Describe your journey since leaving Abertay?
I graduated with a first class degree in Computer Games Technology from Abertay in 2013. I was fortunate enough to join the fantastic team at Rockstar North as a Junior Engine Programmer right away. Outside of work I have been involved with IGDA Scotland since receiving an IGDA Scholarship to go to GDC in my 4th year at University. I started volunteering with the Scottish Chapter as soon as I got back and have since joined the Board of Directors and been serving as Chair for the chapter for the past 2 years. I find it really rewarding to work so closely with the fantastic game dev community we have in Scotland to build and strengthen it where we can. I also feel very strongly about bringing more diversity to the games industry and making space for new voices. I have worked with young people, parents, teachers and educational institutions and advocated for a more open and better understood games industry in various capacities - as a CoderDojo mentor, a STEM, Video Games and Women in Games Ambassador or by giving talks at Universities and conferences.
What impact did Abertay have on you?
I loved my time at Abertay! I relished the opportunity to throw myself into learning about all aspects of game development as part of my course and self-study. I enjoyed the challenge and the freedom to explore particular directions I was interested in and I felt like I was in an environment that supported my curiosity. Upon graduating I felt prepared and ready to jump in and start working in the games industry.
I met, made friends with and was inspired by many people. I have built lasting friendships and I even work with some of the people from my Abertay family now. Having plenty of events like game jams or dev meetups on or around campus, bringing together fellow students and local developers impressed upon me an appreciation and love for community building that I now get to practice as the Chair of IGDA Scotland as well as a Women in Games and STEM Ambassador.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don't be afraid to put yourself out there. Go to developer meetups and game jams, especially for students they can provide invaluable experience and connections. Don't doubt your abilities, especially without trying first. Just because something seems scary or difficult, doesn't mean you won't enjoy it or even find that you're good at it. Whatever path you might have envisaged at the start, be ready and flexible to adapt as it will definitely change and that's a good thing. Follow your heart and passion to find what really energises you. It's never too late to start doing something.