Jewish Journal

A man developing a plan: Micah Hyman

by Jared Sichel

Posted on Jun. 11, 2014 at 1:13 pm

YULA Boys High School

Going to: Yeshivat Sha’alvim; New York University

This summer, Micah Hyman will be doing precisely what many unemployed teenage boys will be doing — playing video games. 

Except Hyman will be doing it as an intern at Treyarch, the Santa Monica-based developer of the mega-popular “Call of Duty” video game series. His job — one related to a medium that he takes seriously — will be to find and report software bugs in titles that aren’t yet on the market.

[See the other outstanding graduates here]

“There can be experiences in games that are as meaningful as a good movie or a good book,” explained the YULA grad during an interview over coffee in his Pico-Robertson neighborhood. (Not to dismiss the written word, Hyman added that he’s an avid reader, having recently worked his way through Oscar Wilde and Agatha Christie, now moving on to the “Harry Potter” series … in Hebrew.)

Hyman is the second of four children — all boys — and he half-joked about how his two younger brothers are going to “lose their leader” when, in August, he flies to Israel for a year of learning at Yeshivat Sha’alvim, a hesder yeshiva that sits about halfway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

“I’m the brother spokesman,” Hyman said.

Why did Hyman choose a hesder yeshiva, with its reputation for rigorous learning side-by-side with native Israelis? 

“I don’t need a relatable rabbi to help me get more spiritual,” Hyman said, explaining that he expects his teachers at Sha’alvim to challenge him and push his intellectual limits. “I actually need some really, really strong rebe’im.”

In 2015, after his year in yeshiva, Hyman will begin at New York University in Manhattan, where he hinted that he would consider pursuing a liberal arts major if computer science doesn’t satisfy him. 

The editor this year for YULA’s newspaper, The Panther, and for its weekly student-produced Torah publication, Likutei Ohr, Hyman seems to possess the rare combination of technical savvy and creative thought that should serve him well as he charts his path. He’s not sure exactly where it will lead, but can imagine himself “making breakthroughs” in the fields of technology or literature. His competitive nature wouldn’t accept anything less.

“I’m going to be competing with anyone for anything,” Hyman said. “From my friends, to people I’ve read about, to myself, my brothers, my parents.”

How will he get from where he is now — an intellectually curious and highly motivated teenager — to where he wants to be — a disciplined and successful adult? He said that viewing his father as a model is one way, specifically his dad’s ability to home in and focus on the task at hand.

“I don’t need to go do something fun,” Hyman said, describing the work ethic that he hopes to eventually achieve. “No, I will sit down and I will work — for five hours.” 

Not to suggest that he’s all work and no play, Hyman let slip a self-deprecating smile. After all, he is a teenager about to take on a summer job playing video games.

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