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#MEETIRONGALAXY - Austin Wang - Software Engineer

05/02/2023   •   Written By Thomas Braaksma

An internship can begin a journey to the workforce. At Iron Galaxy, we foster internships that provide an education in making games to prepare young minds for what they’ll encounter in our industry.

In this interview series, we speak with the people behind the scenes of your favorite games. Today we are speaking with Austin Wang, an Iron Galaxy intern that will be starting her full-time employment with us as a Software Engineer in Nashville later this year. Let’s see what Austin has been up to so far with her time at Iron Galaxy.

Iron Galaxy: Who are you and what would you say you do here at Iron Galaxy?

Austin Wang: My name is Austin. I am an America-born Chinese. I spent most of my time in China before returning to the U.S. at the beginning of high school. I started at Iron Galaxy as a software engineering intern in Summer 2022. I have been working part-time the past few months but will be a full-time software engineer here in August 2023.

IG: Congratulations on landing a job with IG. We’re excited to have you. What’s been the most challenging aspect of your work so far?

AW: Every now and then, I come across an incredibly complex technical problem. I found myself frequently hunkering down and trying to solve them by myself, but I have learned that it is sometimes more efficient to ask people who have done this longer for help. I would say that the most challenging aspect for me personally is to remember that help is always available.

IG: Help will always be given to those who ask. What skill have you learned growing up that you’ve been able to use the most in your role?

AW: I would say it is the skill of listening with the intent to understand and not with the intent to reply.

IG: Valuing the speaker’s perspective is a great learning tool. How collaborative is your work with different teams across Iron Galaxy?

AW: I would say this depends on the project you are deployed on. Back when I was on the Rumbleverse UI team, I was in contact with people from the art team and production team daily. I often needed to talk to engineers from other teams such as gameplay and networks. The past few months I have been working on an internal tool by myself, so there isn’t much cross-team collaboration (well, I do talk to myself if that counts).

IG: Collaborating with oneself is a job within itself. How is the work you’ve done at IG unique compared to the other roles in our company.

AW: I don’t think I’m qualified to talk about what being a full-time software engineer is like yet, so I will talk about being an intern. In the beginning, we were mostly doing structured learning put together by other IG engineers. Afterwards, the interns teamed up and did a game jam. I think this kind of onboarding process is a bit unique. I know that we do have internal game jams, just not typically during onboarding.

IG: What has been your proudest moment as a member of the Iron Galaxy team?

AW: So far, my proudest moment has been when I showed my mom my name in the credits of Rumbleverse. She was visiting me for my birthday. I never imagined that I would be able see my own name in the credits of a commercial game so early in my career, let alone show it to the people I love.

IG: That’s a popular answer from a lot of the Rumbleverse team. What is the most rewarding aspect of creating things that other people experience?

AW: Seeing the same joy we experienced creating our games exhibited on others’ faces on livestreams and from other streamers is very rewarding. It makes me appreciate how video games bring people from all walks of life together. I think there is a beautiful sense of oneness.

IG: There really was. If you give someone who wanted to follow in your career footsteps one piece of advice, what would it be?

AW: Research is good and all, but it can become a rabbit hole. Sometimes, it is more rewarding to simply start executing it. Say you want to see what making a video game is all about. Don’t feel compelled to learn everything there is about the trade. Just boot up a game engine you’re interested in and start tinkering with it. You will learn much more by getting your hands dirty.

IG: Fall, dust yourself off, and try again. What is the best thing about working at a video game development company?

AW: You get to meet so many people with the same passion for video games!

IG: You certainly do. What is your favorite perk associated with your job?

AW: I love the educational resources available to us, such as the GDC Vault and talks presented by other IG folks. To be successful at being a software engineer, it is important to always keep learning, and I am grateful that IG provides us the resources to do so.

IG: There is an air of always being able to learn more here. What is the best impact you’ve ever seen a video game have on someone’s life?

AW: I read somewhere that playing a video game with a protagonist of sexual minority helped someone overcome their prejudice over sexual minority groups. It made me realize that interactive media is a powerful medium which by nature compels the players to put themselves in other people’s shoes, and this power has immense potential to be used for good.

IG: Inclusivity in games can really have an amazing impact. Aside from playing video games, what is a favorite hobby of yours?

AW: I have a lot of hobbies, but my main ones are guitar and gunpla (Gundam plastic models )! Playing fingerstyle guitar calms me down, and making gunpla is very therapeutic to me.

IG: Very hands on and detailed oriented. What is something you feel everyone must do once in their life?

AW: I think everyone should be able to go off-the-grid for a period of time at least once in their life.

IG: Going dark! If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would you choose?

AW: Sushi. I absolutely love sea food, and I am the type to eat the same kind of food for months, so I can see myself just eating sushi for the rest of my life. Though there is the concern of mercury poisoning, so I’m not sure if that’s a healthy thing to do.

IG: What is your favorite travel destination that you have visited?

AW: The most memorable one was Australia. My parents and I stayed at a farm where we petted alpacas, little goats, and ponies.

IG: What is one place that you hope to see one day?

AW: I hope to visit Mars! My ultimate dream ever since I was little was to live on Mars.

IG: That’s a far-out answer. What is one genre of games that you think is underrated?

AW: I enjoy tactical RPG very much. It’s not a particularly mainstream genre, but I think it deserves more love.

IG: What is your favorite book or series?

AW: I adore Margaret Atwood’s writing. I absolutely love The Handmaid’s Tale and its sequel The Testament.

IG: What game have you spent the most time playing?

AW: On Switch, Fire Emblem Three Houses and Fire Emblem Engage. On PlayStation, Persona 5 and Persona 5 Royal. On PC, Dragon Age.

IG: All great choices to get lost in. What movie have you seen the most times?

AW: I honestly can’t recall. But if I were to guess, I’d say it’s Léon: The Professional.

IG: What has been your favorite series binge?

AW: Mobile Suit Gundam. I’m currently going through all the anime series.

IG: What is the one superpower that you would like to have?

AW: Telekinesis. Sometimes I really just want to get a cup of water that is sitting on the kitchen counter while gaming on the couch…

IG: Professor X that glass of water to the couch! You get one wish. You can’t wish for more wishes. What do you wish for?

AW: I wish everyone in my family could live the life they want without worries.

IG: Given a time machine, which historical period would you like to experience first-hand?

AW: I would like to experience the beginning of the internet first-hand. There is just so much potential waiting to be explored around that time. Though I don’t think it would have worked out because I wasn’t even born then.

IG: You didn’t miss much. It would have taken this interview a number of minutes to download. What fictional universe would you choose over our own? What if there was no coming back?

AW: I would like to experience a Gundam universe and pilot mobile suits, even if it means there is no coming back.

IG: A very Gundam themed interview! If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, who would you invite?

AW: Immanuel Kant. His philosophy fascinates me to no end, and I would love the opportunity to peek at what I consider to be the most interesting mind.

IG: As Kant would say “Do the right thing because it is right” and this interview felt very right. Thank you, Austin, for taking the time to sit down and talk about your work at Iron Galaxy and yourself. Once again congratulations on the success of your internship and we look forward to you joining us full-time in the fall.

Find yourself interested in applying to IG? Our Recruitment Team is hard at work evaluating applications submitted on our Careers page. See a good fit? Apply!