Jump to content

  • Log In with Google      Sign In   
  • Create Account


When am I qualified?


Old topic!
Guest, the last post of this topic is over 60 days old and at this point you may not reply in this topic. If you wish to continue this conversation start a new topic.

  • You cannot reply to this topic
14 replies to this topic

#1 gbMike   Members   -  Reputation: 152

Like
0Likes
Like

Posted 15 August 2012 - 05:32 AM

I'm a self taught programmer, with a BS in 3d art and animation. I have a collection of flash games I've built, and I've spent the last year and a half learning c++, and opengl.

But, since I learned everything I know about programming on my own, I have no idea when I am qualified enough to realistically apply for jobs. I've picked up as much as I can on my own, about software development, coding standards, and such, but since I have minimal real world team development experience, its hard to say where I stand as far as my own skill level.

My target companies, would be small to mid range studios. Larger studios would be nice, but I think that might be a bit unrealistic. My question is, what are companies looking for in a portfolio, that displays competence from a self taught programmer? At what point is it a good idea to start sending out resumes and demo reels and the like?

Sponsor:

#2 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6938

Like
3Likes
Like

Posted 15 August 2012 - 07:40 AM

I'll answer with a question:
How do you plan to know if you're on par with industry professionnals?

Sure we could sit and talk about it, but that would be highly subjective.
I'm assuming you know how to make classes in AS3? But that won't tell me if you comment your code sufficiently and organise it efficiently.

My advice is twofold:
- Find some way (preferably someone) that can tell you whether you've reached that level or not.
- Apply for a job anyway. Worse case, you don't get the job. Middle case, you don't get the job but they tell you why, and you can focus on that. Best case, they give you a chance and you're in for a wild ride: entry-level positions are a whole new school of their own.

Good luck.

#3 FLeBlanc   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3085

Like
2Likes
Like

Posted 15 August 2012 - 08:24 AM

Get a job. If you don't get fired in the first couple of months, you're probably qualified for that particular job. There really aren't any hard and fast rules for this sort of thing.

#4 Goran Milovanovic   Members   -  Reputation: 1104

Like
0Likes
Like

Posted 15 August 2012 - 10:53 AM

Middle case, you don't get the job but they tell you why, and you can focus on that.


Did anyone actually get an honest response like that ... ever?

+---------------------------------------------------------------------+

| Game Dev video tutorials  ->   http://www.youtube.com/goranmilovano |
+---------------------------------------------------------------------+

#5 CJ_COIMBRA   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 778

Like
3Likes
Like

Posted 15 August 2012 - 01:59 PM

Did anyone actually get an honest response like that ... ever?



I did once and I came back about a year later at the same company and got hired :P

#6 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6938

Like
0Likes
Like

Posted 15 August 2012 - 08:50 PM

Did anyone actually get an honest response like that ... ever?

It happens, but like I said, its the middle case...

#7 gbMike   Members   -  Reputation: 152

Like
0Likes
Like

Posted 15 August 2012 - 10:06 PM

- Find some way (preferably someone) that can tell you whether you've reached that level or not.


I'm going to Pax Dev at the end of this month, so I'll see who I can meet up with. Maybe I can get some feedback there.

Apply for a job anyway.


Sounds good. Truth be told, I was actually intimidated out of sending out applications if I didn't know they were up to par. While listening to a talk from one of the hiring managers at Obsidian, he, as well as couple of other hiring staff from other companies, were basically saying not to shotgun out applications unless your sure they will impress, saying that if they think your work is sub par, that tends to be how they remember you.

I thought this seemed a bit harsh, but it seems like basically the same as having a bad first impression. At the end of the day, it makes me more than a little bit paranoid. But, your right, I have to actually try eventually.

#8 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 9108

Like
2Likes
Like

Posted 15 August 2012 - 10:40 PM

1. I'm going to Pax Dev at the end of this month, so I'll see who I can meet up with. Maybe I can get some feedback there.
2. I was actually intimidated out of sending out applications if I didn't know they were up to par.
3. basically saying not to shotgun out applications unless your sure they will impress, saying that if they think your work is sub par, that tends to be how they remember you.


1. I don't think you should go with the expectation of getting feedback. I think you should go with the expectation of learning a lot and making some contacts. Read the networking thread on this board.
2. I think you should apply. But you have to apply locally only. Read this board's FAQs.
3. I disagree with that advice. If your first application isn't there yet, just apply again 6 or 12 months later when you've improved. Improvement means a lot (nobody I know chucks an application because he remembers the guy wasn't cooked yet the first time).
-- 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.

#9 gbMike   Members   -  Reputation: 152

Like
0Likes
Like

Posted 16 August 2012 - 12:40 AM

I don't think you should go with the expectation of getting feedback


Ah sorry, let me be a bit more specific. I'm not planning on getting feedback from the actual speakers or exhibitors there, rather I'm meeting up with a small developer group that is attending. It's mostly indie developers, but most have experience beyond that.

I think you should apply. But you have to apply locally only.


I agree. I'm in the tail end of saving up money to afford the move out of "West Nowheresville." I figured moving after PAX would be best, since it's likely the largest networking event I'll be able to attend, and it might sway my move location.

3. I disagree with that advice.


That's refreshing to hear. I understand that each individual will obviously have their own unique opinions, not necessarily representative of the group, (in this case, that group being persons in charge of hiring) but I'm always hesitant to write off advice, from someone with far more experience into the subject than myself.


In any case, thanks all for the feedback.

Edited by gbMike, 16 August 2012 - 04:08 AM.


#10 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 9108

Like
1Likes
Like

Posted 16 August 2012 - 07:19 AM


I don't think you should go with the expectation of getting feedback


Ah sorry, let me be a bit more specific. I'm not planning on getting feedback from the actual speakers or exhibitors there, rather I'm meeting up with a small developer group that is attending. It's mostly indie developers, but most have experience beyond that.


I don't think you should go with the expectation of getting feedback. I never said anything about speakers or exhibitors.
-- 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.

#11 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6938

Like
0Likes
Like

Posted 16 August 2012 - 07:22 AM

While listening to a talk from one of the hiring managers at Obsidian, he, as well as couple of other hiring staff from other companies, were basically saying not to shotgun out applications unless your sure they will impress, saying that if they think your work is sub par, that tends to be how they remember you.


They'd be vain for thinking they remember every applicant :) I mean
It's probably just a scare tactic to insure only the best candidates will be showing up. Truth be told, there's a lot of scare tactics, even say, during the interview, but that's all part of the deal: they're testing your mettle, what you are made of, and if you can sustain that kind of pressure and still carry on, then definitely, they'll consider hiring you.

#12 L. Spiro   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 12803

Like
1Likes
Like

Posted 17 August 2012 - 02:16 AM

Truth be told, there's a lot of scare tactics, even say, during the interview

That is actually true.
In both of the 2 interviews for my current company I was tested via trick questions or deceitful implications.

In the first interview, the CEO sat down and immediately bludgeoned me with questions about working in America rather than Japan. “Wouldn’t you rather work in America? Better working conditions, better salary, etc.”
I actually almost lost my patience with him after insisting many times that I am in Japan for life, but later in the interview I found out why he was asking these things: During the earthquakes of last year every foreigner left the company but one, and he wanted to see if I would follow suit in the next big earthquakes scheduled to hit Tokyo directly within the next few years.

In the second interview the CFO said, “Actually it is perfectly fine if you want to start here and then later transfer to company X. We have good relationships with them and many of our employees transfer there.”
I later discovered that it was just a trap. Once again, several foreigners had joined my company and then transferred to company X, one of whom apparently only joined specifically to get into company X. Had I showed any interest in that option, I would probably not have gotten the job.


The on-topic thing to say is that you are ready for a job no later than the time at which you actually get a job.
That seems stupid, but think of it this way: Employers have a chance to look at your background and decide if you are ready. If they hire you, it is because they decided you are ready.
It is really pointless to ask us when you are ready. Companies hire people of all levels. My previous company hired a guy who had only 6 or so months of Java experience, before which he was a psychologist. And the company that previously hired that guy hired him with 0 experience in Java; he learned on-the-job.

Just start applying. Your best bets are small companies, but if you have bad luck even there you can explore start-up companies. Start-ups can’t be very picky about the first few programmers they hire, and they usually can’t offer a salary attractive enough for the better programmers anyway. They also offer the best growth potential.


Just remember not to fall for traps during the interview.


L. Spiro
It is amazing how often people try to be unique, and yet they are always trying to make others be like them. - L. Spiro 2011
I spent most of my life learning the courage it takes to go out and get what I want. Now that I have it, I am not sure exactly what it is that I want. - L. Spiro 2013
I went to my local Subway once to find some guy yelling at the staff. When someone finally came to take my order and asked, “May I help you?”, I replied, “Yeah, I’ll have one asshole to go.”
L. Spiro Engine: http://lspiroengine.com
L. Spiro Engine Forums: http://lspiroengine.com/forums

#13 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6938

Like
0Likes
Like

Posted 17 August 2012 - 10:49 AM

In both of the 2 interviews for my current company I was tested via trick questions or deceitful implications.


I've seen my share, including an odd moment where the interviewer simulated that the person sitting in front of them had to settle a client's case live in front of them not telling them it was actually the VP calling from the adjacent room (and the VP sounded PISSED OFF).

But there are more decent approaches such as questions you clearly can't answer, and they test the interviewee's honesty/humility which is a crucial quality. You need to say you don't know, and how you'll manage to know (preferably by relying on your team as it is your best resource).

The on-topic thing to say is that you are ready for a job no later than the time at which you actually get a job.
That seems stupid, but think of it this way: Employers have a chance to look at your background and decide if you are ready. If they hire you, it is because they decided you are ready.
It is really pointless to ask us when you are ready. Companies hire people of all levels. My previous company hired a guy who had only 6 or so months of Java experience, before which he was a psychologist. And the company that previously hired that guy hired him with 0 experience in Java; he learned on-the-job.
Just start applying. Your best bets are small companies, but if you have bad luck even there you can explore start-up companies. Start-ups can’t be very picky about the first few programmers they hire, and they usually can’t offer a salary attractive enough for the better programmers anyway. They also offer the best growth potential.

Essentially boils the answer down to: Do you feel you're ready to work in the industry?
Love it ;)

#14 Adam Spade   Members   -  Reputation: 161

Like
0Likes
Like

Posted 18 August 2012 - 09:49 PM

Jump in and start getting more experience. Take what you can get and work your way up. That will build your resume.

Learn the business side of things as well. It will prove to be very valuable to you. It's a free world to do business so do business.

Edited by Adam Spade, 18 August 2012 - 09:54 PM.

Adam Spade

Composer, Sound Designer

http://www.adamspade.com

 

Executive Producer

Uncaged Games LLC
"Release your inner game."


#15 slayemin   Members   -  Reputation: 2147

Like
1Likes
Like

Posted 02 September 2012 - 07:12 AM

Employers have three main questions they're trying to answer about you:

1. Can you do the work required of you?
2. Would you be a good fit for the company and organizational culture?
3. Will you cause problems for the company?

Pretty much all relevant interview questions are trying to answer these three over-arching questions.

At the same time, remember that interviews are a two way street! you're also interviewing the company to see if its a place worth spending your time at. Here are the overarching questions I try to get answered as an interviewee:

1. What are working conditions like (environment, org culture, equipment, bosses, etc)?
2. Is the company stable? Does it have its shit together? (You want to get paid in full, on time and you don't want to get jerked around)
3. If I agree to work here, what are my costs going to be? (Time, money, energy, mental sanity, expertise, costs to quality of life, IP rights, freedoms etc.)
4. If I agree to work here, what can I expect to gain? (money, experience, perks, etc) Do the costs outweight the gains?
5. Why should I work here?

Note that you are an economic resource and the principle of supply and demand applies to you. The more rare and exceptional you are, the more leverage you have in negotiating to get what you want. I suspect that the biggest mistake entry level people make is undervaluing themselves.

Eric Nevala

Indie Developer | Dev blog





Old topic!
Guest, the last post of this topic is over 60 days old and at this point you may not reply in this topic. If you wish to continue this conversation start a new topic.



PARTNERS