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Brokenimage

COmputer programmer: Career questions

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Brokenimage    127
Hi there! As apart of a project, I need some information on computer programming, as a career. So: The questions...if you could answer them all, that'd be great...
  • Where do you, specifically, work? what kind of programming is it?
  • What kind of tools do you use?
  • About how many hours do you work a week? Do you usually have to work overtime?
  • What kind of training do you need?
  • are the people where you work "weird"? (strange or wacky, in a good way)
  • Are you allowed to be creative in what you do?
  • do you usually put your mark (i.e., an easter egg, a comment) on what you do?
  • Finally, do you enjoy working where you do?
Thanks for your help!

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Bovine13    285
I'd really like to hear the answers to these questions as well. I assume you mean any programming in general, not just game programming, correct?

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Dogs    265
Assuming you do mean programming in general, here are my answers:

Where do you, specifically, work? what kind of programming is it?
In the UK. I'm currently contracting for an IT outsourcing firm; they develop and support all the IT for various companies. I programme in a proprietary OO language.

What kind of tools do you use?
The text editor for programming is a customised version of GNU Emacs, which includes a class browser and error reporting. Because it's a proprietary language, there are no other tools on offer.

About how many hours do you work a week? Do you usually have to work overtime?
37.5, which is standard for most jobs in the UK. I have to work out of hours about once every couple of weeks to implement changes to the system, and work on Saturdays 3-4 times a year for database maintenance.

What kind of training do you need?
When I left university, I joined an IT company as a graduate trainee. They sent me on a 3 week training course to learn the software and language. You learn a great deal on the job because, well, you have to. Training courses might look nice on your CV, but they're nothing compared to experience.

are the people where you work "weird"? (strange or wacky, in a good way)
Where I currently am, most of them are just a bit old. Strange or wacky would definitely be an improvement.

Are you allowed to be creative in what you do?
It's a pre-requisite of the job. You have to be creative to solve problems, and likewise when you're designing new developments. I think I'm quite lucky in that a) I work in a small team and b) I'm quite senior now. As a junior developer you may well be told 'do this' with everything set out for you, or you may not depending on the company. If it does happen, just remember that it's part of the learning experience, and the more willingness you show to get on with the job will lead to more responsibility and the chance to be more creative.

do you usually put your mark (i.e., an easter egg, a comment) on what you do?
Some people do, but I think that you need to be very careful as it can be highly unprofessional. One of my worst experiences was trying to debug some code where all the variables were named after Winnie-the-Pooh characters. It seems quite amusing at first, but it gets very annoying when you have no clue what 'tigger' or 'piglet' are actually referring to. Remember too that if you leave anything in code that ships with a product, the reflection is not only on you but on your company. If someone takes exception to it, then you could easily find yourself in a lot of trouble. I'd also question someone who had time to do something like that...in game development it might be pretty cool, but in business software I think it's largely a bad idea.

Finally, do you enjoy working where you do?
Yes. I'm lucky enough to really enjoy my work. The only thing I'd change at present is to have some more lively people working on the same project. At the moment it doesn't really bother me, but if I were moving to a new area and was relying on work to provide some form of social outlet then it would be much more important.

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zubair_khan    127
Hi,

Where do you, specifically, work? what kind of programming is it?
I work in Bangladesh in a company called Army Ants Studio. I am technical director and AI programmer. I mainly do administering job and ai programming.

What kind of tools do you use?
MS Visual C++ 6.0

are the people where you work "weird"? (strange or wacky, in a good way)
one of them owns snakes... lol

Are you allowed to be creative in what you do?
I am the person who decides what the other programmers are allowed to do... so... i guess i am able to be creative... hehehe

Finally, do you enjoy working where you do?
i LOVE it!



Cheers,
-Zubair-





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S1CA    1418
Quote:
Where do you, specifically, work? what kind of programming is it?


A publisher owned games studio in the North East of England, UK. I'm a senior renderer programmer on the Xbox renderer for the latest game in a very well known series of driving games.


Quote:
What kind of tools do you use?


In my own work: MS Visual Studio, Xbox XDK, AlienBrain, TestTrack Pro, MS Outlook, MS Notepad, and a number of proprietary in-house tools.


Quote:
About how many hours do you work a week? Do you usually have to work overtime?


Most of the time, between 37.5 and 40 hours per week. Overtime usually always occurs in the run up to important deadlines (up to 30 hours extra per week on top of normal hours, for up to 3 months). Most roles in the games industry aren't paid hourly, including during overtime, so you get the same amount each month regardless of whether or not you've worked twice the hours that month. But..., many companies do pay bonuses in return for important deadlines being met.


Quote:
What kind of training do you need?


In the past, quite a number of people were mostly self-taught past high school. These days, a bachelors degree in a relevent subject such as Computer Science or Mathematics as well as doing similar in your own hobby time is the minimum basic entry requirement for all programmers.


Quote:
are the people where you work "weird"? (strange or wacky, in a good way)


There are a few [wink], in particular some of the artists/animators I've worked with over the years have been quite alternative - but that's just something that comes with the territory. People still have to be professional and able to work in a team though, regardless of how "alternative" they might be.


Quote:
Are you allowed to be creative in what you do?


As a programmer, very rarely, if ever in an artistic sense.
But in terms of selecting and even inventing the best solutions to technical problems, then yes, almost daily.


Quote:
do you usually put your mark (i.e., an easter egg, a comment) on what you do?


Comments in the source code, sometimes. Easter eggs and cheats have to planned as a project-wide thing though, the publisher and even platform owner (MS, Sony, Nintendo) has to be informed of where/what they are and approve of them. Wasting RAM, wasting CPU cycles, wasting development time, and putting in untested code paths without prior planning/approval is a bad and unprofessional thing which at best would get you told off when discovered by the public but could lead to legal action against your company and you being sacked!


Quote:
Finally, do you enjoy working where you do?


Yes. It's tough work at times; the remaining bad practices in the industry are extremely annoying at times; the instability is soul destroying at times - but ultimately the bad things are [usually] balanced by working on what you enjoy/love in a [mostly] relaxed working environment with creative & talented people.

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