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Pratik Chopra
Pratik Chopra

Pratik Chopra

Software Engineer for Games

IGT

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Brief description
I am working at International Game Technology (IGT) as Software Engineer for game development. IGT is world's leading casino gaming company. In past, I have worked with Zynga (facebook social games) and Analatom Inc (USA defense projects). I did my masters in Electrical and Computer Engineering from University of Illinois at Chicago and graduated in Dec 2008, a peak time for US recession.I have been into software industry, past 4 years and looking to have my own startup soon. With an intention to help and inspire individuals looking to get into business of gaming, I have created a facebook page: Indie Game Startup Knowledge and Stories (http://www.facebook.com/world.of.game.business).

Challenge in job
The challenging part of the job is good communication and team work. My job involves working with artists, producer and game designer. Narrowing down from ideally creative game world mechanism to doable interesting game features in specific time is a key to success.
Upcoming Trend
The entry of touch screen phones and social games are the new trends already in place. With the evolution of hardware acceleration in mobile phones and entry of technologies like google fiber, the mobile phones could potentially maximize the user base for both casual gamers and hard-core gamers. Success of gamification could be another potential trend changer.  The change in gambling legal jurisdiction in countries/regions can bring the casino to online world and add another trend change for casino as well social gaming world in that locality. Italy is one such country which recently made online gambling legal.
My point of view
I think, in past 10 years, India has made a good progress to enter into tech industry. Forus Health created a product, 3nethra – An intelligent pre-screening Ophthalmology device, Vishal Gondal founded Indiagames. ArrayShield, Snapdeal, Flipkart, Inmobi are other tech companies. These products/companies may not have a world-wide buzz but these are good tech examples.

I personally feel, in India, investments are more focused on cloning a product with existing commercial hit and fewer investments are made on creative and innovative product ideas. These trends have made it hard to get investments from major Indian investors in India. These investors more likely choose USA over India for innovative products. But with entry of institutions like Startup city, Startup schools and TIE, choosing India for a startup is becoming a more feasible option.

The above stated information has helped me to back-up my own dreams of becoming an entrepreneur. I personally look to move back to India in 2013 and start my own tech startup business.


My goals
I have been frequently involved in various hackathons held in bay area like Google and Facebook hackathon. I have been part of meetups which deal with technology entrepreneurs and startups. I look to use all the information gained and help myself be a CEO and build a profitable tech company by 2015. I am also trying my best to help others to achieve there dreams through the facebook page I already mentioned: Indie Game Startup Knowledge and Stories. (http://www.facebook.com/world.of.game.business).

Advice to professionals
Most important aspect is to be detail oriented, creative and passionate about games.
I grow my creativity and motivation for games by following facebook pages, popular magazines and forums like Gamasutra, Game Informer, pc-games and attending conferences like GDC. Second part is to learn best practices and making use of keyboard shortcuts for your daily routine work which is a key to maximize your productivity. Never feel afraid to ask questions to your seniors even though it might seem like a dumb one. But it is also important to make sure you do not occupy your seniors’ time more than couple hours a week especially during release time being near.

I would recommend to keep yourself motivated by watching inspiring videos or reading motivating articles. Never eliminate outdoor sports or activities due to busy work schedule.  Devoting time to such activities help me stay mentally fresh, less stressed out and thus more productive. Long term success is possible if you do not over-exhaust your brain.


Advice to students
Get a practical feel and touch to your theoretical course knowledge. It is important that students find an internship before they graduate or work on side projects related to their field. This helps to reduce competition and makes life easier to get interview calls. Look for contests and challenges to participate and make your resume strong. Building connections with alumni; and esteemed professor by working on his projects is a vital factor to help get job interviews easily. One page resume with a brief cover letter is a strong move to job hunt. I never took courses in gaming. But, I had worked on side projects and participated in competitions related to gaming and robotics. These projects helped me to get into gaming industry.
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