The third installment of the HI guide to becoming an elite programmer is here! This week is the ever silent volcano, Jason. Enjoy.

- Nick.

When did you first get interested in Flash games?

I first started playing flash games in high school. My sophmore year I took a CAD class, and since I was so awesome at it I ended up having a lot of free time. I got really good Fishy. The year after that was when I took my first web design class, which is where I first learned how to use Flash.

After high school I went to Michigan State University to be a 3D game artist. While doing that, I figured it would be a good thing if I learned a bit more about the programming side of things (which actually helped a lot when doing art for games). Since I already had some Java and Flash experience from high school, I decided to take the Flash courses MSU offered. From there I landed an internship here at Hero where I made my first game (“That Hero Guy”).

I guess in short you could say I picked up Flash games on the side and just got good at it.

What programming language did you learn first? And then next? And so on.

In my high school web classes I learned some HTML and really basic, in timeline, AS2. Then I took an AP Java class my senior year. My freshman year of college I took a MATLAB class  and later I started taking the Flash classes where I got into AS3. Through my game development classes I was able to dabble in C# and I’ve helped a couple friends with their Python homework before.

What degree did you go after?

Like Lisa, I got my degree in Digital Media and Technology specializing in Game Design at MSU.

What did you learn during school that you felt was important?

Having knowledge outside of your chosen trade is invaluable when making games, especially in a small team. Being able to communicate with and understand the needs of your programmers, designers and/or artists makes things way easier for everyone, including yourself.

What did you learn post-school that you felt was important?

Not everyone likes a “Jack-of-All-Trades.” If you spend too much time learning a bit of everything, you won’t have the time to get really good at anything. Especially at bigger companies, employers want you to be the best at what you do, not pretty good at what you do and a lot of other things.

I know I’ve just contradicted myself, but that’s life for you.

What would you recommend learning/doing to those hoping to get into Flash games?

Practice, practice, practice. Even if you have to do it after hours. It’s the only way you stay good at what you do. If you stop practicing, you’ll get rusty and forget things. And while you’re practicing, push yourself. Pushing yourself, failing, and trying again is the only way to get better at anything. If you keep doing things you already know how to do, you’ll never learn anything new.

- Jason, The Volcano