I got to go through a Sparq camp! I’ve had to explain this to a few people, so I’ll break it down:
The NFL does this thing called the NFL scouting combine, and it’s a week-long event where invited players (aka the cream of the incoming draft class) get invited to test their strength, speed, and agility in measurable ways. It’s something that NFL teams, and the public, use to rank athletes, and while it’s not the final say in who’s good, it certainly helps competition.
Nike does this thing called a Sparq camp, which is similar but much smaller and for high schoolers (and 7th / 8th graders), and it consists of four events: a 40-yard dash, a run-left, run-right, run-left agility test, a kneeling medicine ball throw, and a vertical jump. It’s partially to track your improvement, partially to show to colleges, and partially to rank yourself across all high school athletes, which Nike does with some form of ranking.
Hudl, who partners with Nike to get Sparq data on up their website for athletes who have completed these camps, decided to coordinate one of these camps in-house, just for a little friendly competition. So I jumped for it!
I don’t remember my stats exactly. My 40-yard dash was around 5.2 seconds, I think. My agility score was worse, closer to 6 (and in my defense, I didn’t have cleats). I don’t even remember the ball toss. It was miserable. But I managed to get 27 inches on the vertical leap, which is just slightly below the apparent average of 27.3 inches measured from all of last year’s camps. In fact, it’s only half an inch lower than Clay Matthews’ score when he went through the camp [same link above]. That’s sort of cool.
I’m really curious how I did relative to the other Hudlies. Not first, I know that, but I’m curious where I am. If being a goalie did nothing else for me in life, at least it let me jump okay.
So I’m staying home from work today due to a serious sickness. It’s been a while since I’ve felt this sick — unable to stand properly, sore all over, nose running like a faucet, the works. And with Hearthstone down, I figure this is as good a time as any to talk about my job and the summer in general.
Working at Hudl has been a reasonably positive experience the entire month or so I’ve been here. Almost everyone at the office is a really cool person, easy to get along with, straight shooters everywhere. Work is managed well and everyone seems to know what they’re doing, or at least where things are going.
I got a little unlucky when I first started up in that the section of the company I was going to be doing QA for had a serious lack of developers for some time: one had a kid, one had (has) a sick family, and one was helping the dev intern get his feet wet. So I won’t lie and say I wasn’t super bored for quite a while. I helped other people when I could, but it was a slow time.
With things being rearranged and more and more people joining the team every week, things have picked up reasonably, and everything is going fine. QA is fine. It’s definitely not the “throw-it-over-the-wall” mentality, every team is deeply involved with every aspect of their own team’s work. I appreciate my role in the squad. It is necessary and I have done just fine, in my own opinion.
Tell you what, though, it’s not glamorous.
I knew this going in, of course. If you had asked me around the turn of the calendar year if I’d be working at Hudl in the summer, I’d have told you no way in hell. The fact that I’m here at all is brilliant. But I know now for sure that quality assurance is not something I pine for.
Which is fine. We can’t all love our jobs. And really it’s not bad. I’m not miserable. I’m not even unhappy. Hudl has done a lot for me, in handing me a job and a temporary housing stipend and lunches and a cast of great characters.
But if I was picking my dream job, it wouldn’t be QA. It might be development. It really might be design, which sounds so hokey to a lot of people but really intrigues me. Truthfully I’m not sure what pushes all my buttons quite yet. I have time.
As of yesterday, the summer was officially 1/3 over, for me, at least in terms of how I think of things. I moved into the house I’m staying at for the summer on May 9th, and I move into my apartment for the school year on August 9th. So, one month down. Sure, there’s a week or something before school starts after the August date, but it’s scary realizing that summer is really quick.
I’m reasonably sure that I’ll be able to continue working at Hudl part-time through the school year, it seems to have been mentioned plenty already but nothing’s been set in stone. And I aim to do that — I think it’ll help to have some pressure in my limited time working there, instead of having gobs of unstructured time in between tests. And somebody’s gotta pay my rent.
Well, I almost beat another semester of college. I don’t usually make mopey dopey posts like this but lots of things are changing and I want to talk about them a bit.
Next week I’m taking four tests: a Spanish test that I almost don’t need to take, which I have been almost given the answers to; a physics test, which I do not feel adequately prepared for and am willing to accept a moderate grade on in order to get a B and leave; a calculus test, which I will continue to study for, but will be relatively straightforward (which will finish a math minor); and a computer science test, which I believe I understand well enough to slip through, particularly considering my performance on the other two exams.
Then I move all my junk from college into a family friend’s house, here in Lincoln, where I’ve finally found a computer science internship. In fact I’ll be working for Hudl, who is well-known for doing good work and being very laid-back in their work environment and directly preparing interns for real jobs because, well, they’re working real jobs.
If you had asked me maybe three months ago if I’d be working for Hudl over the summer, I’d have told you “hell no.” I never thought they’d show interest in a guy like myself, who has experience limited to a classroom for the most part, and no easy way to demonstrate his relatively strong people skills. But the Hudl interview process was very well put together, was a measure not only of what I had already learned but of my capacity to learn more, and indeed was the only company to extend me an offer.
Granted, when they offered me a job I mostly quit applying to other places. Two other companies subsequently turned me down, one after two lengthy phone interviews (vaguely reasonably well done) and one incredibly awkward phone interview (not every engineer is also good at talking to people, though he was good at talking about SQL). Didn’t matter. My short-term dream, my ideal summer, had come together. Which was really neat.
This will be the first time I’ll be staying somewhere that isn’t my house or a dorm, where people generally take care of me. I’m not going to say I’m not nervous, both for a challenging job and for living on my own (sort of). Because I am.
After the summer ends, I’ll be moving into an apartment with three of my friends from college. Which should be interesting. If things go well this summer with Hudl, I’ll stay on during the year working part-time. The current plan is to knock out my language requirement (with one Spanish class) and my physics minor (with an astronomy class and lab) in one swoop.
So here we go.