We had been looking for a QA manager for a while. Thanks to one of KK’s friends, Jade stopped by Finland to meet her. And, Salla finally joined the BiNAREE team as of August, 2016.
The first impression of Salla was awesome. She is energetic, cheerful and outgoing even though first greetings in new company can be awkward.
Today, I want to introduce Salla to others with a few questions. Here is our conversation.
Vicky : Hi, Salla. First of all, welcome to BiNAREE. I was so excited to hear that you are going to work for us soon! Could you tell me about yourself?
Salla : I’m a fresh-out-of-oven university graduate with a huge passion to become fluent in Korean language and develop myself in the game industry. Luckily for me, BiNAREE has offered me the chance to do both! I am a proud ‘savolaene’ which means that I come from an area in Finland where people talk funnily. I am obsessed about raccoons.
Vicky : Racoons? I am not familiar with them but I can image how fascinated you are about raccoon because of your blog!
Vicky : Back to the topic, I heard you had stayed in Korea before. How is your feeling now that you are back in Korea again after being offered a job?
Salla : I feel like coming back to another home. At first I was sad about leaving Finland because since 2011, I have been constantly moving from place to place so building my social network all over again and again has been exhausting. After I noticed that all my coworkers here are so nice and that my Korean friends were waiting for me here, I am again happy to be here. And of course I get to eat Korean food everyday!
Vicky : Good to hear you consider Korea a second home. I am wondering how you get involved with game industry. Did you like playing games before starting to work as QA?
Salla : A lot! Truthfully, I am more of a PC or a console gamer. I’d classify myself as a mix of midcore and hardcore gamer depending on the game. I love to play RPGs and retro games the most. I also like playing old-school pen & paper RPGs (not Dungeons & Dragons though…)
Vicky : Wow! I can imagine how much you love to play games. then I have to ask, what was the first game you ever played?
Salla : Probably Commander Keen 4 or Doom when my dad got one of his first PCs. I wasn’t really allowed to play Doom because it was too scary for me, but I played secretly anyway and saw nightmares afterwards (sorry dad…)
Vicky : It seems too bloody for kids to play haha. Do you have any other talents than playing games?
Salla : I guess I have some skills in arts and music. I used to be a freelance artist when I was a student. In Korea, I love going to karaoke rooms with my friends. I happen to be a good cook and actually love watching 먹방, Korean cooking and eating broadcasts. I am good at swimming but not like in a competitive way… more like a chubby seal who likes to play in the water and fetch things from the bottom of the pool way.
Vicky : Now, I am starting to wonder, when you were young, what kinds of job did you want to get?
Salla : I wanted to be a dolphin trainer after seeing a dolphin show in a Finnish amusement park. That dream never came true and it’s good that it didn’t because they closed down that place which was the only one in Finland. I would be unemployed now!
Vicky : Haha who knows I would see you at Seaworld in San Fransisco. Then what made you wanna work for a game studio?
Salla : I have known already for some time that I want to work for a creative company. Probably my biggest fear in work-life would be sitting in a confined office space with tidy clothes and doing same things day after day, having an awful boss constantly grilling me. Game industry seems to be pretty far from that and I have completely fallen in love with this industry already.
Vicky : I bet most of the applicants who want to work in the game industry feel the same way. Now, could you tell me about your job position?
Salla : I am a QA manager here in BiNAREE. My job is to basically try to break the game and then have heated discussions about that with the developers. In other words, I test, test and test the game and document my findings.
Vicky : It sounds like a very important task to do before the game is released. What is the good aspect of your job?
Salla : The best part is the interaction with the professionals of different fields. As a QA, I feel like there are chances for personal development as the people I work with are all really good at their jobs. I have a chance to work with the producers, developers, artists, marketing and so on. This is like a bag full of candy! I can and want to learn a lot while I am here.
Vicky : Everything has both sides. What is the most difficult part in QA process?
Salla : Sometimes the work can be tedious. Especially feature testing can get boring when you test the same thing tens or hundreds of times over. I also have to be very precise in my work because it is my responsibility to catch the bugs before the game goes live.
Vicky : Have you had any hard time working in the game industry?
Salla : In 2014, when I joined my previous employer, Rovio, the company was going through rough times and although I loved Rovio, I was constantly worried whether I’d still have a job the next month. I love game industry but it is also a fast-paced industry with extremely high competition, which is why the jobs are not always secure. This is stressful sometimes but I have accepted it as a necessary price I have to pay in order to have a fun job.
Vicky : I have been on the same page and job security is really important for the employees in order for them to focus on their work. Then what kind of games do you want to develop?
Salla : Games that will make people feel the same way as Super Mario feels to many people of my generation. Games you want to go back to again and again even after 20 years because they are just so damn good!
Vicky : Haha BiNAREE also focuses on developing games that are fun to play. What is the first impression of BiNAREE?
Salla : Cool, kind and professional. I am so relieved to notice that BiNAREE indeed is not a typical Korean company with strict dress codes, exhaustingly long hours and forced company dinners.
Vicky : How do you describe “BiNAREE” with one word?
Salla : “Aekamoenen” which is Finnish savo dialect for “quite a thing”
KK, the founder of BiNAREE, wants to build much more diverse employee base. As a conclusion, we have 5 nationalities, including Korea, England, France, United States and Finland. Also, as a core value, BiNAREE gives employees freedom and responsibility and encourages out-of-the-box thinking to find more creative ways to work. KK used to work for Rovio in Finland and had a lot of good memories from that time. That is why he is more than happy to have Salla with us.
We will be better than yesterday to become a ‘Quite a thing’ as she said.