This should really be no big surprise. According to some reports, over 5000 people were laid off in the game industry alone in 2008. There were 10,000 layoffs from Microsoft alone. The result is that the job market for both game programming and general IT has been flooded with job seekers. Employers have pretty much had the ability to hand-pick each position from tens, if not hundreds, of applicants.
This knowledge made it a little easier to accept 300 rejections, but I have to admit I was feeling pretty discouraged. In less that 1 year my game programming career seemed to be over! I figured this was another world record: world's shortest game career.
Of the 300 positions, about 75 were for general programming positions in IT. As much as I wanted to stay in the game industry, I needed a job even worse. So, I figured I would have to go back into the world of business programming.
One thing that surprised me is that I did not receive a single inquiry regarding any of the general programming jobs I had applied for. All of the followup I received was for game-related jobs. I expected it to be the other way around. As it turns out, being a game programmer apparently has the advantage of being a specialty. There are far more general programmers out there to fill IT positions, which probably explains why I didn't get a single bite for any of those jobs. However, game programming is a specialized field, and this means that there are fewer game programmers out there to fill those jobs. So, even though I kept getting turned down, at least I was getting interviews!
Well, the GOOD news is that my persistence finally paid off. Yesterday I received a job offer from Other Ocean Interactive, a game company in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Those of you who have been following my blog may recognize the name of this company--it is the same company my son works for. So, there's probably another world record: the first father-son programming team working for the same company in the game industry!
Having my son working at Other Ocean was either going to work for me or work against me...it all depended on what the company felt about hiring family members. But one thing is for sure...I got this job not only because I was qualified, but because of who I knew. So, yes, I am still a strong believer in the power of networking. I have tried to keep track of everyone I met or talked to during my job hunt because this surely won't be the last time I need to find work!
So, the adventure begins again! I start work at Other Ocean as soon as I can get my Canadian visa, which will probably take about a month. Stay tuned for the further adventures. If you're out there and still trying to find a job, keep the faith and keep hammering away. If possible, don't compromise and hold out for the job you love instead of the job you have to settle for.