Preview: Rammy Issa, a Cylynt application engineer, talks about how he turned an obsession with sports and his process for excellence into a programming career at Cylynt.
My family and I moved back to Los Angeles when I was eight years old, after living in Jordan/Syria for many years. While catching up in school, I focused on something I was very passionate about—skateboarding. My goal was to enjoy my process, which was doing my best to find areas that could be improved and working to improve them. Soon I was competing in contests, appearing in video games, and earning sponsorships from skateboard companies. In 2006, Tony Hawk’s video game series released a signature game called Tony Hawk's Project 8. I was 13 when I received a contract to be in the game. I grew up playing Tony Hawk's video games, and to learn I would be one of the skaters in the Project 8 video—I was beyond thrilled. Signing the contract, and receiving the video game a few months later, was seeing my dream come to reality.
Obsession With Football
I graduated from high school when I was 17 and left skateboarding behind when I started community college a few months later. During my time as an undeclared student in community college, looking for my next journey, I became passionate about football, specifically playing quarterback.
In the three and a half years I spent building transfer credits at community college, I trained everyday practicing the mechanics of throwing a football, hours on end. I would constantly film myself throwing the football to improve the fundamentals of my throwing mechanics. A repetitive process of analyzing the film, focusing on an area, determining if an adjustment can improve the accuracy/velocity/trajectory, and implementing the change the next day.
A Process for Success
I trained every day, using the same process I had been honing for years: finding an area that I am passionate about and working nonstop to adjust and improve, then seeing the results. After training for the position of quarterback for two years in community college, I tried out for a semi-professional football team. I constantly received questions from the coaching staff during the tryout: “What high school football team did you play for?” and “Who’s your quarterback coach?” It was great seeing the surprise on their faces when they learned my throwing motion was self-taught over only the last two years.
I was three years into community college, playing quarterback on a semi-pro team and preparing to transfer to a four-year university that had a football program. Then, during my last semester, I was introduced to computer science. I immediately knew this would be my next pursuit.
I was programming in my computer science course and was fascinated, curious about the possibilities that could be accomplished in this domain. The course helped me realize the key to success is hard work, dedication, and persistence—traits that I had cemented in myself from my earliest days as a skateboarder.
I applied to universities noted for their computer science programs and was accepted at the University of California, San Diego. Then, in the last quarter at UCSD, I took an artificial intelligence (AI) course. After finishing the course, I dove into the subsets of AI, like machine learning, and applications it can be used for. It was my new addiction.
After graduating from UCSD in 2018, I began applying for jobs. One company that looked very interesting was Cylynt, and I applied because I wanted to better understand what the company was doing and what they were looking for in an application engineer. It is very obvious there is a global problem with piracy.
Application Engineer at Cylynt
Once I met with CEO Ted Miracco and realized what Cylynt is doing to combat this issue, I was very excited to be part of the team. It's a very stealthy operation we are running, which is important because pirates continue to devise new ways to steal software and we have to stay one step ahead of them. The technology is amazing and continues to grow.
I also felt that I had some ideas that could contribute to further the company. Programming is awesome because it gives you the ability to create programs that have not been implemented before and to solve real-world problems that have not been addressed before. I like making people's lives easier when dealing with this piracy issue and felt I could contribute, so it seemed like a perfect match.
It has been three years since I graduated from UCSD and my curiosity and passion and love for AI and machine learning (ML) continues to skyrocket. I am constantly learning, implementing personal or work-related projects, reading publications, and doing my best to understand this complex subset. Now I am preparing to go back to school for my master’s degree, while continuing to work at Cylynt. The industry we are in is awesome, I love what we do, and that we have the ability to further enhance technology for our customers. From my knowledge in this industry so far, I know there are additional problems that can be solved with artificial intelligence.
As I pursue a graduate degree, I want to continue contributing to Cylynt, to help make our customers more successful and assist them in growing their license compliance programs using artificial intelligence when possible.