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ageism in games industry?


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#1 timbo80   Members   -  Reputation: 113

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 12:46 PM

sorry if this has been posted before but:

as a long time gamer ive recently took the decison to do a computer science degree to start getting the relevent skills needed for a career in game programming. i am however 32, by the time the course finishes ill be in my mid 30's. what are peoples views about how age is viewed in the industry - ive heard its quite an ageist industry while other people seem to think it makes no difference.

does anybody have any experiences re age one way or the other?

regards.

T

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#2 yewbie   Members   -  Reputation: 665

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 01:28 PM

I can't speak from personal experience, more 3rd party experience.

Age doesn't seem matter if you have the right skill set and experience.
A degree alone is going to be less attractive than someone who has actual experience and a degree.
I wouldn't think age would be an issue if you know the technology the company is using and have proof of some projects have you worked on, like a portfolio.

Now if its a early 20's vs an early 30's giving me applications that have the exact same degree and skillset personally I would pick the person that has a family and would be more likely to stay with the company (Generally the older person). (Please note I only do IT hiring not programming hiring so take it with a grain of salt)

Edit: Also don't let someone talk you out of your dream you will get out of it exactly what you put into it.

Edited by yewbie, 25 October 2012 - 01:28 PM.


#3 Serapth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 5756

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 01:39 PM

I can't speak from personal experience, more 3rd party experience.

Age doesn't seem matter if you have the right skill set and experience.
A degree alone is going to be less attractive than someone who has actual experience and a degree.
I wouldn't think age would be an issue if you know the technology the company is using and have proof of some projects have you worked on, like a portfolio.

Now if its a early 20's vs an early 30's giving me applications that have the exact same degree and skillset personally I would pick the person that has a family and would be more likely to stay with the company (Generally the older person). (Please note I only do IT hiring not programming hiring so take it with a grain of salt)

Edit: Also don't let someone talk you out of your dream you will get out of it exactly what you put into it.


Depends on the firm really. If its a dev house that does death marches, they favour the young, niave and exploitable.

Let's just say, at my age now, with some of the places I worked in the past, no way in hell I would work under those conditions. Family has taken priority over career, and once you have that perspective, working a 70hour week because some idiot at marketing over promised for E3, or frankly because most managers have the management ability of small furry rodents; well, its just not too palatable. On top of that, people hire people like themselves. So if you have a group of 20-somethings making a game and they are brought in to make an assessment of potentials candidates, they will naturally be drawn to the candidate most like themselves.

Hiring people know this too, so yes in some environments youth and overenthusiasm (aka, exploitablility ) will certainly be favored. This is certainly true for entry level positions... once you've got a great deal of experience, the game changes quit a bit.

As someone who has left the industry completely, I will say in *GENERAL* in IT, ageism exists, especially at the entry level.

As you get in to more experienced positions though, the hiring process changes massively and your resume does more talking. Let's just say, if Michael Abrash interviewed at your company, the process he goes through isn't going to be the same as an entry level Joe. But then, he is probably also coming in to be your boss... ( well except of course for the fact he works for Valve, who practice quasi-organized anarchy ).

Edited by Serapth, 25 October 2012 - 01:43 PM.


#4 Anri   Members   -  Reputation: 597

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 01:43 PM

Not sure, as I am also 32(Snap!) and have just finished my Degree and now looking at finding a games job, but I did know an experienced Java programmer who was about 50-ish, and he claimed he couldn't get a job due to his age. LOL, I remember my way of saying hello was "Hmph! A Java programmer..." and he said "You must be a C++ programmer...". A really nice bloke though who encouraged me to learn Java and try Linux. I sure hope he found another programming job...his experience and skill was going to waste where we were working.

Being positive, I'm sure we still have a few years before we can start worrying. The more important thing to bare in mind is the poor economic situation at the moment - companies are playing it cheap at the moment by cutting back on labour across all fields. But even if it gets too hard to get your foot in the big studio door, there is the option of writing small games for XBox-Live(XNA+C#) or the Apple Store(Objective-C). There is always options...

#5 timbo80   Members   -  Reputation: 113

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 02:07 PM

thats all really encouraging guys, thanks for your input!

#6 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10160

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 02:42 PM

Also read FAQ 71.
-- 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.

#7 joew   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3679

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 03:36 PM

When I'm in the process of hiring I have never once taken into account a persons age. The only thing I care about it how excited they are about the position and making sure they are the absolute best fit.

#8 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 10631

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 06:33 PM

There are two things that I believe are noteworthy:

- Expectations of more aged people in terms of salary tend to be over the curve. If you are landing a new job in the game industry, it won't matter that you're in your mid 30s, you'll get a level-entry salary most likely, and this could cause tensions and frustrations.

- Expectations of employees in regard to more aged people will be that you are more senior than is actually the case. They may make the false assumption that you get paid more than you really are and somehow get frustrated by your "ignorance".

If you are ok with number 1 and willing to deal with number 2, then I'd say this won't be a problem. I'm working with a lot of programmers that are in their 40s. So long as there is no undisclosed frustration, everything works perfectly.

#9 L. Spiro   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 14263

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 04:04 AM

For your consideration, in Japan, a higher age almost always means a higher salary. You are not likely to find more than 5 job listings in which it is not said that “salary will be considered based off skills, education, and age”.
For your consideration I would also like to point out that there is nothing really stopping you from working overseas, so don’t consider my first sentence irrelevant random babbling. There is always something out there for you, but sometimes you need to broaden your horizons.

This falls inline with Tom Sloper’s FAQ post.
You are only defeated once you defeat yourself.

Also keep in mind that nothing really stops you from applying at jobs now even while you are studying.
Getting into the industry makes it easy to stay in the industry, so if you had the choice of finishing school vs. leaving school for a job in the industry, I would suggest taking the job.
It’s a bit of a mixed bag, since finishing school signifies to many employers that you can finish what you start, but:
  • If you drop out, it is an unusual case so they will be paying attention and realize you dropped out to take a job. That is usually a perfectly fine excuse—I wouldn’t hold it against anyone who dropped out in order to take an actual job in the industry, since the whole point of the education in the first place was just that: A job in the industry. You didn’t quit, you just achieved your goal sooner than planned.
  • Finishing school is so much “the norm” that it is not such a valuable trait. Finishing school means you finish what you start. Fine, but how many people do you know who didn’t finish school? If I look at a pile of applications, I just see, “He graduated from there, she graduated from here.” Nothing impresses me about the fact that they finished school. It’s normal. Everyone and his or her dog graduates. It’s not very impressive. I would only double-take if I saw an application that said this person dropped out from X university. Of course you had better have a good reason for doing so, but if your reason is #1 then it should be perfectly fine.

However as was mentioned you do need to be willing to take a lower salary.
Demanding a higher one only closes doors for you, and even if a company did agree to your salary you would only alienate your coworkers with it.
In my first company the CEO hired some guy who he himself admitted as not as skilled as I was, but he was older and the company was “desperate”.
His salary was thus higher than mine.
I resented that, because not only was I more skilled I had also been at the company for 4.5 years. My mistake was joining the company sooner rather than later? Helping it grow from infancy to its current (at the time) state?
And some guy we don’t even know is going to waltz in demanding a higher salary although he isn’t as skilled and may just quit in a year anyway?

My advice: Don’t be that guy.


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.”
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#10 Amadeus H   Members   -  Reputation: 1180

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 06:02 AM

Try to network as much as possible while you study (study-groups, conferences, or what-ever you can think that attracts people in the industry - I think there's and FAQ for it).
Your studies will net you that entry-level requirement, and those contacts you can rattle once you're finished to land you ahead of the other graduates.




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