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Shining the spotlight on Associate Programmer, Tia Ylinen

Tia Ylinen, Associate Programmer at Coconut Lizard
Tia Ylinen, Associate Programmer at Coconut Lizard

I started in my current position as an Associate Programmer at Coconut Lizard in April 2021 and it’s my first ever role in the games industry. I did my undergrad back in Finland in Computer Science, and I remember when I first started studying people were saying that getting into the games industry is extremely difficult and no one actually goes for it. It wasn’t until I started thinking about moving abroad that I realised that there are jobs there, and the doors are open.

So, I moved to the UK in 2020 to do a MSc Computer Games Engineering course at Newcastle University and got this job during my studies. I was fortunate enough to be able to combine the two as I was still working on my dissertation when I started, meaning that I could write about the feature I was building at work as part of it.

What do you do day-to-day?

I’ve got a couple of regular meetings but otherwise it’s pretty much exactly what you’d expect a programmer to do: programming. That usually varies from fixing bugs to adding new features. I’ve worked on tools for about a year now, mainly on the UI side of it, tracking down any issues and sorting them out. I have very recently moved on to gameplay programming and I’m excited to see what that will entail. On top of that I spend a significant part of my day drinking unhealthy amounts of coffee.

Tia Ylinen, Associate Programmer at Coconut Lizard
Tia Ylinen, Associate Programmer at Coconut Lizard

Why Coconut Lizard?

I first heard about Coconut Lizard through a talk at Newcastle University and while the first impression seemed great, I can now say reality is even better. I work with an amazingly friendly and understanding team that’s fun to be around both at work and after it - I feel like everyone always says this, but it really is about the people you work with.

Coconut Lizard also place a high value on their team, which is why I feel heard and that my wellbeing is always a top priority. I can’t imagine finding a better place to work!

Do you have any top tips for people looking to get into the games industry?

I would say being able to provide an interesting, unique portfolio that demonstrates your skills is an essential part of standing out from a huge pile of applications. I think in a way this applies to looking for any job really, stop to think about what makes you different and focus on that.

I’d also recommend attending any events and talks available to you. When looking for a job I found that those were a good source of high-quality tips. Plus, always keep an open mind, because what works out best for you might not have been at all what you had initially imagined.

We're hiring!

Keep a look out for more spotlight features from our team coming soon! In the meantime, why not join Coconut Lizard and come and work with us on some amazing games. To begin your journey take a look at our careers page to see if there is a role that is right for you!

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