Any advice/input/comments/quips/queries are much appreciated! Thanks.
My Current Situation…
- I’m 27
- I work in Pittsburgh, PA at an enterprise software developer as a Build and Release engineer.
- I have an interest in game design and game production.
- I have a dual major degree in Computer Science and Information Systems
- While I was in school (for computer science, yes, I know) I didn’t like programming that much, so I didn’t do any “programming on the side.” As a result, I don’t consider myself that great of a programmer.
- I have dabbled in game design all my life, but I have nothing to show for it. I could make a bunch of excuses as to why, but I’ll just leave it at “I’ve got nothing.” I’ve got a bunch of little things that aren’t polished and don’t matter and I don’t want to show them off.
- I really want out of the company I work for. I need to get out of my current job for multiple reasons, but I don’t know how to use my experience from my current company to get a job in games.
- I’ve been applying to game dev positions for a while, but avoiding contract and temp positions out of fear (if it’s this hard to get a job in game dev, do I want to be looking again in 6 months?)
Here are my options, as I see them…
- I have plenty of ideas, like everyone else, and maybe 2 or 3 ideas that are really solid and I think they would sell.
- I don’t really have the money to go indie and support myself while developing a game.So I’d have to stay at my current company while working on the indie game. Or try to get a job somewhere else in the Pittsburgh area (that isn’t games).
- It’d be harder to use any indie games (if they were 2d, which all of my ideas are) to get a AAA job later if I wanted to.
Make a mod
- I have a couple of mod ideas (one for Skyrim, one for Fallout) that I think would be great if done well.
- I would have to stay at my current company while developing this (or try to get a different job in games, see below)
- Can’t make any money off of a mod. If I end up not getting a job out of it, I’ll be right back to where I am now.
Try to get a job in AAA
- I could bite the bullet and try to get a job as a build engineer at a gaming company, even though it’s not really what I want to do. I think even if I don’t enjoy my current position maybe it’s just the company and not the job itself, and I’d enjoy it more if I were closer to game developers.
- When I read build/release engineer job descriptions for game companies, I don’t know any of their toolsets. They all use things like perforce, svn, python, etc...I don’t use any of that at my current job.
- I could “try” to swing a tools engineer job. I’ve written some tools at work, but I haven’t used C++ professionally and I haven’t used it at all in a couple of years.
- I’m not local to many game companies. And I can’t move (or convince my girlfriend to move) unless I have a job already waiting for me when I move. I may not have any kids to worry about, but I’ve got student loans and my savings isn’t big enough to live off of for more than a month or two. I’d be more than willing to take a pay cut and try to get in through QA if I knew for sure I’d have a job when I moved. People don’t hire non-local QA (nor do I expect them to).
Try to get ANY job near AAA
- I could try to get any job I can just to move closer to AAA companies.
- Then I’d be spending more time “not” working in games, but I guess it would get me closer, and it would give me time to work on my portfolio.
Get ANY other job at all
- I’d be out of my current company.
- It probably wouldn’t be games. If I send resumes out to non-game companies I can almost guarantee they’ll respond first.