Living the Dream

Living the Dream

Tomorrow I start at Microsoft. Somewhere around 23 years ago I was first introduced to them with one of their first operating systems, Windows 3.11. I was first introduced to programming when my dad bought me a C++ book when I was 10, back in 2004. I downloaded Dev-C++ and attempted learn how to make programs. I made incredibly simple things but I never really picked up C++. In 2007, when I was 12, an article came up in Boys' Life about XNA Game Studio. Below is the actual article from the magazine. And here's a link as well.

The first game I made was Pong, it's a really simple game, involves really simple math, a perfect first game. From there I made other small games, Present Collect, a game where you try to collect presents that randomly pop up on your screen with the least amount of clicks/taps. I actually released this on the Windows Phone 7 store. My archives say I originally made this in 2009 and released this for phone in 2010 once Windows Phone was actually out.

The final released version had different colored presents. They were all worth the same amount of points though.

During the summer of 2011 I applied for and was one of four people to receive the Class of '48 award from my high school. The award grants you $1,000 to do something during the summer. I went to an iD Tech Camp hosted at Harvard and made It Came From Back Pond, a simple top down zombie shooter running on the Xbox 360. All of these games were made in XNA and C#, both Microsoft products. Looking back it's weird I made this considering my high school was a Quaker school and believed in non-violence.

That's a flamethrower and burning zombies.

The tech camp was in Boston and I ended up liking the city so much that I wanted to go to college in Boston. Northeastern University was offering Computer Science and Game Design majors so I applied, got in, and started learning how to program in a more formal setting. I also started making things that weren't games, like Twixel, an app to watch streams natively on Windows 8. I started working on it in 2014 and released it to the Windows 8 store the same year. Someone apparently wrote a small article about it. This was written in C# and XAML, both Microsoft technologies. I took classes in Racket and Java but C# always was my favorite language, most of my personal projects were written in it.

Back when I played a ton of League of Legends and watched a ton of League of Legends.

At least once someone has told me that I would work at Microsoft one day, and it makes sense, I liked their products and their tech. I used a Windows Phone up until a year ago. I've had a Hotmail email address probably since 2005, I still use the same account to this day. When I was getting ready to graduate college I did apply to Microsoft, I didn't hear back but Amazon did. When I was a kid I used Microsoft products all the time but I probably didn't realize that I could work there one day. When I entered college I thought I was going to make games for a career but along the way I learned that the industry isn't all that great. I learned a lot while at Amazon, working on things I hadn't imagined I'd be doing all those years ago but deep down I still wanted to work at Microsoft.

I got promoted at Amazon earlier this year and I decided it was time to make the move, 6 months of interviewing later I got an offer from not one but two teams. It's been a long journey leading up to tomorrow, a lot of pieces fell into place to make it happen, so many people helped me along the path, and I'm glad I'm here. I wouldn't say working at Microsoft was my childhood dream, like becoming an astronaut or a rock star, but it's pretty damn close. So I'm glad to say, tomorrow I start at Microsoft.