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Finally got hired!

Posted by dejaime, 21 August 2014 · 799 views

Hello Again!

These last few days I've been under the radar, my poor blog probably feels really lonely right now, but there's a good reason.

I have sent my CV for a local studio in hopes of getting a full time job as a programmer in game development.
For my own surprise, they have actually called me two days after I sent it. Just a week after I sent my CV I was being interviewed; hired in the next day! Actually, I can't even believe it. This is my first week on this new job, and I am really excited!

For these first days though, I've been horrible, I must admit. My productivity was really low due to a series of problems while setting up my environment.

I am not working in a game right away (I guess they want to test me first), but actually in an Android app, hence I use the Android SDK. They use the Eclipse AndroidSDK bundle, so everything is setted up accordingly. They installed Linux in a machine (as I stated I used Linux to work at home), and for some reason, Eclipse kept on crashing in the Property View (after the hour-long download of the SDK Manager)... Not to mention the first machine I used (in my first day) was then reallocated to someone else, just to start another series of problems with Java 32 bit fighting its 64 bit version, Android SDK and the buggy Eclipse. In the end, I am using Windows 8 and the bundled Android SDK and Eclipse; as it only crashes on Mac and Linux.

Long story short, three days after I started all I did was set my environment up (three times) and start working. Done two tasks in the scrum board... I just hope they don't fire me for being incompetent! hahaha

It is a hard job. I knew I would struggle in the start, but didn't expect it to be this much. They are all helpful though, I can call anyone to my table and ask questions, they always help me however they can. I just feel kinda bad about calling them over though, and I try to avoid it; I feel like I am getting in their way or taking too much of their time. I hope to get up to speed soon enough. I've only been there for some days, so I guess I'll do better with time.

Anyway, most of you would want to know what I have shown them, what called their attention to me, so I'll go over it.

Language:

Even though I work with Java, they called me for my prior experience with C++. Yes, it looks counter-productive, but they tested my C++ proficiency to work with Java. Actually, they didn't even ask for any prior Java experience, but did ask for it with C++.

Does that mean I wouldn't have gotten the job if I was a Java programmer? In this case, yes. Does that means I wouldn't find any job if I was a Java programmer with no C++ experience and portfolio? I think I would find one, it would probably take longer though (longer than a week for that matter). YMMV.

Portfolio:

I listed both code I wrote and my small (and kinda amateurish) programming blog.

College:

I have no college degree, nor any formal courses in programming or GameDev. There is no possibility of studying programming through regular education (not until college, that is).


In other words, what would I say is important?
Have experience with one or more languages such as C++, C#, Java...
Create yourself a good portfolio with code samples. Create an open source library, an open source game. Complete projects, not "started and abandoned" projects, to fill your portfolio with. I would also tell you to avoid game clones as a portfolio entry. It makes you look more of a hobbyist than you'd like it to. In addition, it is always better to see something simpler, but new and creative, than another clone of a classic game; unless it is a complex game (above the classic mario/zelda complexity). It is even truer if the web is flooded with tutorials to clone it.


Well, that is it, I guess I will leave you again for now, as tomorrow I sign in @8am !
Wish me luck everyone, I really need it! haha




Congratulations!

Gratz. Now don't screw it up :) Try to surf that wave for as long as possible!

Use Skype. I used to feel bad for walking over to other engineer's desk and asking too many stupid questions when I used to work at a game company. But I soon learned that the company encouraged everybody to communicate through Skype, even when communicating with a person who is sitting right next to you. In that way, the person can answer whenever it is most convenient, without having their train of thought broken. Or somebody else can answer, if you do a broadcast. And as an added bonus, you can look up the history in case you are like me and tend to forget what was the answer they gave you. 

Skype is a great team tool.

Most companies expect there to be a ramp up curve.  Often they don't expect a new hire to be productive for months.  Also, DO NOT FEEL BAD ABOUT ASKING FOR HELP, it's totally expected, especially for a new hire.  I can't emphasize this enough.  The typical trap is for a new developer is to waste massive amounts of their time essentially doing nothing, I have a 10 minute rule.  If I can't find the answer to the problem in 10 minutes, I ask someone.  Now, I may do it via email or IM, and in that case if I don't get a response, I continue looking, or work on something else that I'm not blocked on. 

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