Get to Know an Alumni Mentor

Timothy Ford ’04

B.S. in computer science

Lead software engineer at Blizzard Entertainment

Tim Ford '04

What was the primary reason you chose your career path?

I’ve wanted to make video games since I was 11. I grew up during an era where games were developed by relatively small teams in which most of the developers were programmers. When the time came for me to apply for college, I chose Computer Science with the hope that it would open the most doors into a game development career. From the beginning of high school through my entire college career, I was making and deconstructing video games. That passion never ceased, and now I get paid for it.

What was the most meaningful takeaway from your UCLA education?

I learned to be self-reliant at UCLA. It is a large school with endless opportunity. But few of those opportunities will be spoon-fed to you. You must seek them out. Get involved in student organizations, meet new people, ask for help!

What is your favorite memory from your time at UCLA?

During my first spring quarter, I started a game development club on campus. Members of the club met monthly to discuss game development, work on game projects and hear presentations from professional video game developers. I have fond memories of meeting with these pros, and giving my peers insight into what life would be like as a game developer. I made several friends through that experience that I still keep today.

What is the best piece of advice you can give to students pursuing a career in your industry?

Always be making games. The barrier to entry to making video games has never been lower; you are one google search away from learning how. If you want a job in this industry, you have to make games on your own. It was true when I started 17 years ago, and it’s true now.

How can students best utilize their mentor as a resource?

Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask questions. I am currently mentoring four students, and I’m always excited when they reach out to me for help and advice. Your mentor is accessible and excited to see you grow; take advantage of that!

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