Current Job: Network Test Ninja
Origin: Little Seattle - AKA Portland
Blood Type: Tomatillo
Weight: Won't Fix
Girth: By Design
First Job: Old Navy
Hobby: Using my wife to justify watching Bravo
Ultimate Halo Match: CSG Racers on CSG Sandtrap (see my file share!)
Ultimate Snack: Mexi-Melts
Ultimate Website: NSFW
Mode of Transport: Walking on the backs of the fallen. Or a Mini Cooper.
Fake Weapon: Steel Magnolia: A shotgun with 4 maulers taped to the barrel. Credit to Justin L for inventing.
Bungie - Classified
After watching the documentary "Grandma's Boy," I knew I wanted to be tester. I quickly learned all I needed to know about the game industry from late night tv commercials for "learn from home" game design schools. I even knew how to use insider phrases like "you need to tighten up the graphics on level 3." Despite my obvious mastery of all things game-related, my parents insisted that I go to college, so I did! After graduating, I moved to Seattle and got a random call to do contract work testing Halo 3. I slipped $5 into a Hallmark card and handed it to my interviewer to ensure a job offer. The $5 worked, and as a result I've happily toiled away on the MP test team for the past 2 years until recently switching to full-time. Thanks to Verteckz.
Interview with Bungie
Clear and concise, Nick Gerrone, Software Test Engineer for Bungie, doesn't deviate from the path and gets straight to the point for this week's Breaking In. With surgical precision, he speaks out about the importance of getting an early start, maintaining your patience, and talks a little about taming a terrible lizard. Wanna know what in the world we're talking about? Read on for details.
Q. Who are you and what do you do?
A. I am Nick Gerrone and I’m a Software Test Engineer, which means I break stuff for a living. I’m here to verify that things work correctly but in reality, my mind is constantly thinking up ways I can justify marking “FAIL” on each test case I run/write.
Q. In your downtime, when your mind isn't thinking about that four-letter "FAIL" word and breaking stuff, what do you choose to occupy your Grey matter with?
A. Gaming and my wife, Jessica (one is an interest, the other is an inspiration). I’m also inspired by the tears of the engineers. Testers are sustained by those.
Q. Yummy, delicious tears and loving inspiration. What were you inspired to be when you were coming up? Or, "When I grow up, I want to be…"
A. ...a cyber-ninja who rides a rabid tyrannosaurus. Now that I’m grown up I know that’s crazy. The insurance rates would be astronomical.
Q. Hmm, yes...insurance. How about those High School aptitude tests? Did the final analysis suggest you pursue some crazy careers?
A. Those tests are full of lies! They told me I should be a politician. If I were a counselor, I’d just base suggested career goals off of whatever alignment people chose in Neverwinter Nights. I was Chaotic Good.
Q. Beatific. Did you go on to earn a college degree?
A. Yes, sir. I received a B.A. in Theater Arts from the illustrious Gonzaga University, located in the somewhat less illustrious Spokane, WA.
Q. You're going to get contacted by angry forum members from Spokane now. How did you first make contact with Bungie?
A. As is usually the case with businesses shrouded in mystery, I didn’t contact them, they contacted me…through a contracting agency. The agency was also shrouded in mystery.
Q. Sounds quite mysterious. What did you bring with you to the interview loop, or is that a closely guarded secret?
A. My entire tenure as a contractor served as my interview loop, so I’m sort of an exception to the rule. If I had officially interviewed, I would have brought a change of clothes for all the sweating after the dance-off.
In all seriousness, the best thing to bring is knowledge, passion, and a good attitude. These are the things that all Bungie employees have in common, even us soulless Test Engineers. That said, there’s something I want to address. People often say that test is a good way to get your foot in the door in this industry. While that is true, it doesn’t mean that the bar is lower for whom we’ll hire on as a tester. I started out as a contractor here and worked hard every day to prove how much I wanted to be a Bungie Employee, and how much I loved being in Test. A good tester loves what he/she does, and it needs to show with every test they run and every bug they write.
Q. There's that "passion" word again. It's seems to keep cropping up in all our Breaking In interviews. Any one remarkable moment in time at Bungie that crops up in your own memory?
A. Crunch for Halo 3 was pretty incredible. I was a contractor at that time. The hours were unrelenting and we no longer recognized weekends, yet I was excited to go to work every morning. I’ve never felt that way about a job before. To top it off, when we finally went gold, one of my co-workers walked into the lab I had hijacked with a glass full of alcohol and glowing blue ice-cubes. It was the official celebratory drink of Halo 3 ship. He called it a Plasma Grenade. It’s that sort unapologetic geekiness that makes Bungie my second family.
Q. Plasma Grenades and geekiness aside, describe what it’s like to work at Bungie in just one sentence.
A. It’s like being a cyber-ninja riding a rabid tyrannosaurus.
Q. Any advice for aspiring applicants who might want to saddle up and try a robotic, shuriken-clasping hand at the dinosaur rodeo?
A. Have patience. Bungie is not the first stop for everyone. Make sure, whatever you do, that your passion for your chosen path shows. Also, start as early as you can! This is a great way to get your feet wet in the industry and really shows your dedication. Thanks to Verteckz.----