Career Q&A: Mark Jarzynski ’11, Computer Science

Every so often, we’ll chat with an alum about what they do and how they got there. Today we’re talking with Mark Jarzynski ’11, computer science, about his work as Technical Director of Software Development here at UMBC’s Imaging Research Center (IRC).

SONY DSCName: Mark Jarzynski
Job Title: Technical Director of Software Development
Major/Minor: Computer Science/Game Development
Grad year: 2011

Q: What drew you to UMBC for your studies?

When I was in high school, I was really interested in making video games. I had heard that UMBC had a game development track within Computer Science so I went for it.

Q: You now work at the university in the IRC. Could you tell us how you got the position and talk a bit about what you do there?

I had a job as a student working for CSEE. I maintained their servers and I developed their website. When I graduated in 2011, the IRC was looking for someone with my skillset, and my boss, Geoff, encouraged me to apply.
At the IRC I maintain all of our desktops and servers,  I’m the lead programmer on our projects, and I am currently supervising six programming students. I can be working on 4-5 projects at any given time.

Q: Is there a particular professor or class at UMBC that really inspired you?

I had quite a few professors that inspired me throughout my time as a student such as Don Miner and Dr. Olano. I think the class that inspired me the most was CMSC 313, “Computer Organization and Assembly Language,” with Dennis Frey. One of my favorite projects for that class was a “bomb” program. When the program was run, it would ‘explode’ by sending an email to Professor Frey. We had to disassemble the program and use the debugger GDC to disarm the bomb so when the program ran it didn’t explode and send an email to Professor Frey saying that we’ve failed.

Q: How goes the video game design? Are you working on anything right now?

I have a license for Unity Pro and Unreal Engine. I dabble with them every once in while on my free time.

Q: What games have had the most lasting impact on you?

Warcraft III. I started playing this game back in high school and it is what got me really interested in game development. It had a map editor which I would spend an enormous amount of time creating custom maps in.

Q: What advice would you give to students considering UMBC?

Follow your passion wherever it takes you.

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