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Is reverse engineering being regarded as a valuable skill when applying a new job?


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#1 thelONE   Members   -  Reputation: 101

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 12:28 AM

Hello, everyone:
I am a junior programmer with 2-year-experience, I am going to find a new game/engine programming job in a short time, I have a question: Is reverse engineering being regarded as a valuable skill when applying a new job?
Is it appropriate to send a reverse engineering demo along with my resume? Like a rendering demo almost identical to a successful commercial game, since I think it shows that I have a good understanding of low-level engine programming.
(By the way, I do reverse engineering for educational purposes only)

Thanks.

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#2 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 9854

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 12:45 AM

I imagine it's not a very marketable skill. The ability to solve problems based on knowledge and skill and imagination is more highly valued.
-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#3 thelONE   Members   -  Reputation: 101

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 01:45 AM

Thank you for your reply, Tom.I thought my resume was too normal, just C++, Direct3D and Lua, and so on, everybody has these items in his resume. How am I supposed to attract the recruiters at the first place?
So I think reverse engineering skill may make me different, through the demo, I want to show my passion in studying the great technologies and high performance, and I am qualified to work immediately. (Because reverse engineering is very time consuming, especially when you are trying to analyze the architecture rather than just crack a password protection.)


Now that it's not very marketable, and I also believe it's just a skill to solve problems, I think I should probably lower its priority, put more emphasis on elsewhere.

I have another concern: Will the recruiters feel uncomfortable when they see a reverse engineering demo? "What the heck is this guy thinking about? He is violating the law!", maybe something like this. I think, to different individuals, the answers vary, there is no universal answer to it, but your opinions will definitely help.

Thanks again.

#4 dpadam450   Members   -  Reputation: 921

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 01:48 AM

Reverse Engineering - Nope, not for games anyway. Never been asked in an interview.
Attracting People to you Resume - Get a website (free is fine) put up your work. Any games, youtube videos of your games/programming work. It has worked well for me. Secondly, 5% of companies recruit, the other 95% wait for people to apply directly to their company online. You have to go to them.

#5 thelONE   Members   -  Reputation: 101

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 02:00 AM

Hello, dpadam450, Thank you for your reply.

Like you said, I am going to them, I can't afford to wait for recruiters coming to me, it won't happen:)
You gave me a definitely no on reverse engineering, it's not for games anyway. So your opinion is, I should not mention it in my resume and interviews? It's strictly prohibited or a gray area nobody would like to touch?
And is it OK to just mention it, I am going to apply a programming job anyway, not a reverse engineer.

Thank you again.

#6 Tachikoma   Members   -  Reputation: 552

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 02:25 AM

Reverse engineering abilities will give you skills which may be useful in other disciplines. You probably won't be reversing anything in most jobs, but the skill is useful for debugging, problem solving, and gaining a better understanding of how things work under the hood.

Personally I would not list "reverse engineering" as a key skill on a resume, nor would I raise it in an interview - perhaps put it down in the hobby section on the resume? Alternatively, you could use a different terminology to describe this skill. For instance, on my resume I have mentioned that I used decompilers extensively and used it to analyse the generated code, etc. Paranoid and dumb recruiter types will see you less threatening that way.
Latest project: Sideways Racing on the iPad

#7 thelONE   Members   -  Reputation: 101

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 02:43 AM

Hi, Mr Tachikoma, thank you for your great reply!

You advice is very constructive, and it can help me a lot.

Like you said, the reason I love RE(Reverse Engineering), is through RE I learned a lot, like debugging strategies, like debugging a crash dump of a release build, it's difficult if you don't know what's going on at the low level, like how the parameters being passed, and how to track them.

Thank you again, Mr Tachikoma.

#8 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 30349

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 07:50 PM

I agree with Tachikoma -- saying that you're good at "reverse engineering" doesn't mean much... BUT, the skills that you use in order to be good at RE are important -- so you should mention that you're very analytical (can analyse existing technology and discover it's mechanisms), that you understand low-level code details (such as working with crash dumps and assembly) and can architect solutions that are on-par with current technology.

#9 thelONE   Members   -  Reputation: 101

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 12:15 AM

Hello, Mr Hodgman, thanks for your reply!

I am very happy that you understand my point and give me useful suggestions, I appreciate it, thank you!




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