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Meet #TeamShadow: how Julia keeps Shadow running smoothly

What happens when you report a bug to our Shadow support team? Julia, our Technical Support Software Engineer, tells all.

Were you ever wondering who is behind the scenes @Shadow? Who is crazy enough to believe in a gaming future in the Cloud?

Find it out in our new Series: Meet #TeamShadow. Every week you meet a new member of our team that tells you more about his or her job and why they are working for Shadow. Let's start with Julia our "bug expert".

Your feedback helps us to make our cloud service rock - because we’re always improving Shadow to ensure it meets your highest expectations.

But what about the messages that you send to our support team, our social media channels and Discord, when you encounter a problem that needs fixing? What happens next? We asked Julia, our Technical Support Software Engineer, to bear all. 

Hi, Julia! Thanks for chatting with us. First of all, we’d like to ask - what kind of work is behind your awesome job title, and what are the different (and oh so many!) tasks in your daily life?

Well, I provide technical support to the support team (sorry - I don’t mean to be Captain Obvious!). This is different from general support, where other members of the team will help users across all topics - from registration to invoicing to technical issues - as I focus solely on bugs and product feedback. My goal is to get as much technical information as possible so that developers can make corrections. This requires knowing how to separate configuration problems from real bugs, retrieving the right information to resolve the incident and updating internal reporting processes. I also work with the marketing team to improve on the technical information we share with the world.

Which other teams do you work most often with and why? Do you have any concrete examples of bugs that have been fixed? 

I’m in the dev team, and I study constantly to improve my knowledge of Shadow from a technical point of view and to answer everyone's questions. Of course, as there is "Support" in my title, I regularly collaborate with the European and US support teams to answer their problems and needs. But I’ve also spent the last few weeks with the moderation team on Discord, working on the Beta before we share it with users. And I work with the marketing team to improve our communications concerning Alpha and Beta testing. 

The goal of my cross-team collaboration is that all technical issues (and other relevant information) are clear to the dev team, that this information flows well internally between all teams and that the treatment and result of any problem fixing is shared widely with the community.

What exactly is a "bug"? I hear people use that word wrongly over and over - why?

That’s simple! A bug is a defect in either the hardware or design of mechanical systems. Computer science has used the term to describe problems that occur on a regular basis. Legend has it that this also refers to the small insects that roamed the first computers. Maybe they’re still there... *creepy music*

People use the term incorrectly because it’s a simple word, and can be easily misapplied to other types of issue. For instance, one-off events (often related to equipment) are sometimes referred to as “bugs”, even though we respond to them in a totally different way to a traditional bug. I was once in a situation where a failed power strip set fire to a server room! It’s something that doesn’t happen often and won’t happen again in the future.

Then there are the regularly occurring problems. Depending on their severity, we refer to them as minor bugs, critical bugs or blocking bugs. The challenge is finding this bug, understanding its impact, defining the conditions under which it appears and retrieving the right information that helps developers to fix it.

Bugs can also impact on a product’s design. Commonly, these types of bug affect the user journey, and in these cases, you have to go back to the way that the software works. There, the devs - and especially the product team - will review their work, making sure that the product is functional and thereby correcting the situation.

How did you get to Blade? What were you doing when the famous "Y2K bug" didn't happen?

While I was studying, I was torn between two paths. With my Bac S spé maths in my pocket, I first ventured into medicine (which was quite disastrous, I must admit!). When it became obvious that I would never treat the living, I decided to take my chances with machines and signed up to a computer engineering school. This was a much better fit for me! Once I graduated, I had a lot of roles related to support, including Production Engineer, Technical Editor, Support Engineer and Account Manager. That’s a lot of fancy titles, but essentially, my role was always the same… to answer the question - "Hello Houston, we have a problem, what are we doing?"

As for the Y2K bug: I was 14 years old, so I was almost certainly in my room on my computer, playing a game or reading a book!

For you, Shadow is...

Just my computer. Before, I had to update my tower and change laptops to keep up with my technical needs. Now I have Shadow installed everywhere, and I do just about everything on it: play, work... no questions asked. I even installed the application on friends' computers so I can play at home when we have game nights!

It's 8:00 PM, you're about to leave the office when you come across a strange cubic object. Curious, you take it in your hands and find yourself transported into the year 2042. You quickly realise that the whole world is equipped with Shadow. What's the first thing you do?

I’ll check that the problems I was working on have been solved. Then I'm going to find out which games have been released - I have 22 years of gaming to catch up on, after all!

What game are you currently addicted to? Or are you swapping between a few?

At the moment, I’m totally captivated by Assassin's Creed Odyssey… its vast expanses and fascinating history. It makes me want to read the classics of mythology again. That being said, I’ll definitely switch to Fire Emblem: Three Houses next. It’s a franchise I love, and I look forward to seeing what the new Switch game brings to the series.

Whether you want to talk about games or any recurring bugs, Julia’s eager to hear from you over on Discord (under the pseudonym PetiPandaRou#0085). And Julia… thanks for the inside scoop!