Skillz Blog

Employee Spotlight: David, QA Automation Specialist

David joined the Skillz team as a contractor in 2016 and was then offered a full-time position not long after. Growing up in El Paso, Texas surrounded by rocks and science-loving parents, David originally wanted to be a paleontologist when he was a young boy. However, as he grew older and explored Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, he soon realized he actually wanted a future filled with creativity and computers instead – so he put down his shovel and picked up a brush.

He went on to attend the University of Texas and The Art Institute of California, studying visual and game programming. He later entered the Quality Assurance field and joined Skillz! David likens his role as an Automation Specialist to that of a nurse. He says, “QA is an engineering discipline that ensures that at least the minimum functionality is being met and overall health of the product is continuing.” In his daily tasks, he tests all of our web portals and anticipates any problems that may occur.

When asked about his favorite aspect of working in QA, he states that he loves getting automation running. The goal is always to test in order to be automated for efficiency, but to get it up and running, you have to take a creative approach.

“It’s challenging, but creative as well.” David explains. “It’s always a challenge to make a program operate like a person – it’s kind of like giving directions to someone. You can say ‘turn right on Culver and left on Washington,’ but what if that person can’t read street signs? You have to find creative ways to deal with these obstacles and look at situations differently.”

David’s favorite part of working at Skillz is being part of a company that is striving to make gaming better. By introducing eSports competitions to mobile games, we are increasing not only developer revenue, but also player engagement and retention. David emphasizes, “The Skillz platform takes a game and makes it so much more exciting. It can even take a game that’s already great and make it into something incredible!”

When asked which video game character he would want to be, David has trouble choosing just one. “I mean, who do you want to be? The long ‘Tetris’ piece? Of course, it’s the most beloved of all tetris pieces,” he debates. “On the other hand, wouldn’t you want to run around freestyle in ‘World of Warcraft’ in a character that you made and customized?” After much thought, he came to the realization that he probably shouldn’t be a “Street Fighter” character because he wouldn’t want to be punched all day. He eventually settled on Pac-Man because “there’s awesome music, you get to eat fresh fruit all the time, and you have a stable marriage and a family.”

A couple of David’s character creations

In addition to his QA prowess, David is also known around the office as the artist behind many of the elaborate drawings and doodles that appear on the floor-to-ceiling whiteboard walls in our conference rooms. He has been creating these fun surprises for his fellow Skillzians ever since the first day he started working here, and says the doodles are art for art’s sake – they are there for people to experience.  

David’s robot creations are taking over the office!

“I think art is a way to instill a feeling or attitude into someone and affect their behavior with a simple exercise. When people go to museums, they may spend only three minutes looking at an installation – but they will forever have that memory and be able to look back fondly on the experience. It’s not a Rembrandt, but even a little doodle can put a smile on someone’s face!”

Some of David’s latest whimsical artwork

If you’re interested in seeing these awesome drawings in person, head over to our
open positions and apply!