Name: Riccardo Camarra
Class Year: 2001
Title: Senior Software Engineer
Organization: GSN Games
1. In one sentence, what does your job entail?
Development of services that provide our players with a persistent and fair online gaming experience.
2. What were you involved in when you were on campus?
I had several jobs during my tenure. Everywhere from food services to professor’s assistant. I was also involved in the push to recognize CS as a minor, working closely with professors on various directed projects once I ran out of actual CS courses to take.
3. What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?
Math was my major, along with a concentration in computer science. As far as how it affected my career decisions, it was probably more the other way around. I already knew I wanted to get into programming from an early age, so my focus had always been on math and CS.
4. What planned and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross? How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you?
My first entry into professional programming actually came during my tenure at HC, and it was very much due to an “unplanned event”. It was the last day of my freshman year and I was handing off my very last final, which just so happened to be for my CS class. The professor’s door was closed, so I slid the take home assignment underneath. I started heading out, being more than ready to start my summer and decompress. Before I got too far though, my professor opened the door and called me over. He said that a local company was partnering with the college in order to offer a summer programming internship, and that he was asked to recommend some of his students. My professor handed me the info and I thanked him for considering me. Though I contemplated throwing out the info into the trash on my way out (I know, but like I said, I was already looking forward to a summer of vegging out!), I quickly realized that this was the opportunity that I had been waiting for. It was a chance to get some real world experience doing what I love, and I couldn’t pass it up. So I went for it, I got the job, and the rest is history. While the internship wasn’t in the video game industry (it was actually a biotech company), it was instrumental, nonetheless, in my personal growth and development as a professional programmer, and ultimately gave me the experience and the confidence that I needed in order to pursue my dream.
5. What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?
Besides the obvious technical math and CS skills that I learned throughout my time there, which are, of course, relevant to any job in the tech industry, Holy Cross taught me many interpersonal and collaborative skills that are just as important in order to advance and succeed. In the video game industry in particular, we are constantly collaborating with others from different disciplines, whether it be art, production, QA, marketing, etc. People with varying backgrounds and experience, working out of offices in different parts of the world, each with their own business culture and practices. As a liberal arts college, Holy Cross exposed me to many different areas aside from my focus on math and technology. That exposure was vital in being able to experience a diverse range of people which encouraged me to keep an open mind and view problem solving from many different perspectives. This skill is essential to what we do. We need to be able to communicate with people on a day to day basis that may not necessarily have the same technical background and mindset, but with whom collaboration is crucial when it comes to solving the complex issues that present themselves throughout the development process.