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How good do you have to be for a job as a game programmer


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#1 rAm_y_   Members   -  Reputation: 481

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 09:06 AM

At a game studio. I mean how can you be anything bit guru level to actually get a job as a game programmer. I am reading direct11 by Frank Luna just know. How far away would the average game programmer be from someone like Luna for instance. 



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#2 welly_59   Members   -  Reputation: 230

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 10:03 AM

How longs a piece of string? Seriously though you'd have to be bringing something to the table..

For example a friend of mine is part of a startup company developing a software solution for a certain profession . he has been getting programmers in for a day or so experience with the company and the people he ended up employing are the ones who could look at the features of the software and say 'why don't you do this?' , those people have been the ones who can prototype it in a quick timescale as well.

The last Peron he took on suggested additional API's for the software and was able to code them up within a few days.

#3 Buster2000   Members   -  Reputation: 1774

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 10:30 AM

To get through an interview and be offered a job in a games studio you need to be good.

Once you get through the door though its a different story, you will find there is a massive difference in the abilities of all the developers.  Some are absolute genius and some are shockingly bad with the majority of developers somewhere in between.



#4 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10149

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 10:47 AM

ram y, 

For an entry-level programming job, most employers expect to see a Computer Science degree (bachelors, not associates or masters).

Self-taught candidates are expected to know the equivalent of a 4-year CS degree.

By the way, I moved your post to the Game Industry Job Advice forum. You might want to have a look at this forum's FAQs.


-- 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.

#5 SeanMiddleditch   Members   -  Reputation: 7133

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 10:48 AM

You don't need to be able to write a book on game programming to be a game programmer.  Not every game developer is expected to be the lead graphics programmer or engine architect.  Most game programmers never touch a graphics API in their whole careers as part of their job, nor are they expected to design or implement any part of the core engine.  Also consider internships vs junior positions vs senior positions vs lead positions.  Show enthusiasm and some basic skills and knowledge of game development and you've got a good shot at being an intern but if you expect to be a lead you'd better have shipped at least a few (if not dozens of) AAA games and have a very strong set of leadership and technical skills



#6 kseh   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2198

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 11:00 AM

To state the obvious, visit the websites of a few game studios and check the sections where they advertise employment opportunities. They will tell you exactly what their expectations are.



#7 BHXSpecter   Members   -  Reputation: 1668

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 12:41 PM

Now they require at least a BSc in CS or equivalent. Back in the 90s that wasn't that strict. I regularly talk to guys in the industry, Jason Rubin (formerly of Naughty Dog) was telling me that the team members he worked with on Crash Bandicoot had high school diplomas while one or two didn't even finish high school and some did have college degrees. Tells you how times have changed. 


"Through vengence I was born.Through war I was trained.Through love I was found. Through death I was released. Through release I was given a purpose."


#8 jHaskell   Members   -  Reputation: 1086

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 01:06 PM


I mean how can you be anything but guru level to actually get a job as a game programmer.

 

A good development team is going to have a ratio of "Peons" to Gurus greater than 1.  That is, there are going to be more Peons than Gurus, typically anywhere from 2-4 times more.  This is because developing any professional software (games included) requires a substantial amount of what Guru types see as... let's call it menial development work that they are usually quite averse to getting involved with.

 

When I say Peon, I'm really just referring to the average Software Developer with either a BS in CS, or an equivalent amount of demonstrable experience/knowledge.

 

The non-degree path is still a viable path in today's environment, but it does require a lot more motivation, perseverance, and individual drive than the university route.



#9 emcconnell   Members   -  Reputation: 925

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 01:56 PM

It's a toss up. I've been at game companies where we wrote in C++ and the lead programmer barely knew any c++ and in general the code base was horrible   >_>

Alternatively, I've had two lead programmers who never went to college and were absolutely amazing.

 

Like the post said, it's all about getting through the interview and most of the time the interview isn't about how good of a programmer you are.



#10 BHXSpecter   Members   -  Reputation: 1668

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 03:20 PM


Like the post said, it's all about getting through the interview and most of the time the interview isn't about how good of a programmer you are.

Yeah, the interviews and tests they do normally don't have anything to do with the programming prowess, but rather your ability to understand the problem and problem solving abilities. 

Though, also, you don't have to work for a company to have a job as a game programmer. You could just look into indie teams and start programming for them or start your own game and program it. With things like kickstarter and the other crowdfunding sites, you can always try to get backed. If you are younger than 18, then just be patient, you have plenty of time to hone your skills and land your dream job.


Edited by BHXSpecter, 19 February 2014 - 03:20 PM.

"Through vengence I was born.Through war I was trained.Through love I was found. Through death I was released. Through release I was given a purpose."


#11 Godmil   Members   -  Reputation: 744

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 02:27 PM

I don't have a programming background, but from my experience I've found to get a job you just need to be able to do that job. I've got a background in science, but I got my current job as a 3D artist by just spending a couple of months learning some software and going to a company and saying 'look, I can do this.' They needed someone who could do that, then followed some brief contract work and a trial period, then a job.



#12 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 22693

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 08:34 PM

Congratulations on being an exception. I do hope your luck continues to hold.

Usually it just isn't being able to do the job. You must be the best fit among their applicants. If they have an endless stream of job applicants (as most big studios do) then finding someone with an art degree AND demonstrated talent is pretty easy.

The big difficulty about being the exception is that while you were exceptional the first time, you may not be exceptional future times. It can be harder to find jobs in the future, and those jobs very likely will not pay as well relative to others who have the degree until you have quite a few years of experience.

Being able to do the task is necessary, but you don't exist in a vacuum.

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.





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