Alumni Spotlight: Ryan Davidson at Blizzard Entertainment
Ryan Davidson, Denver Lutheran High School grad class of 1997, now works at his dream career as a Lead Project Manager for Blizzard Entertainment.
BY Chris Loesel
What have you been up to since you graduated from Denver Lutheran High?
After graduation, I attended Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA where I received a BFA in Communication with a graphic design emphasis. I graduated in 2001 looking to get into the web design industry. Unfortunately this was right after the dot com bubble popped, so I ended up in the service industry for a few years. After meeting my future wife, I decided to go back to school at the Art Institute of Seattle where I studied Interactive Media Design. During my time there I got an internship with a small advertising agency and was hired after I graduated.
I got married and had two kids in the 10 years I worked at that agency. We went through two acquisitions and I finally left as the Technical Director to come work at my dream company, Blizzard Entertainment. I’ve been at Blizzard for 3+ years now, and am currently a Lead Program Manager working on Overwatch web portfolio.
*Blizzard Entertainment produces games such as World of Warcraft.
What led you to pursue a career in programming?
I was actually an artist first. I was more of a designer and my education is mostly in design. However, I loved making cool designs come to life using code. That’s what got me into engineering. I ended up being hired as a hybrid designer/engineer which is commonly referred to as a Front-End Engineer in the industry.
After working on smaller projects for a year, my workload got so large I needed help. At that point, I started managing other development teams rather than doing all the work myself as an individual contributor. That shift led me to my current career which is program management.
It’s been a huge help in my career having worked as a designer, engineer, and now a program manager. I can speak to or act as any of the three, which has served me well in building solid teams and delivering complex projects.
What are the biggest challenges and rewards you experience in your career?
My internship really did it all for me. As an aspiring artist, I was challenged to create cool stuff, but it had to meet a need of the business. Focusing my work allowed me to grow. I was also passed over for a promotion that I felt I was ready for. That experience again focused me on articulating what I wanted out of my day to day. It eventually lead me to look for my current position at Blizzard Entertainment, a position I never would have explored if I hadn’t reflected after being passed over.
What did you value most about your time as a student at Lutheran High?
The activities. I was able to do do everything, and having a chance to participate in Theatre, Sports, Academics, Arts, and still spend time with my friends and family made my time at Lutheran High some of the best in my life.
How did Lutheran High prepare you for college and your future career?
Again, the access to activities helped me discover what I liked. The first step in success is knowing yourself and what you like. Going into a college environment where you are asked to refine yourself as an adult, going in with such a breadth of experience made that transition much easier.
Are there any particular Lutheran High teachers, coaches or staff members that significantly impacted or influenced your life?
I am having trouble recalling, but my theatre and advance biology teachers were very influential. They challenged me to be more than I was at every opportunity and my growth as a person finds its roots in their life lessons. My passion for marine biology as a hobby persists today.
Is there any advice you would like to offer to the current and future students of Lutheran High?
Try everything. You have a unique opportunity being at Lutheran High to experience things. Don’t limit yourself because as you get older, those opportunities will be fewer and farther between. Now is the time to jump in with both feet and try out the thing that excites but scares you. The activities that challenge you to your core. Put yourself out there because at Lutheran High you are in a safe place. Take advantage of this wonderful time in your life.
Teacher Spotlight: Integrating Faith and History with Mr Doebele
Lutheran High History Teacher Mark Doebele is in his 17th year of teaching. He discusses how faith and history fit together in his curriculum.
Alumni Spotlight: Todd Mueller (DLHS '82) Professional Artist in Texas
Todd Mueller, Denver Lutheran High class of 1982, now lives and works in TX as a full time western bronze sculptor. Read his story here.