# Is it hard to get hired

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I hear that game programming is a very competetive profession and that because a lot of people want to do it its hard to find a job. Is that true. And in general how would I start looking for a job if I've never worked in that field before. Thnx

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Tom Sloper    16040
Quote:
 Original post by VanillaSnake21I hear that game programming is a very competetive profession and that because a lot of people want to do it its hard to find a job. Is that true.

Yes. It is hard. If you want to give up, that's OK. We don't want people who are worried if it's hard or not. "Weaklings need not apply."

(Note: I'll gladly answer the 2nd part of your question if you decide that you're not worried, or a weakling, after all.)

[Edited by - tsloper on December 12, 2006 11:07:02 PM]

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Sneftel    1788
It's hard to find a game programming job, but not because there's a billion other people looking for a game programming job. Game companies are chronically understaffed. Rather, it is hard to find a game programming job because most applicants aren't good enough.

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Obscure    175
Quote:
 Original post by VanillaSnake21And in general how would I start looking for a job if I've never worked in that field before. Thnx
You go to companies web sites and click on the "Jobs" link.

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RDragon1    1205
If you know your stuff, you won't have trouble finding a job, as long as you poke around.

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Nypyren    12063
The hiring habits where I work seem to be "Oh s*** we're starting a new project and don't have quite enough people". Other than that, I don't see new faces very often. Almost nobody has *left* the company since I've been there, either, so the chances of a position opening up are slim.

If you wanted to get hired at a company that operates like that, you'd have to know when they were going to start a new project. And since new project info is usually Top Secret(tm), you may not ever hear back from that company. Sometimes (like me) you just have to get lucky with the timing (and kick as much ass as you can).

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Guest Anonymous Poster
One other thig to consider is if you are willing to do the work for the pay. The runors of long hours and low pay didn't come form nowhere.

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frob    44904
Quote:
 Original post by Anonymous PosterOne other thig to consider is if you are willing to do the work for the pay. The runors of long hours and low pay didn't come form nowhere.

If stories about a bad work environment are enough to scare you away, then you are better off in some other industry.

Even when I did database work at a large insurance company I was occasionally asked to work extra time. Even back in high school, fast food joints needed extra work to cover shifts and as a janitor sometimes somebody needed to be covered for vacation.

That said, everything really varies by company. Each company has it's own environment. Some pay well, others pay poorly. Some are high stress, some are not. Some have high morale where everybody is positive and you feel a blast of fun when entering the building, others suck the life out of you when you walk up the steps.

Two local companies are notoriously bad, where they literally do use people as slave labor for in some reports up to 100 hours per week. Several people at this place have come from there, and there are many nasty reports.

But that is not my personal experience. Perhaps I have been lucky or perhaps I have listened to other people to avoid the bad places.

I have been fortunate in that I have never been required to work long hours.

Normal work hours are 8-5 or 9-6 with a one hour lunch. Even those are flexible as long as the work gets done and people are here for the important meetings. There is a crunch time at the very end where the project managers want all the bugs fixed, and finally change the status of a bunch of bugs to KS (Known Shippable) and the few remaining critical bugs are fixed. Good project management is CRITICAL to avoid a crunch time.

There will *ALWAYS* a few times in your career that you will need to work late, or work on Saturday. No company is immune, both inside and outside of game development.

Of course you are not required to work them. Don't do the time and you might end up out of a job, but you still have a choice. What varies is the extent of 'optional'. Sometimes it is a mild request, sometimes it is a very firm stand that you should be there, and sometimes it is under threat of losing the job.

For all but one of the projects I have first-hand knowledge of, we have had optional requested extended overtime that everybody ends up taking to some extent. I have worked several Saturdays and stayed late several times, but it has always been voluntary. Very few people voluntarily spent 80+ hours, but there are a few who chose to do it.

The one project that wasn't the case was almost entirely due to bad management. The management admitted it, and had documentation to show that from day one they expected the schedule to slip because it was too much work with not enough staff. They required 12 hour work days (60 hour weeks) for the last two months, and gave a big paid vacation and perks after launch.

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Tom Sloper    16040
frob wrote:
>If stories about a bad work environment are enough to scare you away, then you are better off in some other industry.

No kidding. Look, if the OP is worried if it's hard to get hired, then he should look into some other line of work.

Pretty much anything worth doing or worth aspiring to is hard. Just asking "is it hard" means the asker is doomed to fail right from the outset.

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Kaze    948
talk to the Better Business Bureau in your area, they're very good at keeping track of business that abuse employees, are badly managed or just suck at what they do.

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Quote:
Original post by tsloper
Quote:
 Original post by VanillaSnake21I hear that game programming is a very competetive profession and that because a lot of people want to do it its hard to find a job. Is that true.

Yes. It is hard. If you want to give up, that's OK. We don't want people who are worried if it's hard or not. "Weaklings need not apply."

(Note: I'll gladly answer the 2nd part of your question if you decide that you're not worried, or a weakling, after all.)

Im didn't mean hard in the meaning that you have to work a lot and know lots of stuff about programming, what I mean was that I would prefer not to spend all my college years studying Computer Sciece or Game Design and then ending up looking for a job for 3 years. Like one of the replies said that some companies don rarely hire new people. So no, im not scared to work for I want, cuz I really enjoy game prog, but I am scared of soing all of it for nothing.

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shwasasin    482
Quote:
 Original post by VanillaSnake21I hear that game programming is a very competetive profession and that because a lot of people want to do it its hard to find a job. Is that true. And in general how would I start looking for a job if I've never worked in that field before. Thnx

If you have to ask how to look for a game programming job, you're not qualified for one.

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Tom Sloper    16040
Van wrote:
>Im didn't mean hard in the meaning that you have to work a lot and know lots of stuff about programming,

I knew what you meant. I cna raed! (~_^)

>what I mean was that I would prefer not to spend all my college years studying Computer Sciece or Game Design and then ending up looking for a job for 3 years.

That can happen, if you aren't talented enough or hardworking enough or simply either don't try hard enough or do "Stupid Wannabe Tricks" (http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson24.htm).

>Like one of the replies said that some companies don rarely hire new people.

>I am scared of soing all of it for nothing.

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Sneftel    1788
Quote:
 Original post by shwasasinIf you have to ask how to look for a game programming job, you're not qualified for one.

Oh, give me a break. What a load of bull.

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Everything worth something is difficult to achieve in life. It's something you will begin to get used to. I agree with Sneftels last post; that being said some good places to find such jobs are websites like Gamasutra. Alternatively of course you can make friends with people currently in the field as you study, and then you might find getting a job easier.

Many programmers from what I have noticed will do game programming for AWHILE not usually forever. There are exceptions of course, after doing game programming they might switch careers to something less time consuming in the same field of study. Most game programmers that are good can get a programming job probably anywhere, if they try hard enough.

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shwasasin    482
Quote:
Original post by Sneftel
Quote:
 Original post by shwasasinIf you have to ask how to look for a game programming job, you're not qualified for one.

Oh, give me a break. What a load of bull.

It's not that difficult to understand...Looking for a job is easy (ea.com, ubisoft.com, activision.com, sony.com), getting that same job is another issue.

Google should produce a good list of companies or check out IGN/Gamespot. If you cannot solve a simple problem like searching for a game company, how could you possibly be qualified to debug heap fragmentation issues, load time optimizations, and other complex tasks? Care to elaborate? I'm not trying to be a jerk, as I think it's great people want to get into the industry, but sometimes the truth needs to be said.

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sofla    117
Quote:
 Original post by VanillaSnake21I hear that game programming is a very competetive profession and that because a lot of people want to do it its hard to find a job. Is that true. And in general how would I start looking for a job if I've never worked in that field before. Thnx

A few years ago, there was a commercial that asked the question, "How do I get a job without experience? How do I get experience without a job?" I think that's what you're asking, at least in the second part of your question. In my experience, there are two answers:

- Be lucky enough to find a company that will take a chance on a newbie. Internships can help a lot with this.
- Do some game development on your own, outside of class, so that you have something to show an employer that isn't just a class assignment. Either your own game, or help out with someone else's. If all you have to show is classwork then all we really have to look at is your GPA, and that doesn't tell us anything really.

It also helps if you get to know a few people in the field you want to be in. Don't underestimate the power of networking! Go to job fairs, trade shows, etc.

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Arex    204
No it is not hard to get hired if you can proov that you are an experienced programmer. Good portfolio is a must. :)

If you are not very experienced, then you should not try aim to high. Try some summer trainee, etc. places first. After you have some experience under your belt it should not be hard to find a job. There is always need for programmers.

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Sneftel    1788
Quote:
 Original post by shwasasinIt's not that difficult to understand...Looking for a job is easy (ea.com, ubisoft.com, activision.com, sony.com), getting that same job is another issue.

Exactly. It's another issue. The world of the career search is quite a strange one for someone who isn't used to it, regardless of how great they are (or could be) as game developers. Give people at least a bit of credit: when someone says "how do I get a job" he probably doesn't mean "how do I use google to find a game studio, then click around until I find the email address for the HR person and the description of open positions and requirements". They mean "what can I do to stand out from the pack" or "what are some pitfalls I should avoid". Job hunting is not an exercise in pure problem solving. More than anything else, it's a social exercise. Sofia's response is a good illustration of this.

Sorry if my first reply was overly harsh (and I think it was). I just get rather irritated with what sometimes seems to be a culture of discouragement here when the topic of job hunting comes up. I understand the reasons for it, but I think at times we go too far in suggesting that newbies just give up now.

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Muzo72    349
Quote:
 Original post by soflaIt also helps if you get to know a few people in the field you want to be in. Don't underestimate the power of networking! Go to job fairs, trade shows, etc.

Also don't be afriad to tell everyone you know that you are looking for your first job in the industry. Every now and then Uncle George has a friend who's a lawyer that advises some game company that just happens to be looking for an intern, programmer, or whatever. Those kinds of connections can open some otherwise difficult doors.

I once found myself in a meeting at a major developer/publisher because my financial advisor happened to know the company's music executive. Who would have guessed?

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Tom Sloper    16040
Quote:
 Original post by SneftelI just get rather irritated with what sometimes seems to be a culture of discouragement here when the topic of job hunting comes up. I understand the reasons for it, but I think at times we go too far in suggesting that newbies just give up now.

I usually ENcourage the n00bs - but when a l0ser asks "is it hard," then I go the other way.

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Quote:
 Original post by SneftelI just get rather irritated with what sometimes seems to be a culture of discouragement here when the topic of job hunting comes up. I understand the reasons for it, but I think at times we go too far in suggesting that newbies just give up now.
Too far ? The OP "heard" that gamedev is competitive and wants to know if "is that true". Obviously, he knows absolutely nothing about game programming at all. Because if he knew, he would be at least partly interested in this area, and therefore would have lurked around these forums for a longer period of time, and thus wouldnt have to post so stupid questions.
I just would like to see his reaction in a real life after being told that he must first create the portfolio in his own free time (after daily work alongside his family duties), during evenings, weekends, and that its about 237 times harder than regular SQL job and that even after a year he might have absolutely shitty portfolio which wont land him a job unless being extremely lucky to find a local company ad searching for junior programmers (that shall land him a job not because of his portfolio, but his previous programming experience in DB field).
Id love to see his face when he realizes that hes gonna earn much less for a much harder work.

But actually, I wouldnt want that. Ive seen that before many times when my friends working in other fields realized what it takes to get and stay in this field.

So, back to our original problem, of whether Tom had to be so harsh in his reply, I think he was actually quite polite and far from being adequately arrogant.

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cbenoi1    484
> Pretty much anything worth doing or worth aspiring to is hard.

A friend of mine wrapped it up simply for n00bs: it's like taking up Enchanting in WoW.

Levelling up is *very* hard as you begin, but there is a point where your skills start to be in demand, and culminate in higher levels when people seek you by name.

-cb

[2. Trade]: Free [Enchant Bracers +5 Health]. Have mats. PST or inside bank UC.

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Sneftel    1788
Quote:
Quote:
 Original post by SneftelI just get rather irritated with what sometimes seems to be a culture of discouragement here when the topic of job hunting comes up. I understand the reasons for it, but I think at times we go too far in suggesting that newbies just give up now.
Too far ? The OP "heard" that gamedev is competitive and wants to know if "is that true". Obviously, he knows absolutely nothing about game programming at all. Because if he knew, he would be at least partly interested in this area, and therefore would have lurked around these forums for a longer period of time, and thus wouldnt have to post so stupid questions.
Again, this is two different skills being treated as one. Someone can know quite a bit about programming, and even have lurked around these forums or other game development communities, and not have any idea as to how competitive the hiring process for most game studios is.

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Tom Sloper    16040
Snef wrote:
>Someone can know quite a bit about programming, and even have lurked around these forums or other game development communities, and not have any idea as to how competitive the hiring process for most game studios is.

Yeah, but he figured it'd be a waste of his time to learn how to program games if he then would find it "hard" to get a job. In other words, he doesn't really want to program games out of a love of doing it. Failing to get a job at doing it, he implied, he would not go ahead anyway and program games. He doesn't have a true passion for it, he's not driven -- we don't need him to take up a job that somebody passionate and driven could have and enjoy and thrive in.