Alexandru Negoesteanu joined Ubisoft in 2014 as a Game Tester in our Romanian office, in Bucharest. A year ago, he went looking for new opportunities to develop his skills and found himself attracted by the IT department of the Ubisoft’s Romanian office. He joined the IT teams as an Application Analyst Trainee, before moving to a permanent role this spring. We spoke to him to learn more about his career path, what attracted him to IT, and how his professional change impacted him.
Can you tell us more about your journey at Ubisoft? Alexandru Negoesteanu: My first job at Ubisoft - and actually my first job ever! - was in the Testing department at Ubisoft Bucharest… I liked working as a Tester, but after 4 years in this position, I wanted to explore new horizons, and develop my skills. I was really interested in IT, and I knew that our Bucharest office had IT teams so I went looking for opportunities there. I quickly heard about the Application Specialist internship they had, and I thought it would be a great way to enter the IT world. From that moment on, everything moved pretty smoothly: I applied, had a couple of interviews and got the job! At first, let’s be honest, it was a challenge because my previous experience had me working in a very different area of expertise… But, even if it was not easy, I stayed consistent in my work every day to achieve my goals. Actually, I think part of what I like so much about this job is that it’s a constant challenge: I’m always learning and working on a lot of different projects.
Why did you join Ubisoft in the first place? Alexandru: I’ve always been into gaming, and so it played a role in my choice to join Ubisoft. The company also was a great fit for me because it allowed me to work flexible hours and work on my master’s degree on the side. This flexibility and the freedom we have at Ubisoft made me want to stay within the company. I was also very happy to be able to stay in Bucharest, and I loved working with the teams there, so it was great to be able to stay even after my internship.
You studied geography at university but are now working in IT, how did you make the transition? Alexandru: Really different topics, right?! I do have a background in geography, and my master’s was in Geographical Information Systems (typically, you learn how to work with satellite images and analyze them). I think I just went another way with my career because I felt capable of seeking other horizons. I rarely use the geographical skills I picked up at university, but it did teach me to be flexible, to multitask, etc. I also used to translate a lot of English works into Romanian for my studies, and that turned out to be a helpful experience now that I interact with people from all over the world in my day-to-day job!
What did you learn from your previous career as a Tester? Alexandru: It gave me a much better understanding of how video games are made, and of how the industry works! I always wondered about what it took to create a video game and even more so, a AAA game. I had the opportunity to be a tester on some of our most famous licenses like Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry, which was an eye-opening experience! This also helped me for my work in IT, because we also focus on bringing the best game possible to the market and making sure that everything is ready for our players to enjoy it! I think each position here gives better insights, each in their own way, on what it means to create a video game, and what it means to be part of the entertainment industry.
Why did you join the IT department? Alexandru: Well… It’s hard to explain, but I was fascinated with IT topics. As I said before, I wanted to expand my horizon and develop my skills after four years in QC, so I looked into IT, and the more I looked, the more I found positions that interested me. I was also inspired by a friend who works as a developer for Ubisoft IT in Bucharest: I was amazed by his knowledge, and the fact that he was always learning new things in his job. I aspired to do the same thing, and it cemented my decision to join IT! Team members from my former team in the Testing department understood my need to learn new skills and supported me in this transition, which was awesome.
So far, would you say this change has met your expectations? Alexandru: Absolutely! I expected to be able to learn lots of new things and that was absolutely true, almost to a surprising level! Working in IT support allowed me to gain confidence, grow into a new skillset, and challenge myself. I became much better at multi-tasking, but also at making decisions on my own. I also really like that I’m now able to touch on so many projects, it brings a lot of diversity into my work!
How did your Internship experience go?
Alexandru: Really well! I had a very good relationship with my manager who was always friendly and clear: I knew what he expected from me. I can say that I’ve joined a really cool team! I felt fully integrated to the team, and everyone treated me as an equal, which helped me feel valued.
One of the major things that I’ve learned is the importance of letting trainees challenge themselves, letting them go beyond their usual comfort zones: it certainly forced me to overcome my insecurities and overall led me to be able to take the right decision on my own. I felt super proud of what I achieved, and had I not been encouraged to step out of my comfort zone, I wouldn’t have this confidence. This “test & learn” philosophy is great and very fruitful. My manager and my other teammates have pushed me to do things on my own and today I know I can be confident because they trust me; even if I make a mistake, the team knows that we can learn from it. That’s something I really like.
How do you see the future? Alexandru: I’d love to keep growing into my current position! I still have a lot to learn: I want to improve in more technical areas. For example, I would like to, for example learn Java, or SQL (or even both if I can), to be more implicated in the data flow processes because it’s such an important part of my job. I said before that this job gave me the opportunity to speak to team members across Ubisoft, I also hope I get to meet them once the COVID situation is over! I love living in Romania, but I’ve always dreamt of seeing Shanghai andor North America, so hopefully I’ll be able to visit sooner or later!
What’s the favorite part of your job now? Alexandru: I like helping other users, helping the business, and training users. It can seem simple, but I like that I can help someone. When I’m in the position of being a user, I hate to be unable to reach out to someone: we all know it’s always better to have the support team be there directly to guide you and help you. So that’s what I always try to do here: be here for other people. I also do my best to explain how things work: maybe next time they’ll be able to sort the issue on their own, or help someone else!