Vice President & Head of Operations, EA SPORTS
Senior Software Engineer, EA SPORTS UFC
Software Engineer, EA SPORTS FIFA
A career in gaming could be ideal for women looking for a creative and empowering workplace that fosters inclusivity.
It’s widely known that women in STEM fields like engineering are generally underrepresented throughout Canada. What’s less well-known, however, is that there are some areas of engineering, like computer and software engineering, where women are increasingly discovering a place to thrive. One industry leader prioritizing attracting more women and creating a diverse and inclusive workplace culture is EA SPORTS, a division of Electronic Arts (EA).
A culture of innovation
EA SPORTS is one of the most iconic brands in entertainment, connecting millions of fans across the world to their favourite players and teams through top-selling video game franchises.
And after more than 25 years in the game, EA SPORTS’ global development team of over 1,200 continues to grow and innovate.
“Every day I work with incredibly creative and smart people who are driving unparalleled innovations in the field, all because of their dedication to making the best possible games for our players,” says Natali Altshuler, Vice President and Head of Operations at EA SPORTS. “Together, our teams are actively evolving and enhancing the way millions engage with the sports they love — shifting from a physical to digital and from a linear to interactive experience.”
Diversity promotes ideas
EA SPORTS’ commitment to promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace isn’t just for the sake of nurturing a more enjoyable atmosphere for employees. The company sees diversity and inclusion as a business imperative – understanding that it enhances their creative process and enables them to deliver amazing games for their players.
“We believe that cultivating a workforce that reflects our diverse player community allows us to create games and experiences that resonate authentically with players. It also fuels creativity and innovation — and in transformative industries like gaming, entertainment, and tech, that’s absolutely critical to our success,” says Altshuler.
Developing an inclusive environment for inclusive entertainment
“The gaming demographic includes people of all ages, genders, ethnic origins, and walks of life. To create great games that are inclusive, we need to work in an environment that’s inclusive,” says Raissa D’Souza, a software engineer who works on EA SPORTS’ FIFA franchise. “I think more women in gaming are needed for this industry to reach its maximum potential.”
As a company, EA has pledged to be a leader in the representation of women in games, to empower an inclusive culture, and to promote the gender equality movement through the industry and the communities it operates in.
From its inclusive workplace policies to pay equality, it continues to invest in initiatives that empower its people, celebrate diversity, and actively foster inclusion. One integral way it does this is through company-wide employee resource groups (ERGs).
“Our ERGs are employee-led groups that unite around a common affinity, experience, or interest. They connect employees and champion diversity, belonging, inclusion, and allyship,” explains Melissa Gilliam, a senior software engineer working on EA SPORTS’ UFC franchise.
An unexpected career choice
EA SPORTS is encouraging more diverse talent, at all skill levels, to consider a career in gaming.
“After graduating with a major in computer science and a minor in music, finding a way to merge those interests was compelling to me,” Gilliam says. “I spoke with a friend who worked at EA SPORTS about her experience. Until that point, I hadn’t considered a career in gaming, but it sounded like a creative and fun way to utilize my skill sets.”
D’Souza went into the field when she discovered it was an ideal way to blend her passion for technology and art. “It wasn’t until I took an introductory computer science course in university that I realized that there was a creative side to engineering,” she says. “I still remember when I completed my first coding assignment, and the spark of excitement when the program ran successfully. It was in that moment that I knew I wanted to become a software engineer.”
The gaming demographic includes people of all ages, genders, ethnic origins, and walks of life. To create great games that are inclusive, we need to work in an environment that’s inclusive.
Opportunities to excel
Given the scale and breadth of EA SPORTS’ work, there are a wide variety of opportunities for software engineers, depending on their interests — whether in animation, artificial intelligence (AI), physics, user interface (UI), rendering and graphics, systems, online, audio, or cinematics.
After years of working at the company, both D’Souza and Gilliam can speak to the fulfilling careers that await women considering a future in software development and gaming.
“My own approach to leading and collaboration has always been encouraged, and my input on technical direction, culture, and the work process is always heard,” says Gilliam. “In general, the culture is one where people can be themselves, share their opinions, and be met with acceptance and respect.”
D’Souza has had similar empowering experiences in her role. “I’m consistently given the opportunity to push my engineering skills and grow in my career with new tasks and projects,” she says. “I also have the incredible opportunity to meet and work with some of the most determined and intelligent people in this industry.”
To learn more about EA’s journey, read their first annual Impact Report.
Find your next career
EA SPORTS has lots of unique opportunities for software engineers. Find your match.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
User Interface (UI)
Rendering and Graphics