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d3dm33t

Getting foot in the door

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I am a college student with one year left in Computer Science. I would like to get into the games industry. Right now I am a beta tester for a few gamming companies. What is the best way to list this on my resume? I relize I can't discuss games before they are released, but what would be the best way to list games that I have beta tested for and have been released? Any help would be appreciated.

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Besy way I'd say is to have something along the lines of Beta tester for company X, (references avaliable upon request) - where you have a reference to someone in that company (upper management) that can vouche that you indeed did beta test. So if someone wants to know whether or not you really did, you can refer them to your old company. You could also get something like a letter of reccomendation as proof (not sure what the proper term for it is in the business world).

But yea, you don't want to go discussing stuff, so that's why you add the "avaliable upon request", where you can either get them to sign a NDA or something of that sort if you go into the details or show work (assuming the old company lets you and such).

Just my idea, I'm not an expert at these things though..., but it's what I would do [wink]

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BTW, if you really want to look good to a games company, you should have some nice code samples and demos prepared. Beta testing games doesn't really look as desirable as experience and skills on your resume (but it definately doesn't hurt). Since you will be coming straight out of college, you should make up for your lack of development experience in the industry by showing your development skills.

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I am working on that now actually. It's just hard to know I am learning the riht things. I have been programming since I was 10 (about 20 years off and on) but when I got to college it seemed like everything I learned was wrong.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
In youre last sessions in computer science, you are not offered stages by companies? This is often the best way to at least get a kick-start for actual work experience. And sometimes, the said company might just hire you at the end of it.
Many companies consider stages as valid work experience, but some dont...

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The most important thing trying to get into the industry, bar none, is a strong portfolio. Show your skills, and show that you can see a moderate project through to completion. To that end, you want to show at least one complete game thats polished to at least indie quality, get some good graphics if you can, but they're not a must for a programmer as long as it is polished on a technical level. Then, if you want to show off your understanding of some other things you can do so with what are basically tech demos, which are good to show that you can research, undertand and then impliment a technology. Some good starter examples for things such as this would be: a pathfinding demo, data structures like trees (red-black, KD), a particle system. Basically something small in scope, but at a reasonable complexity to show off your skills.

If you can, do something a little unexpected as one of the pieces, for example, I recently applied for a position which will be working on some fairly limited hardware with a video system similar to early consoles. One of my demos was a GPU simulator, which was basically an emulator for a video chip of my own design and inspired by the NES, SNES and Genesis GPUs. Then, I worte a clone of the first level of super mario brothers that ran through the GPU simulator, and added a parrallax scrolling background. It was a unique submission and it caught their eye along with my other submission. I got the position, in fact, they even added an additional position for me because they had been filled already.

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Are you asking for help writing your resume, or help actually getting a job?

If it's actually getting a job, I have two words: cell phones. Cell phone game places are popping up everywhere, they all want to grow, so they are all hiring programmers. Furthermore, cell phone games haven't been around as long as consoles, so you aren't competing with guys that have years of direct experience.

I got my first "real" programming job at a cell phone game place in 2003, based almost entirely on how well I did during the interview. As a side note, that company didn't ask to see my demo.

Then after you do cell phone games for a while, you'll have earned that invaluable "professional experience", and you can apply for any game job you want.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Don't forget the ever popular knowing someone in the industry. This is the quickest way to get your foot in the door. Since you've been a tester, you might have made these contacts.

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