Published May 12, 2021
This Grad Helps Sling TV's Software Stream Smoothly
Ulric Esparra uses his degree to keep the backend wheels turning at Sling TV.
Watching your favorite shows on a streaming service feels effortless, but there's a lot happening behind the scenes every time you press play. Software engineers keep the wheels turning, and Full Sail grad Ulric Esparra helps backend requests run smoothly at Sling TV.
Ulric says he chose an academic career at Full Sail so he could graduate and join the workforce in two years instead of four. During his time in the Software Development bachelor's program (now called Computer Science), he learned foundational skills in operating systems and databases that prepared him for his work at Sling, as well as programming languages like Python and C++. After graduation, Ulric landed a job as a Software Test Engineer at Scientific Games in Chicago. A few years later he moved to Colorado to be a Software Test Engineer at Sling TV, where he was recently promoted to Software Engineer I.
"Whenever you try to go to a website and log in to watch Sling, or if you're on a device like a phone or a Roku TV, there's some communications that have to happen between that client and our backend services to enable it," Ulric explains. "Are you paying through Sling or a third-party service? When you make changes to your account, who needs to be notified so you're billed correctly? All that kind of stuff."
A typical day for Ulric involves staying in the loop with scrum ceremonies, picking up tickets for coding work, and partnering up with teammates for exploratory work.
"With this partnership stuff, a lot of it is like ‘Oh, we currently have a partnership coming up with so-and-so. We need to take some time, look through the documentation, understand how their partnership backend works, come up with some documentation, present to the team,'" he says.
Ulric also loves helping out up-and-coming software engineers at Sling. And he's got his eye on management roles for the next step in his career.
"I love coaching. I love mentoring. I love to be someone that people can depend on and ask for help and know that I can help them… So that's something that I'm working towards next, is management."
Ulric's programming language skills and his love of coding helped him find an exciting role, but his willingness to take an indirect path led him to his current job at Sling.
"I should have hit the ground running [after graduation] as a developer, but I took a job as a tester when I went to Scientific Games… So technically my job wasn't development. But because of that, I got the opportunity at Sling to be a tester, which then gave me an opportunity to be a developer. Just because it's not the title that you're looking for doesn't mean it's not the next right step for you."