From alpha to beta: How one Ubisofter went from co-op to permanent
Monday, July 23, 2018
We recently sat down with Robert Tracey to learn about his co-op experience at Ubisoft's Halifax office. He gave us insight into how he applied for and got his position, and what projects he had the opportunity to work on.
Q: Where are you originally from, and what is your educational background?
A: I’m originally from Happy Valley – Goose Bay, Labrador, but moved to Halifax in 2011. I have a Bachelor of Arts (’11) in Theatre from Bishop’s University (Lennoxville, QC) and a Bachelor of Computer Science (’17) from Dalhousie.
Q: How did you get involved with Ubisoft?
A: I was hired on to work at the studio in 2016 as part of Dalhousie’s Co-op program. It was my first Co-op term, and I had around a dozen work interviews. Ubisoft really stood out as a fun and welcoming work environment where I’d get to be part of some interesting projects.
Q: What types of projects are you working on at Ubisoft? Is this the kind of project you wanted to be working on?
A: As a generalist programmer, I’ve really run the gamut of projects since starting here. We’ve got a great Technical Director who encourages the programming team to develop experience in a number of fields. I’ve gotten to work on graphics, gameplay, data analytics, networking, and was even programming lead for a small project team. The experience has been excellent for my development as a programmer, and I really appreciate the opportunities to diversify my skillset.
Q: What types of skill sets do you bring to your work? Specific programming, that kind of thing?
A: Programming, of course, is an important skillset, and Dalhousie was a great school for developing those skills. But Ubisoft is part of a creative industry, so my background in the Arts is also a boon when working directly with the studio’s artists and designers. Everyone here, no matter which discipline, gets to regularly flex their creativity in some manner. It’s a highly collaborative environment.
Q: What’s the best part of working at Ubisoft?
A: At the risk of sounding cheesy, I have to say it’s the people who work here. Making a video game requires a large number of disciplines: art, programming, design. You get to see a lot of talented people working in their respective fields. Each discipline brings a fresh perspective to the games we make, and it’s that collaboration, that melding of disciplines, that makes it fun to work here.
Q: What’s the best part of living and working in Halifax?
A: Halifax is the best kind of city. It’s small enough that you keep running into people you know. But it’s also big enough that there is always an interesting event or activity on the go. With a low cost of living and access to an international airport, Halifax is also a perfect home base for those who love to travel.
Q: Describe working at Ubisoft Halifax to me like you were trying to convince a friend to work there.
A: If you’re looking for a job that isn’t just programming - where you get to collaborate and participate on a daily basis – this is the place to work. The people are incredibly talented and passionate about the games they make. The work is challenging and rewarding, and there are plenty of opportunities to progress your career. And the harbour view doesn’t hurt.