On Monday, April 12th as nearly 1,000 participants started their fifth week of course instruction, we hosted our sixth Town Hall with guest speaker David Ortiz, CEO and Founder of SimWin Sports, which develops groundbreaking experiences at the intersection of fantasy sports, sports betting, and E-sports.
David, also a Reskill Americans advisory board member, shared how he launched his career in software development with a testing internship at Atari while he was still in college, ultimately accepting his first salaried position with Atari at 19 years old. David joined Microsoft as the company was building Xbox in 2000, and he was the first person they hired with the tile game designer. He spoke about his long career in the video gaming and gaming industry, which includes jobs with EA Sports, Sony, Warner Brothers, and Abu Dhabi Media.
“One of the things I like most about working in this industry,” said David, “Is that if you’ve done a good job building something (a game), people are going to bond over it, spend time on it, and use it as their social outlet.”
David said that what’s exciting to him is that now, more than ever, there’s a need for a more diverse set of voices creating games. “This brings different experiences and perspectives, and that’s an amazing thing,” he said.
“If you’re looking to come into the game space, now is the best time,” he said. Once you learn a few of the key skills (like Unreal or Unity), “then you can contribute to a team right away, and will have a skillset that is universally sought after.” When interviewing candidates, David often looks for people who have built something on their own, as a side passion project.