career aspirations.

In the short term, I want to focus on getting to know the ins and outs of the video game industry, so I have a better view of the entire process. Eventually, I think I'd like to take on more of a mentoring role - I love being able to teach people things, and to play a part in figuring out the best way to go about doing something. It's all about efficiency!

What lessons have you learned since joining the team?

When it comes to software development, communication is more important than you can possibly imagine. It's important that everyone involved in a project knows everything they need to know, and the faster this happens, the faster everything gets done. Make your product known, and make sure people know what you're doing to make it even better.

As a new graduate, what do you think you bring to the table that may be different than a veteran?

It may be a cliché by this point, but fresh blood really does tend to bring new ideas. This can apply to almost anything - workflows, user experiences, coding standards, development frameworks...I'll be doing my part in making sure we're always exploring new ideas!


Interested in learning more about EA's University Relations? Follow the team on Twitter at https://twitter.com/URinTheGame. And be sure to check out the other Q&A's in this series here and here.