Interview with Ryan Toussaint '15

Interview by Howie Rhee '04, with contributions by Vivian Chung. Added May 1, 2015

Tell us about what you studied at Duke and which program you were in?
I was in the Pratt School of Engineering, where I majored in Electrical and Computer Engineering as well as double majored in Computer Science.

Talk about your prior work experience.
Last Summer I interned at Zynga as a Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA. I worked on the FarmVille 2 Franchise, helping develop a feature that was aimed at increasing user-engagement within the game. The summer before that (2013), I interned at Penske Automotive Group and worked on the software development team behind Penske Racing.

How did you come up with a list of companies to target?
The three characteristics that I looked for in employers were: 1) the opportunity to own a product (or piece of the code) and have a sizeable responsibility towards launching it, 2) the chance to learn and further develop my programming skills, and 3) whether I used the company’s product(s) daily.

Anything else you'd like to share with Duke students that are doing their own job search?
During interviews I really tried to grasp what development cycles were like at the company, how big the teams were, and the challenges the company was currently facing -- this gave me a sense towards the company culture. I then thought about my past experiences at Duke, and how they would enable me to add value to these various teams. These factors helped me focus on the companies where I thought I could contribute the most.

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