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Career advice


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#1 Ussyless   Members   -  Reputation: 142

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 07:40 AM

Greetings all, i was hoping on some opinions/advice on my current plans

 

right now i'm going to start studying at uni, so next year i can start a higher level course at university

 

my plans were to, this year do two subjects of my choice in order to improve my UAC/ATAR (not sure if that's just an aus thing) and chosing subjects maths and physics

 

Next year, with my course finished, i will hope to start a bachelors or something, i was thinking a bachelor in software engineering

 

after i get my bachelors, i will look for whatever work i can get (game, or software work) using my degree, as i've heard there's a demand for qualified software engineers

 

in my free time i'd like to work on small game projects of my own throughout the whole thing, then perhaps one day become self sufficient, or use work history/qualifications/personal projects to break into the games industry 

 

my main interest would be small/unique games i could sell by myself to supplement my income, or replace it

 

anyways, any opinions/advice?



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#2 C0lumbo   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2343

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 11:21 AM

Sounds to me like you have a good plan.

 

in my free time i'd like to work on small game projects of my own throughout the whole thing

 

This is the most important part of your plan make sure that it gets a lot of your focus!



#3 VladR   Members   -  Reputation: 722

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 11:04 AM

in my free time i'd like to work on small game projects of my own throughout the whole thing, then perhaps one day become self sufficient, or use work history/qualifications/personal projects to break into the games industry

This is fantastic if you really plan to break into the gamedev.

 

It's not so fantastic, if you'd try to use that experience for some regular, 9-5,  SW programming job. Actually, gamedev exp might hurt you, since many interviewers (totally irrespective of how senior they really are in whichever language) will look at games programming as something totally inferior and "too easy", just because they don't know any better ("it's just a stupid game. It can't possibly be harder than some SQL!", "3D Engine ? I could write a 3D engine in less than a week, if I really wanted !", and so on ) .

 

I've done a lot of Interviews in my life, but the only time the interviewer really acknowledged the off-line / free-time gamedev coding results was when I applied to a 3D gfx / gamedev job.

 

In majority of other cases I used to get replies like those few above, plus "Well, it may be nice that you programmed 3d engine, toolset and several games by yourself, but that does not really say anything about your technical abilities. Can you tell me how to optimize this SQL query ? How many golf balls fit into  787 ?".

 

For these kinds of jobs, it's better to spend half of a weekend doing some quick/simple App with a lot of "hard business logic" smile.png

 

Now, I understand that at this time you can't possibly imagine not wanting to be in gamedev industry , but try and take a look into the turn-over rates (and the reasons) in gamedev....


VladR    My 3rd person action RPG on GreenLight:    http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=92951596

 


#4 VladR   Members   -  Reputation: 722

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 11:13 AM


as i've heard there's a demand for qualified software engineers

Oh, I must have missed that part in my previous post.

 

If you haven't spent last 7-10 yrs programming in your free time already, your heart is not at the right place for gamedev, thus you will find the gamedev as the worst possible fit.

 

Just go and choose some other area - Java, .NET, ...

 

GameDev is the worst possible SW area where you go to "earn money due to demand"...


VladR    My 3rd person action RPG on GreenLight:    http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=92951596

 


#5 L. Spiro   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 13953

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 05:00 PM

Allow me to slightly over-generalize, but over-generalizedly game development requires the type of passion that simply tells you, “I am a game developer.”

Over-generalizedly, if you are a good fit for the game industry, you would never consider working in any other type of software programming.  Frankly, if I could not make games—specifically games—I would simply change my career to dolphin training or work for National Geographic—something exotic, with animals, and hopefully travel (I am not kidding about this by the way).

 

VladR is also correct about the ridiculous types of questions they ask in interviews for normal software programming.  Morgan Stanley asked me in the first interview to determine how long it would take to move Mt. Fuji to Beijing given its cone radius and height and distance between it and its destination.  I replied, “Oh, so now China thinks it owns the Senkaku Islands, Okinawa, and Mt. Fuji?”  ハハハ, I didn’t actually say this—I gave a real answer.

 

 

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
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#6 Ussyless   Members   -  Reputation: 142

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 07:44 PM

i just want to clear this up, i have been programming, mainly games, and small things since i was about 12 or 13, i'm now 21, my passion does lie with game development, but also with just any programming and mathematics in general, if i can hold a good job with something i'm moderately interested in and pay the bills and work on my passion in my free time, then i'm totally gravy

 

like i said, my passion lies with game development, however i don't believe it's very realistic to just try to break straight into the industry without much more experience and work on paper

 

but yeah, as long as i can work in one of my subjects (math, programming, game dev) and have free time for my own projects, that's great

 

my ideal way of "Breaking into the industry" would be to release my own game, small or large, and continue to work on it,and hopefully gain some income/fans from it too (though i'd still do it if that didn't happen)



#7 L. Spiro   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 13953

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 05:14 PM

i don't believe it's very realistic to just try to break straight into the industry without much more experience and work on paper

Why not?
I think you have an extremely skewed perspective on how to get into the game industry as a programmer. Note that I explicitly stated “as a programmer” for a reason, which I will discuss in chapter 2 of this post.

First-off, I am not exactly sure what “work on paper” is supposed to mean but neither of its 2 meanings are valid. If you have papers from a school that show you did some work on projects while there, that is all you need. If you are trying to say “a résumé that has written on it that I have worked a job in programming before” then you are totally off base, as far as getting an entry-level position in the industry. That cascades into the “without much prior experience” bit you wrote as well.
For both points the answer is the same: No prior experience needed for an entry-level position. Read any job description for qualifications for entry-level positions.
Plus the fact that I don’t knowingly know anyone who works in game programming now but started in other types of programming. They are surely out there, even in my office, but all who I have asked have been doing only game programming.


Chapter 2: Programmers are Exceptional (in all things)
The game industry is already very lenient on the qualifications of who it hires in general, as in most fields in the industry the more important thing is a demonstration of ability/skill.
But programmers have it easier still, because not only do they get special treatment in the game industry, they get it everywhere else too. For example, Japan is strict on who it allows to enter, and engineers are required to have a Bachelor’s degree or above. Except programmers, who only need the absolute minimum qualifications (a diploma) to get able to a visa here.

Given all that, I think your plan is also overkill. There is nothing special a Bachelor’s will get you that a standard diploma won’t. Even a higher salary. While it is true that some companies pay better to those who have higher degrees:
#1: There is no reason you have to work at such a company. I’ve only worked at one such company.
#2: By the time you get to the point where you get something extra based on your degree, you will have more than enough actual hands-on work experience to more than make up for it, and possibly still be making more than the guy the same age as you who wasted 2 or 3 years in a classroom for a degree. Either way, you will be making more sooner because no one pays higher based on degrees right out of the gate. In fact, many small studios which are your best bet into the industry, won’t higher people with Bachelor’s or above because they demands too much money. Plus, what is the purpose of any extra salary you did get? You would still have less cash each month after paying off student loans for the next 12 years.

TL;BRIAABIWSFI (Too Long, But Read It All Anyway Because It Was So Frigging Interesting):
Nothing to say here.


Option #A: Spend 4 years in a classroom getting a Bachelor’s, start a job at age 26 at an entry-level salary, slowly climb in salary but live in poverty anyway as you pay off your debt, and pray that some day your degree will gain you something, knowing fully well in the back of your head that even if you ever get a raised just because of your degree you could have reached the same salary sooner based on experience alone, which always trumps degrees.
Option #B: You don’t want to know.
Option #C: Spend 1 or 2 years in a vocational college getting a diploma and start a job at age 24 at an entry-level position. Salary will likely be the same starting off but you will be 2 or 3 years younger and countless amounts of money less in debt (my diploma only cost me around $6,000). As long as you have a portfolio (which you claim to have), there is no advantage a Bachelor’s gives you in finding that first job, so you can do everything with a diploma that you could with a Bachelor’s, including moving around the world as I do, all with more cash in your pockets.

 

The choice is fairly clear.  Go with number B.

 

 

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

#8 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 22218

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 09:37 PM

Your road is unique to you.

Remember that you are not in a vacuum. When you start talking about a job at a game company you need to consider what is around you.

Are you competing against very few people or are you competing against many?

Around here there are six major universities and another five minor universities with 4+ year CS programs within a 60 minute commute, several of them highly ranked globally and offering specialties in game development or specialties in game-related topics like computer graphics. The biggest of them, the University of Utah, has ties all over the game industry and the graphics world. Around here if you want to compete you need the degree AND the portfolio.

Around here we have a huge pile of job applicants for each rare opening, many applicants with portfolios of polished hobby games in addition to a four year degree, or occasionally even a few with masters degrees in the topics we need. In these cases the people with the degree and portfolio make the short list, the people with the 2-year trade school or simple high school diploma never get called in.


This of course varies based on location. All you mentioned is somewhere in Australia; game studios in a city like Melbourne will have different applicants than a game studio in Darwin or northern Australia generally. (I don't think there are any up there...)

When the local studio needs to fill a job opening, can you guess the credentials of those who apply? What do you expect their stack of applicants looks like?

What are you doing to ensure your application is the best of the lot?

That is what matters in your personal story.

Check out my book, Game Development with Unity, aimed at beginners who want to build fun games fast.

Also check out my personal website at bryanwagstaff.com, where I write about assorted stuff.


#9 Ussyless   Members   -  Reputation: 142

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 01:47 PM

i'm basically smack bang between newcastle and sydney, approx >2 hours travel from Sydney and about 2 from Newcastle, i have been looking around casually since the start of the year for study , so far i've basically found bachelor of software engineering , and very expensive specialised courses at specialised education providers

 

as for my view of the games industry, well i'm not sure, it possibly is skewed, the way i see it (in AU at least) is- well, as far as i know, there isnt a huge game development industry here,, there's only a handful of large developers, and a few more indie developers (who i doubt hire alot), as well as rare job opportunities, and many applicants

 

however, i imagine software engineering would be a much more open field, meaning i could actually get a job, to support myself, aswell as gain some skills needed for the game industry- my main interest would be technical/mathematical, engine design, architecture sort of stuff, which i imagine would fold into software engineering quite well

 

 

but yeah, as i said, my ideal would be to have an income, and work on my own projects in the free time

 

getting a job at a game studio would be great, i just don't think it's very doable, especially within AU, ideally, i would work in an independent setting

 

 

as for portfolio-- when did i say i had a portfolio? my experience largely consists of, well, prettymuch research projects, such as researching multi-player networking, implementing the system in demo programs to refine knowledge, developing game engines, and learning how that is done, more demo programs on more subjects- math, graphics, collision detection, physics etcetera- and i don't think i kept many of them as i was constantly making new demos/examples



#10 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10062

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 02:31 PM

1. but yeah, as i said, my ideal would be to have an income, and work on my own projects in the free time
getting a job at a game studio would be great, i just don't think it's very doable, especially within AU, ideally, i would work in an independent setting
2. as for portfolio-- when did i say i had a portfolio?

 

1. Most game industry employment contracts do not permit side projects without express written clearance. So if that's what you want to do, a game job is contraindicated.

2. To whom and what part of which post are you replying to?


-- 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 Ussyless   Members   -  Reputation: 142

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 08:56 PM

l spiros post "As long as you have a portfolio (which you claim to have),"

 

as for side projects, surely if i'm a software engineer, i can develop games in my free time? they arent exactly the same industry?



#12 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10062

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 09:47 PM

Ussyless wrote:

 

as for side projects, surely if i'm a software engineer, i can develop games in my free time? they arent exactly the same industry?

 

 

What I said was:

 

 

Most game industry employment contracts do not permit side projects without express written clearance.

 

I cannot tell you what a "software engineering employment contract" might contain. If you are already employed, you can simply read your contract, and discuss this question with your employer.


Edited by Tom Sloper, 05 June 2013 - 09:47 PM.

-- 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.




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