“Hero” Engineer

Photograph of David CzarneckiIn November, students had the chance to meet an engineer who works on some of America's most popular video games including Guitar Hero and Call of Duty. David Czarnecki ’97, earned a bachelor’s degree from the Watson School and returned to campus Friday, Nov. 20, to talk with students about his career post-Binghamton.

Czarnecki has loved video games for much of his life, and in spring 2008 joined Agora Games — a Troy, N.Y.-based company that builds websites for video games — as lead engineer for the company's Guitar Hero project.

"It's very exciting being part of a leading franchise out there," Czarnecki said. "We have a great team at Agora, so we've had the ability to work on [franchises like] Guitar Hero and Call of Duty. Knowing how to scale a system and gather player data allows us to work on big titles."

Prior to coming to Agora, Czarnecki was a computer scientist and software engineer for General Electric. "After almost 11 years at GE, I was just looking to do something different than what I had been doing," he said. "Being able to meld your passion or hobby into what you do, makes it not feel like work."

But, video gaming isn't Czarnecki's only interest. Several years ago, he co-authored Java Internationalization for O'Reilly and Associates, which explains how to write software targeted for multiple languages. His goal was to give programmers a different way of thinking about software for the international market. And, in 2003, he created blojsom, an open-source blogging software, which Apple adopted for its Tiger Server platform.

"[Blojsom] was a great way to show off [my skills], he said. “Here's a large programming project I released into the community. I support it, foster it and make sure it grows and does things that are useful for people using a blogging package."

Czarnecki — who found his current job with Agora on craigslist — talked with students about the changing career landscape, how to find a job in today's tight economy and how to connect with the University after graduation.

He hopes that current students understand that their futures depend somewhat on what they do as students. “A lot … is driven by what you do when you're here, such as internships,” he said. “If you're at Binghamton, you're in great position to go off and do great things once you leave the University."

Last Updated: 11/26/13