Maria Chiara Monti

Country: United Kingdom
Sector: Internet & Software
Job title: SDK Graphics Engineer
Subject of study: Electronic Engineering and Computer Science
Year of graduation: 2017
Type/Level of study: Undergraduate

Current Employer/Organisation Name

Sony Interactive Entertainment

What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?

I spent my year abroad at Exeter studying Electronic Engineering and Computer Science, after which I graduated from my bachelor’s degree back in Italy and then completed a Master’s Degree in Computer Graphics, Vision and Imaging at UCL with distinction. I then did a three months internship as an Augmented Reality Engineer at the European Space Agency, which opened the doors to a permanent job working as a Graphics Engineer for a videogames company called Unity Technologies. There I worked on building the world’s most widely used game engine, Unity. I am currently working as a Graphics Engineer for PlayStation, where I am doing research on Virtual Reality and contributing to the PlayStation SDK.

Why did you choose this career? And what do you enjoy most about your work?

During my time at Exeter I developed a strong passion for Computer Graphics, which I built on as a master’s student at UCL and then pursued as a career right out of university. I love the satisfaction of seeing with your eyes the visible results of your rendering engine, creating virtual worlds and discovering new ways to improve the visual fidelity of graphical applications. I am particularly interested in real-time graphics and virtual reality due to the great potential of the medium to influence people’s behaviour and have an impact in their life, as well as presenting great technical challenges and open problems. I love working in the videogames industry especially because working on the hardware interface rather than on a specific game gives me the opportunity to tackle a wide range of technical challenges that I wouldn’t be dealing with if I was only focusing on games.

Please tell us if you were a member of any societies, groups or sports clubs?

During my time at Exeter, I thoroughly enjoyed the student life and was a member of Exeter University Women’s Basketball Club and the Erasmus Society.

What did you enjoy most about your programme and what was the biggest highlight?

I loved my year abroad at Exeter especially because it gave me the opportunity to study topics from the two fields that I was most interested in: electronics and computer science. I was able to take classes from both courses and at various levels of expertise. I gained a lot of experience from the practical workshops and lab sessions in my engineering modules, as well as from the personal programming projects that I worked on in my computer science modules.

What did you enjoy most about studying here?

I enjoyed the campus life, the interdisciplinarity of my course, the friendships that I formed in the societies I was a part of.

Why did you choose to study at Exeter?

I chose to study at Exeter because it combined many of the aspects that I thought would make for the best Erasmus experience: a great campus with a lot of green areas and great accommodation, an incredible offering in terms of sports clubs and societies, and especially excellent academics and premium quality research.

What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?

Computer Graphics, C and C++ programming, Low lever CPU and GPU programming, Multithreading, the physics of light transport, Signals Theory, Image Processing, knowledge of computer architectures.

What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?

I would say that experience is the most important thing. I would highly recommend doing internships in related fields at gaming companies or visual effects companies, as it is much easier to get an internship while studying rather than obtain a graduate job in this field, since there is a prevalence of senior positions. Knowledge of current game engines is usually required and can be acquired through a university course or simply by making videogames for free in your spare time! And finally, playing one or two games in the weekend is not a requirement, but can only help fuel the passion!

What are your plans for the future?

My plans are to continue my engineering career and progress in my current company. I aim to have a profound impact and work on the cutting edge of technology, solving some of the hardest problems. I also plan on having fun playing videogames while I do this.


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