Jefferson Qiu is an Insight Analyst at Riot Games. Previously Deputy Engineering Maintenance Manager at SMRT
1) To kickstart, could you share about your current role, what the company does and a bit about your career background?
I am a Data Analyst for the Riot Games Asia Pacific (APAC) office. My main responsibility is to provide insights on Marketing and Publishing activities for Riot Games titles such as VALORANT, League of Legends, Wild Rift, and many more! I was also involved in providing strategic insights on Riot-wide campaigns such as Arcane Netflix Series and even new game launches. So stay tuned as we have many upcoming games in the pipeline!
Previously, I was a Mechanical Engineer at Singapore Mass Rapid Transit (SMRT) for 3.5 years. I was in charge of daily operation of train maintenance on the green and red line (NSEWL). The responsibility spans from leading a team of technicians, planning work shifts, leading incident analysis, to signing off the trains before they were launched.
The main reason for my job switch was the newfound love I have with the data world. Once you are in it, you realize you can build many interesting stories from numbers and statistics. As cliche as it may sound, but basically the sky's the limit.
The shift to be a Data Analyst is something I cherish everyday now, but I have no regrets and even take a lot of pride for ever being a mechanical engineer in my previous life!
2) Can you describe what your typical workday looks like?
I wake up at 6am daily to do a quick meditation before going to the gym from 7-745AM. Once I am back home, wash up, and prepare a simple yogurt with cereal meal. I will start reading emails and Slack messages from the previous day.
Riot Games is a US company with many US-based stakeholders. Naturally, the early morning period is usually hot for grabs due to many meetings/sync-ups with US-based colleagues. I start coding (read: do my actual productive work) only at 10AM-11AM before taking a sumptuous lunch at exactly 12am.
I will then indulge myself in a quick nap for exactly 25 mins (I am still trying to understand what it is about the duration that makes it the optimum nap duration for me!). I will continue my work at about 130pm before having some other meetings with my EU colleagues and ending my day at about 6-7PM.
3) What does personal growth mean to you?
Personal growth to me is about (another cliche alert!) the journey, not the destination itself. It is also not limited to something related to career, but every facet of our lives really! Recently, my fiance and I took up bouldering as a new hobby. We were always the bottom two noobs in the gym, but it is always great to see small steps we made to occasionally complete those crowd gathering routes.
4) Is there a habit you consciously exercise to ensure you achieve your ideal personal growth?
Get a daily checklist! It is easy to start a new positive habit such as reading, exercising, meditating, or starting a new venture, but the HARD part is being disciplined. Having an app or a physical record to track my daily routine is what keeps me going as I feel a small jolt of serotonin boost when I tick the checklist boxes.
5) What does it mean to grow in your career? How do you measure your career growth?
The honest answer is I don’t! What I really care about the most is if I personally grow as an individual. Career growth is often associated with external recognition from our workplace and it is not necessarily aligned with what you want to achieve as a person. In short, try to zoom out and fast forward to meet a future you as a retiree, would you be proud telling him what you are currently doing right now?
6) Aside from your full-time job, is there anything else you like to do outside work?
I recently switched industries to data and it requires me to learn coding and build some machine learning models. I am definitely elated with my new skills and enjoy building some tools/ mini products out of it. The works I did were an android app for my personal use, an analysis on different holy books themes with the help of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) model, and an NFT art generator code to produce multiple pictures based on individual features fed into it.
7) Are there any books, podcasts or apps that have been helpful for your growth?
I have a few depending on the needs/ mood:
Thirty days of lunch [in Bahasa]: on productivity, career, business, and self-development
Endgame with Gita Wirjawan [mixed in Bahasa or in English]: on inspiring stories from thought leaders, trailblazers, and opinion makers
The Craft Podcast [in English]: on how specific craft within tech companies can be so valuable to the individual and company growth
Boz to the Future [in English]: on update on technology development by FB augment reality VP, Andrew Bossworth
8) Any tips you’d like to share for those who are looking to venture into similar roles?
Be curious, speak to as many people in the industry, and learn coding. Data roles spread across a broad spectrum from Business Intelligence (Data Analyst), Data Scientist, Data Engineer, Machine Learning Scientist/ Engineer, and anything in between. Speak to one person from each role not only to understand the skills requirement for the job but also the motivation to work as one. This allows us to have a rough picture of which role will be more suitable for me and start taking up projects to hone your skills.
9) Finally, what is the one quote you always live by?
"Everything that has ever happened and will happen to you is the best thing that can happen to you."
"Work hard, but don’t define yourself by the outcome."
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