COFFEE CATCH UPS - SCOTT CABOT
Updated: Jan 29
website : https://medium.com/@thescottcabs
Scott is an award winning software developer at Head Full of Heart . His passion for gaming is contagious – and if you want to have an educated conversation about the business of gaming, you must grab him for a chat!
I recently sat down with Scott to discuss his upcoming talk at DDD Adelaide on 23 November 2019. We talked his passion for gaming and how it led him into a traditional tech career, his predictions for the future of software development and a sneak preview of his talk.
First things first – best coffee shops and what are you drinking?
I can’t go past La Moka – it’s right next to the Head Full of Heart Offices at The Hub and their coffee is addictive. If I’m buying my own coffee, I like to visit The Grind @ Central in the Central Markets. Today I’m drinking a Piccolo.
Tell me about your path into the tech industry?
Like many people my age I grew up with video games being a defining part of my childhood. However, through my teenage years many adults in my life told me gaming would be just another ‘phase’ that I would grow out of. It wasn’t until my mid-twenties where I realised that my passion wasn’t going away, so I enrolled at Flinders University with the goal to make games and digital experiences for a living.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have people looking out for me through the formative years of my study and career. I’ve been able to leverage opportunities to start my own business, work as a full-time permanent employee in games in South Australia (one of the lucky handful of people who have had this opportunity) and now learning new skills as a Full Stack Developer.
What are you most excited about when it comes to the future direction of your field?
As building technology becomes more democratised and the barrier to entry becomes lower, we are seeing an explosion of new voices and identities questioning how and why we make the products we do as an industry. This is particularly evident in games - but I draw lots of parallels in Front End development where the community is rapidly changing.
While there is no doubt that Full Stack technologies will continue to evolve, I look forward to seeing how communities will shape the way we use those technologies. How do we make technology more accessible for both creators and consumers? How we do use our technologies in socially conscious ways while still taking advantage of modern tooling and processes? How will we as a community of developers shape the next wave of technological improvements?
What career advice would you give your 18 year old self?
To start working on my own games early on, to get into modding and join development communities. I personally think I was fortunate to wait to go to University when I did. At 18 I don’t think I would have had the persistence to see that through, not to my Honours. At times I regret having less industry experience than peers my age, but I also wouldn’t be here if I rushed my decision.
What advice would you give 18 year old’ currently considering a career in IT or Gaming?
To any other 18-year old’s who may be reading and want to get into games I would strongly advocate in doing a traditional IT degree and use any opportunity you can to apply those skills to games or game development. My career has changed drastically over the last 3 years and having a less generalised degree would have made it much harder to apply for roles, such as my current one. It will also give you enough foundational knowledge to feel comfortable applying for roles that may not have been your core focus at University.
How do you think tech jobs will change over the next decade?
A mentor of mine recently postulated that pure programmers in Australia will become a dying breed because of their relative costs compared to the rest of the world. We are already seeing companies invest in global talent with their employees working remotely. Hours are becoming more flexible as a result, despite the long hours often associated with working in the tech industry.
I think that for the next generation of programmers coming up behind me in Australia the bar will be set even higher than it currently is. In a role such as mine a programmer not only needs to be technically proficient but must be able to see the big picture. They need to be able to provide value to the team and customer, not just follow requirements documents, because the latter is so much easier to outsource.
Can you tell us a little about your talk “Making gaming accessible: Leveraging cloud services to build games everyone can play" at DDD?
Earlier this year I was inspired by a video game I was playing as well as some discourse online discussing accessibility in games. I found it interesting that accessibility conversation seemed to keep re-treading only a small portion of the accessibility space. There also wasn’t discussion about how hard these solutions were to implement. How much work, money, or both, would it take me as a solo developer to make my games accessible? When could I be selfish and say that it was just too much work for too few people?
I decided to use the implementation of text-to-speech for menu accessibility as a good microcosm of this process. It was extremely fun and rewarding to implement so I wanted to share my experiences, learnings and the general principles behind applying accessibility into games.
What are the key takeaways from your talk?
• Game Design 101
• What we mean when we talk accessibility
• Accessibility is good for everyone
• It’s easier (and cheaper) than you think!
Which talk are you most looking forward to at DDD Adelaide?
I really liked the format of DDD Adelaide and voting for the talks you specifically wanted to see. I felt like I had some ownership over the process and seeing some talks get in that I selected made it feel like the conference was picked just for me. The 3pm time slot is my favourite and the one that I can’t decide between both talks. As someone who believes in making software accessible Jess Budd’s talk looks like something I would get a lot out of. As someone who loves to know how things work Ashley Mannix’s deep dive into the .NET runtime is super compelling. I’m happy to receive bribes on the day if it helps finalise my decision! Otherwise I am looking forward to supporting my other Adelaide speakers by going to their talks and learning something new from my peers.
Scott is presenting at DDD Adelaide is on 23 November 2019 at MOD. Tickets are available now at www.dddadelaide.com/tickets
Encode Talent (www.encodetalent.com.au) is proud to be the coffee cart sponsor of this event.