At My Desk by Jessie (Ze Xi) Chen, Data Analyst

HOW MANY YEARS HAVE YOU WORKED IN THE VIDEO GAME INDUSTRY? 

Since July 2017, so 4 years and counting. 

WHAT IS YOUR ROLE AT SQUARE ENIX MONTRÉAL? 

As a data analyst, I’m responsible for designing most of the tracking in the games.  

After the tracking has been implemented, I take the data from and analyze it. I then create reports and presentations from the data to help guide the team.  

For instance, I help answer questions such as whether the players understood a new feature and whether they’re interacting with the feature in the way we want them to.  

I also help with bug identification, economy balancing, and the like. Data analysts are responsible for a surprisingly large range of tasks. 

WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU WERE 9? 

I wanted to be a manga artist. I was, and still am, really into anime, manga, games, and the like.  

I changed my career aspirations when I found out about the crazy hours manga artists had to work and the variety of health problems they had to deal with. There’s a reason why many go on hiatus due to sickness or die young. 

WHAT IS A TYPICAL DAY OF A DATA ANALYST AT SQUARE ENIX MONTRÉAL?

What I work on depends on where we are in the development cycle.

During the early parts, I’m likely looking at the performance of new features/release. Then, as we reach the mid-point of the development cycle, I start working on new tracking for the features planned for the next major release.

Towards the end of the development cycle, I check if the new tracking is working properly as well as update the relevant configuration files.

I rarely spent an entire day on the same task as I tend to have several tasks in progress at the same time. Meetings would also occur throughout the day. Towards the end of the day, I would usually check in with my intern and see if they had any questions or concerns for me. 

WHAT IS PEOPLE’S BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION ABOUT YOUR ROLE? 

Some people seem to think that analysts just sit in front of their computer all day and don’t interact much with people. 

On the contrary, I talk not only with my team but also with other colleagues often. This helps me get more contextual information about our game and where it’s going. It’s immensely important for better analysis and understanding. As well, I learn so much from some of the best people in the industry. 

WHAT TOP 3 SKILLS DOES IT TAKE TO BE GOOD AT YOUR JOB? 

  • Analytical Mind: A good analyst should enjoy splicing and dicing the data for clues and patterns. They should be able to ask the right questions and answer them with the data.  
  • Good Communication and Interpersonal Skills: Analysts don’t just sit in front of the computer analyzing data and building data models all day. They must communicate constantly with their team to understand what they want and need to know. Analysts must also communicate their findings in a clear and concise manner to drive actions with their findings. Data is useless unless it’s used to make effective decisions. Plus, talking to your team will help you build the context around your analysis, allowing you to piece everything together into the big picture much better. 
  • Love For & Understanding of Gaming: There are many things that make an amazing game which aren’t in the data alone. If you do not understand what the ideal product is, how will you know what’s good and bad? You must understand what our target audience wants before you can make the right suggestions to the dev team. Plus, passion will make your job more fun and help you ask the right questions. 

WHAT IS THE ONE THING ON YOUR DESK YOU COULD NOT LIVE WITHOUT AND WHY? 

My Ikea Riggad LED work lamp. I not only love the colour combination of light wood tones and white but also how practical it is. I can charge my phone wirelessly on the base and use the integrated USB outlet for my desktop USB powered humidifier.  

WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU DO IN THE MORNING BEFORE TURNING ON YOUR COMPUTER? 

Before starting work, I eat breakfast and read the daily chapter update from the novel I’m following. I also complete the daily quests in the mobile RPG game I’m playing. 

HOW WOULD YOU RATE YOUR COFFEE MAKING SKILLS? 

I’m sensitive to caffeine so I don’t drink coffee that often. Instead, I usually make myself a cup of herbal tea, which I’m fairly good at. 

SWEATPANTS WHILE WORKING REMOTE. YAY OR NAY? 

Why not? No one could tell anyhow. I’m more a fan of yoga pants since they allow me to exercise more easily and are usually more colourful than sweatpants. 

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