Here at ROBLOX, we love our jobs. Starting as a team of two people in 2005, ROBLOX has since become a haven of web developers, engineers, infrastructure experts, and more, from all walks of life. Since the school season is just beginning, we thought we’d talk to some of those people and have them share their stories, tips and experiences with you.
Dylan Bromley, ROBLOX VP of Client Engineering, taught himself how to program in the eighth grade, after a fascination with video games had taken a hold of him.
“I wrote a game for my ninth grade science fair project,” recalls Bromley. “That’s when I really started to get into science and math.”
After studying computer science in college, Bromley began a career that has since put him in work rooms of some very notable game studios, including Sega, Rockstar, EA, and now, ROBLOX. He worked on some well-known titles, including Midnight Club 3, Star Wars: Battlefront 2, and Bully just to name a few.
Bromley is a firm believer in the power of the internet. He taught himself how to program and write games by utilizing forums like gamedev.net and tutorials online.
“Start now,” says Bromley. “There are so many free tools out there. ROBLOX is a great place to start. There are online communities that will help you with whatever you need.”
Creative Director John Shedletsky had been writing games since he was eight years old, but never really thought of it as a career. In school, Shedletsky studied a wide range of varied topics, including literature, biology, and computer science. During his senior year, Shedletsky and a team of colleagues developed a game for a tablet PC, which came in handy later during his job hunt.
“If you want to be a game developer, don’t get a game development degree,” says Shedletsky. “Get a degree in a computer science. That leaves a lot of doors open.”
Shedletsky continues: “With a computer science degree, they’re not training you to be an infantry soldier. They’re training you to be an officer.”
In 2006, Shedletsky arrived at the ROBLOX offices after being recommended from a former professor. He was able to secure a job by showing off his game that he developed–a method he recommends for anyone looking to get into programming.
“It’s always good to be able to show games that you’ve built,” says Shedletsky. “It’s much easier to make a lasting impression if you have a cool game portfolio.”
Shedletsky mentions that breaking into the programming scene can be tricky, but adds that there are a range of steps you can take to prepare yourself. Making and showing off projects is important, but it’s also important to show that you’ve been tinkering on projects on the side. This shows that you’re constantly working to expand your horizons.
“You have to find ways to distinguish yourself,” says Shedletsky. “They’re interviewing hundreds of people. You’ve got to make an impression.”
22-year old Allen Liu is a recently hired employee who works as a web developer for ROBLOX. He, like many others, developed an interest in computer science and engineering while attending college at the University of California, Irvine, though he hadn’t yet decided what he wanted to do with a degree that leaves tons of options open after graduating.
“When I first started here, my biggest challenge was learning how to do work within our framework,” recalls Liu. “I had to learn to think quickly and stay on my toes. But that’s just it; computer science is always changing, and you’re always learning. You’ll never know everything.”
Learning to handle new and difficult challenges in the fields of computer science and engineering can be difficult, but not impossible. The key, according to Liu, is having a firm grasp on the fundamentals.“Once you understand the basic framework, you start learning pretty quickly,” says Liu.
Since he was hired, Liu has done extensive work on the Group Audit Log, which launched this morning, and the notification system we use to communicate directly with ROBLOX users.
Five years ago, Luke Weber was a ROBLOX power user, building games and places that were very popular among the community. When Weber turned 18, he decided to attend our first ever ROBLOX Convention and ended up having a long conversation with members of our marketing team.
Weeks after the conference, Weber was asked to do some promotional videos for ROBLOX, which he gladly accepted. Then he was asked to come in to do some work once a week. Then twice a week.
The now-19-year-old works in our ROBLOX office, producing gear items and continuing to build places. His persistence and passion for ROBLOX turned into a full blown career, though Weber never loses site of the fact that his job allows him to do what he loves.
“This taught me to not only follow your dreams, but don’t treat your dreams like dreams either,” says Weber. “Treat them like they’re something that’s actually obtainable.”
Since he was hired on September of last year, Weber has been working on scripting and building gear items and promotional-deal-items. His proudest achievement, which is a special gear item, will be released this Friday.
ROBLOX, conceptually, is all about sharing creations that could only exist in our wildest dreams. These four employees, from differing ages, backgrounds, and educations, personify that ideal. We encourage you to dream big with ROBLOX, but never stifle your dreams in real life either. Don’t be afraid to chase your goals fervently, passionately, with vigor and resolve. It pays off.