From Zero to Developer Hero… Hopefully. An (imaginary) interview with Oprah.

DISCLAIMER: Due to the unprecedented circumstances due to COVID-19, this imaginary interview was not filmed in front of a live studio audience.

Imaginary Interviewer (Oprah Winfrey): Sooooo! Today I have joining me a hopeful soul. Yes! We have with us today, Ryan Yamura! *pause for applause*

Me: *Waves meekly* Hoi.

Oprah: Ryan is a brand new intern at GameDevHQ, in a program called the Aloha Connects Innovation or the ACI. What can you tell us about this little program?

Me: Well… the ACI is actually a new initiative led by the Economic Development Alliance of Hawaii. It was designed to serve displaced workers due to the COVID-19 impact, but also for recent college and high school graduates as well. The program encourages the fostering of skills that are in innovative sectors of a non-tourism base in Hawaii. Fields such as clean energy, local food production, aquaculture, natural resource management, technology and cyber security, just to name a few.

Oprah: That sounds wonderful! Doesn’t that sound so great folks? *pause for applause* Now, tell me Ry, do you mind if I call you Ry?

Me: Well actual —

Oprah: Great! Now, tell me, Ry, what exactly are you doing in this program? Why have you joined it, whats YOUR story?

Me: 2020 has been QUITE the year, to put it lightly. *Looks around at studio audience for nodding and smiling, only to realize its empty* Right…anyways, like many other Americans, the pandemic has displaced countless workers. A majority of them have been affected, whether by layoffs, furloughs, some even having to leave a job in fear of safety for high risk individuals, or their family members.

Oprah: *Nods solemnly to camera*

Me: But no place quite as uniquely impacted as the State of Hawaii. As you may or may not know, our island state depends a lot on the economic success that tourists provide. The unprecedented virus essentially shut down the tourism industry, now for nearly 7 whole months. Did you know, in April of 2020 nearly 30% of the workforce filed for unemployment in Hawaii? A stark and sobering reality — over 10% MORE than the national average in the rest of the United States. I, was unfortunately part of that 30%. I worked in the service and hospitality industries, was furloughed, and recently laid off from my very own job.

Oprah: Were you a bartender? I must tell you, I have the BEST recipe for a Moscow Mule, its my absolute favorite drink! The ginger beer goes SO well with the lime —

Me: *blinks at Oprah*

Oprah: *blinks back*

Me: *wan smile* But yes, anyways, Op, you don’t mind if I call you Op, right?

Oprah: I actual —

Me: Great! So Op, I was accepted into this program as a Gaming Software Developer, or so I hope to be once the program is over. This amazing programs has such passionate and caring individuals running it. It’s something I never saw myself being able to study and achieve. Life takes you in so many different directions, going with the flow was and is, necessary, in some cases. I’m lucky to be able to not only be afforded this rare opportunity to pursue a skill set and career that I’m not just excited to learn, but to be among others who share the passion, innovation and creativity needed to succeed in an ever advancing field.

Oprah: So, like angry birds right?

Me: Uh, yeah, kinda like angry birds? But, SO. MUCH. MORE. I don’ think people realize what kind of potential and applications a gaming software developer can do. If you can think it, you can actually create it. This includes purpose outside the realm of what you think of when you hear the word “games”, for what is information tracking, trend setting, health monitoring but information to be input and processed into a result that would be useful to you? It’s the same concept as a game. Taking data from calculation to see how much damage you do, or what types of patterns make super juicy candy crush combos. The possibilities are endless. And though I have no professional experience in the field, hope I can do it and be completely job ready in approximately… 70 ish days? *nervous laugh*

Oprah: 70 days?! Wow folks! that seems like quite the task to learn everything you were just talking about in JUST 70 days?! I have things in my freezer that’s older than 70 days!

Me: *pulls at collar* ehehe…

Oprah: Well folks! Do YOU think he can do it? Do YOU think that you could do it?!

Me: Despite this seemingly insurmountable task ahead. *pauses, gulps* I’m not alone. The leaders and other interns have been so welcoming and helpful in just the first day. I feel already, more prepared as we delved right into tools such as Unity and GitHub, both platforms I have never touched before and find both fun and interesting now, and can’t wait to see what I and my fellow interns can come up with. And I do encourage anyone else out there that shares a passion for the gaming industry — or any other of the industries I mentioned today in the ACI, to get out there and apply! This is such a unicorn of an opportunity for anyone, I’m feel just so lucky I found it when I did, and so eternally grateful for it.

Oprah: Well you heard the man, get out there and apply! You get an internship, you get an internship, you ALL get an internship!! *manic laughing*

INTERNSHIPS FOR ALL!

*Popular K-pop song starts playing in studio*

Oprah: *Calms down a bit* What — what’s that song?!

Me: Op, uh, Gangnam Style?

It was actually Dynamite. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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