Skillz Employee Spotlight: Rowan Ji, Server Engineer
“I’m a Server Engineer, so I work on, uh, servers.”
Rowan Ji is not a man of many words, but when he does have something to say, it’s usually something worth remembering.
I distinctly remember my first conversation with Rowan at the company-wide off-site this past summer. We bonded over both attending Fudan University in Shanghai, China (him for his undergraduate studies, me for a summer semester), and our shared introversion tendencies.
At one point during our talk, he asked, “Do you know who I’m named after?”
Blanking on any famous Rowans, I shook my head no.
“Rowan Atkinson. He’s my favorite actor.”
And there you have it. Quiet, collected Rowan Ji was named after the walking hurricane that was Mr. Bean.
This year, Rowan finished up his Master’s program in Computer Science at UC Davis, and joined our server team. He works on implementing new server features and maintaining our server health to ensure it’s consistently capable of handling all 12 million+ users on our platform. He’s the self-proclaimed “Wiki-man,” largely responsible for manning the server portion of our technical documentation and knowing the content inside and out.
Rowan wasn’t planning on joining a gaming startup. He was just aiming for some sort of tech company, but when fellow Server Engineer Yagnik Suchak recommended Skillz to him, he was intrigued by the prospect of working in eSports.
“I love video games,” says Rowan. “Recently, I’ve been playing a lot of Overwatch. I also love Tether Studios’ Solitaire Cube on the Skillz platform – out of all of our games, that’s definitely the one I’m best at.”
When he’s not gaming, Rowan loves to play music – he was in a band in college and even performed in a musical back in Shanghai! A self-taught guitarist, Rowan enjoys playing rock and roll music on his electric guitar. He also plays the flute and drums, although he really hopes to learn the piano.
He laughed at my suggestion of starting up his own one-man band.
“I’ve actually been thinking about that, but every time I watch amateur musicians on YouTube, I’m blown away by how good they are! It would take me years to become that good.”
Rowan’s favorite part about Skillz so far? The people.
“I think the people here at Skillz are really great. I haven’t experienced many other company cultures before Skillz, but all I can say is that I feel very comfortable being here.”