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NanoH

The Game Industry: Getting a Job

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NanoH    138
I have been part of the gamedev community for a while now. Today I registered a new account to see if I can help out and give back. I can assist you in deciding what kind of job, how to get it, and what to ask for. I am currently the Recruitment Manager at a large-scale MMO developer that is expanding exponentially. I have worked at several triple-A developers in the same position as well as in some other capacities. Need resume or portfolio help? Not sure what you need as qualifications or experience to move on to the next step? Do you have some questions about the video game industry? Just a quick disclaimer; this is advice based on my experience and from the experience of others around me. It's by no means the best and only advice to follow. You can use it or not, and that's the great part about advice! Ask away! [Edited by - NanoH on October 12, 2007 10:59:15 AM]

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Sephyx    114
Ok, here's one. In your case since you work with a company that is doing a MMO, which I can only assume is RPG based, what is the best route of getting on with the team as a game balance designer, also, what is more important, degree, or solid portfolio?

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nsmadsen    5578
Hi NanoH,

I'm glad to see that you're wanting to give back and what I'm about to ask is not intended as an insult in any way. You say that you've been a part of the gamedev community and have worked with several triple-A developers. Congrats, this is a large feat in itself! However, you don't list any of your credentials and I find that odd. I think listing specifics would help others learn more about you and be more likely to seek your help. Care to share?

Again, I'm not trying to be rude, its just that I've been on this forum for a decent amount of time (over a year) and haven't come across you or your work yet.

I'm a professional composer-sound designer who has worked on Nintendo DS, Sony PSP , web based and PC video games. I also work a great deal in the anime sector. To learn more about me and my work check out: www.madsenstudios.com

If you know of any audio positions, I'm always interested!

Thanks,

Nathan

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nsmadsen    5578
Sephyx- A solid portfolio is WAY more important than a degree, every single time. Every company I've worked for (both large and small) has been more concerned about WHAT I can do rather than where or what I studied.

Now the important question for you to ask is: do you have to get the degree to be able to have a solid, professional demo? That depends on you. Some people can learn everything on their own and don't have to study at college or trade schools. Others completely fall apart in that environment and have to attend some formal school. Only you know what category you fall into.

Best of luck!

Nathan

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Jarrod1937    522
Quote:
Original post by nsmadsen
However, you don't list any of your credentials and I find that odd. I think listing specifics would help others learn more about you and be more likely to seek your help. Care to share?


yep, same thing i was waiting for. Not to be rude, but we get lots of "pretenders" around here.
However, i believe your advice will speak for itself, hard to pretend to be knowledgeable.
Here's one for you, what kind of qualifications are developers looking for in each of these applications?
1.)Photoshop
and
2.)3ds max

It would be interesting to know what skills to focus on.

Next i have been wondering, how much would a completed game under my belt, before my actual career starts, count? Meaning i am currently in a very good position to have a completed project, and am curious how much this would help my chances of landing a job. I figure it will increase my chances, just wondering how much.

Next what is the best media and method for showing one's portfolio? If purely computer based what methods would you recommend?

i'm sure i ahev lots more, but must get some sleep.

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GPxz    100
Quote:
Original post by nsmadsen
Sephyx- A solid portfolio is WAY more important than a degree, every single time. Every company I've worked for (both large and small) has been more concerned about WHAT I can do rather than where or what I studied.

Now the important question for you to ask is: do you have to get the degree to be able to have a solid, professional demo? That depends on you. Some people can learn everything on their own and don't have to study at college or trade schools. Others completely fall apart in that environment and have to attend some formal school. Only you know what category you fall into.

Best of luck!

Nathan


A self-taught with portfolio, but no degree, has good chances of getting a job in the game industry?

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JWalsh    498
I'm watching this thread. If NanoH proves not to be who he says he is, I'll be happy to answer your questions for you and put the smack down on him at the same time.

Cheers!

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Giedrius    164
Quote:
Original post by GPxz
A self-taught with portfolio, but no degree, has good chances of getting a job in the game industry?


And does this apply for programmers?

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NanoH    138
Sure, I don't mind sharing some of my portfilio and resume. I didn't want it to seem like I am currently advertising our project, which I'm sure is a common thing on large forums.

I am, at the moment, the HR/RM for Utherverse Digital. We are an MMO/Constant Reality company that has currently over-taken SL and is expanding exponentially. You can e-mail me at nanoh@utherverse.com or ICQ me, 3635580 if you have specific questions that you don't want to post on a public board. I'm at this company to be ground floor in something huge and because of the company culture.

I have worked for several large companies, both Canadian and American, and if you would like to talk about my experience and how it can help you make better decisions, please feel free to contact me. I don't feel comfortable having my Resume or Portfolio public, but if you would like to view it, don't be afraid to send me a message! I am more than willing to share if it can help others attain their goals, which is why I love my position.

I have been a long-time lurker and short time poster, as is apparant. ;)

I'll answer the rest of the questions in short order as soon as I'm done some typing.

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d000hg    1199
Quote:
Original post by Giedrius
Quote:
Original post by GPxz
A self-taught with portfolio, but no degree, has good chances of getting a job in the game industry?


And does this apply for programmers?
IF you can get anyone to look at your application... that's the big problem. When you get 10 applications a day you can't afford to play every demo - you skim the CV/resume and make a very quick decision if it's interesting. Anything negative is enough to get you skipped. I guess a good recruitment firm might me able to get you over this hurdle.

This is all programmer-based - I don't know how it works for artists.

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NanoH    138
Quote:
Original post by NanoH
Sure, I don't mind sharing some of my portfilio and resume. I didn't want it to seem like I am currently advertising our project, which I'm sure is a common thing on large forums.

I am, at the moment, the HR/RM for Utherverse Digital. We are an MMO/Constant Reality company that has currently over-taken SL and is expanding exponentially. You can e-mail me at nanoh@utherverse.com or ICQ me, 3635580 if you have specific questions that you don't want to post on a public board. I'm at this company to be ground floor in something huge and because of the company culture.

I have worked for several large companies, both Canadian and American, and if you would like to talk about my experience and how it can help you make better decisions, please feel free to contact me. I don't feel comfortable having my Resume or Portfolio public, but if you would like to view it, don't be afraid to send me a message! I am more than willing to share if it can help others attain their goals, which is why I love my position.




Here we go!

Sephyx:

Based on my experience only, I would say a portfolio is much more important than a degree. Many talented artists, programmers, and designers have not completed basic education such as high school (quick edit: but lots go on to secondary education in different or related fields!). But yet, they are in high demand in our industry.

When I receive a portfolio package, I look at the demo disc or enclosed art portfolio before I do the resume which includes their education.

I am pretty firm believer that art and design school, such as AI and others, can give you a step up in the networking department. It can also help with your skills. But if you are missing the critical elements that make a genius programmer or natural artist there is not much they can do help you in terms of getting a leg over the competition.

As for your specific designer question, that's a hard one. Only a few companies have the size and capacity to have a game balance designer. RTS developers are the first that come to mind. As an entry in the market, I'd recommend any design position that is available. From there, you can weasel your way into the position that influences balance and design choices. At most smaller companies or non-RTS specific companies that position is probably just a designer.

Some things that would be beneficial to you, as a balancer, would be a good knowledge of classical games and board games. Chess, checkers, risk, ect. I am sure you have heard it before. But in a critical balance position, this is important. You have to know what rules and checks affect games and why.

Hope this helps!


nsmadsen:

Please e-mail me if you are interested in qualifications. I feel uncomfortable having my address and phone number on the internet at the moment.

You are totally correct though; the portfolio matters much more than the school name attached to it. Whether the applicant can accomplish that portfolio without the school completely depends on who it is!

For some people art, design or programming school is a great choice. For others who are naturals at what they do school should be a thought if they can't find appropriate positions in the industry. I went to school, and it was a good choice for me, but maybe not for others.


Jarrod1937:

While I can't answer specific questions related to Photoshop, I do know what our art department is looking for currently. Attractive but low poly models are in demand. As our engine needs to render up to several hundred avatars at any given time that are ideally user customizable, the lower poly the better.

Since I'm not an art lead and can't give you specifics like they can, I will give you a story instead that really sticks in my memory.

The director and I went to a local portfolio showcase that had designers, artists and programmers portfolios and projects on display. Out of the several hundred there, only one modeler portfolio really stuck out. The young lady had taken a risk and gone where no one else had. She had modeled a Victoria Secret runway model while everyone else had done penguins and donkeys.

The director was immediately interested. She had gone out of bounds to create something edgy and creative. It was impressively done, low poly but still good looking, and very applicable to our current project.

We offered an interview on the spot.

As for specific qualifications regarding 3DMax, the title is not as important as what you can do with it. We will gladly overlook a certificate paper if you can produce the product we would look for in a timely matter. If you would like a better idea on what you should concentrate on specifically regarding modeling and art in general, please e-mail or PM me and I will put you in touch with our art lead.


GPxz:

As with the questions above, it depends on the portfolio! The quality of the portfolio, in my experience, has a much heavier weight than the paper attached to it. If you are self taught but can output a higher quality audio, art, designer or code product than someone who went to school, welcome aboard!

School, in my opinion, is great for networking and for developing skills you haven't worked on before. Naturals are naturals; if someone is a great artist or programmer there isn't going to be alot that a school will be able to teach you.

Your chances depend on the work you put into your portfolio and resume. School or no school, it depends on your skills and presentation.


JWalsh:

By the bike racks. 3PM. ;)


Giedrius:

Absolutely. The last two programmers we have hired have no formal education and have both dropped out of high school. They were immediately picked up by companies, but I do think that is pretty rare.

It's a case by case scenario. Are you a great programmer who can get a position you will be happy with in the industry without a secondary education? Then, obviously, you shouldn't need school. But as above, it's a great networking opportunity and a chance to learn things you wouldn't know otherwise.

If, without school, you can create a demo/portfolio/resume that shows your competence, skill and talent that deserves a place in our industry at a position you would be happy to be in then good for you! But if that was the case, you already know it and have an offer or two in your pocket. And we should be doing a meet-and-dinner soon. ;)


d000hg-

You're right, and it's pretty position irrelevant. If you have spelling mistakes, blatant errors or nothing interesting that stands out you can get thrown in the pile if the company you applying to receives alot of correspondence.

Alot of what I am looking for when I view resumes and portfolios depends on the project, the position and what I put in our recruitment advertisement. If I am trying to find a programmer with gobs of .net experience, I will be a quite a bit more lenient on personality and interest factors when considering a first quick view at their demo or resume.

If we are trying to find a level designer or modeler, the old adage is right. If you don't capture my attention in the first couple seconds you are going to hit the maybe pile.

Are you more than qualified for the position? Sure. Am I going to miss great hires at low rates by doing this? Absolutely. But when you are wading through 30 demos a day and have other responsibilities, it simply comes down to a time issue. You go to the interview or the no pile based on what's on your demo case or your resume based on first impressions.

At larger companies where there is a more diverse and appropriate HR and hiring team they may have time to spend a couple minutes investigating each entry. I don't however, and so as unfortunate as it is I can't spend the time I'd like to viewing all the applications that are sent our way.

[Edited by - NanoH on October 30, 2007 4:24:31 PM]

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Nokill    126
Ok here goe's how would I get into a existing company as a game designer.
I'm now working on Clan Arena and have some contacts in the game industry.

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RedDrake    386
Ok, now it's my turn for a question :D

In your opinion do I have any chance of getting a non-entry level job without any commercial project experience ?
That is - you stress the importance of a quality demo in your application - but can it make up for the lack of the industry experience.
Theoretically, I wouldn't mind working as a entry level programmer, that is I wouldn't mind the lower paycheck, but I would hate to be the "new guy" that does all of the grunt work, writes some stupid utility stuff like math classes, memory managers and brings coffee to everyone in the office. I had enough of that sort of treatment trough high school. I would really like to work in the graphics field and be involved in the general design decisions and similar stuff that makes gamedev worth the time invested in learning. Now if i stated this during my interview or in my job application, I am afraid I might come off as too cocky/self-confident and that's something i think should be avoided (but I could be wrong). I know that I might not be able to contribute right away, but i will definitely dedicate my self to learn as fast as possible, and being in the loop with senior programmers would greatly speed up the process.

So any tips on how to avoid getting the "new guy" treatment at work ?

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nsmadsen    5578
GPxz (and others): I agree with NanoH about the portfolio, but I think some are reading too quickly or jumping to conclusions. Notice that I said you do have to be highly skilled to get a job- regardless of a formal or informal education. I think some are reading this and jumping to the conclusion, "no formal education is needed to get into the industry!" But there is so much more to it than this.

I think most people cannot get to the skill level needed on their own, that some kind of formal training is required. I also think that having some kind of degree (two year or four year) will help add credibility to your work, but it isn't everything.

I know it probably seems that I'm jumping back and forth between the two- but the total package is what is most important to companies. For example there are two composer-sound designers in my dept: me and one other guy. I have a masters degree in music and have studied a ton. The other guy is still attending school for his bachelors degree in music. We both have a job doing the same thing. Why? Because we both have the needed skills to be able to do that job well.

What I would concern myself with, as someone wanting to get into this industry is:

1) What skills do I need to do the job I want?

2) What other skills can I also learn to make myself more marketable.

3) Compare your demo reel (or portfolio) to professional standards in the industry. Does it match up or fall short?

4) Does the demo reel show a variety of styles, approaches and skills? If not, then you need to re-work it so it does. Versatility is very attractive.

5) Do you have anything that will help you stand out in the crowd of other applicants- even there are many equally or more talented that you? This can be where you studied, or a special skill set, etc.

(Please note that I'm keeping this kinda vague so the advice can apply to most positions in the gaming field.)

A personal note: I can tell you how I got my job, which will show how some of these points apply to real life. I applied for the composer-sound designer position and already had an online demo that featured 18 songs (all in various styles and moods). The employer checked out my work and my resume and was interested enough to talk to me on the phone. After two phone interviews, where I was hopefully charming and friendly, we had an interview in person.

After a while the job search came down to two people: me and this other guy. I learned later that I got the job because:

1) I worked fast. The manager gave both of us a trial project to score completely. He gave us one week to try two runs at it. I got my done in two days. This impressed the crew. The other worked much slower.

2) I looked presentable and professional. The team told me (after having worked there for a while) that the other guy dressed very poorly for his interviews and actually smelled really bad. "Like old cheese" was an actual quote. Remember, the company is hiring you for the total package, and nobody wants to work next to a stinky person. It isn't fun and it makes the company look sloppy and unprofessional.

3) I was friendly. The other guy, on top of everything else, wasn't open and friendly with the crew. My company, as most, really strives to build teams that get along great. My team (which is about 6 people in total) hang out all of the time. We really enjoy each other's company and this makes us work better.

4) I was honest. In the interview, my boss asked me if I could do a certain skill and I said "no, but I'll learn it." I didn't try and BS him and he said he really liked that I was comfortable enough to say "I don't know everything, but will learn what you need me to." Some people think you have to be super employee and know everything single facet to land a job. This is not true. Nobody is perfect and the company just wants to know they're hiring someone that can perform most of the needed skills and is open minded enough to learn the others well and FAST.

This is getting long so I'll wrap up: My main point is a degree isn't everything and nor is just having the ability to do certain skills. Approach hiring as if you were making the decision. When prepping for a job make sure everything you present is a positive, and that you're open and eager enough to better yourself for the betterment of the company.

I hope that gives you some more ideas. It's worked for me at least! :)

Nathan

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NanoH    138
Quote:
Original post by nsmadsen
GPxz (and others): I agree with NanoH about the portfolio, but I think some are reading too quickly or jumping to conclusions. Notice that I said you do have to be highly skilled to get a job- regardless of a formal or informal education. I think some are reading this and jumping to the conclusion, "no formal education is needed to get into the industry!" But there is so much more to it than this.

I think most people cannot get to the skill level needed on their own, that some kind of formal training is required. I also think that having some kind of degree (two year or four year) will help add credibility to your work, but it isn't everything.
Nathan


This is great advice. School and training really comes down to the individual. If you're talented enough to get into the industry without school, you can still benefit alot by going. Networking, side skills, other relevant material. It can all be picked up by going. Similarly, I'm sure there are people who should have gone to school but instead started applying for jobs and got one!

As I put in the long post, I tend to look more at the portfolio than the school name attached it.


Nokill:

A great portfolio and perseverance should get you in the door of an establish company. Follow their website and forum posts to see when they are ramping up for their next project and start firing off your resume for the designer positions. Focus on the work you have done to showcase your talents.

If you are applying for several positions, customize the cover letter a bit for each one. They are different positions, so they are entitled to a different letter. It's pretty transparent when I receive 4 or 5 e-mails in a row with the same cover letter and resume but for different positions. That candidate most likely isn't taking the time to read my postings and put the effort into even adding the company name into the letter.

You might also want to change your portfolio a bit depending on where you are applying. A portfolio you might send to Rock Star would be very different compared to one you want to send to a company that makes Chess sims.


RedDrake:

It really depends on the company if you will receive treatment like that. It's not a great feeling!

However, it may be necessary in some situations to start at the bottom and work your way up. I would be pretty hesitant to offer a non-entry position to someone without commercial experience. I have never been in the situation where someone had an amazing portfolio but had yet to be on a game team.

Thinking about it, the current company I work for would most likely still have them start in a junior position until they are comfortable with the work they will be doing and then have them move up.

There are lots of eligible SE1/SE2s with commercial experience and great code samples/portfolios that you would most likely be competing against for the position.

My advice would be to find a smaller company where you can take on several different kinds of responsibilities and put in your time there. They are usually more casual, open to ideas and flexible than larger companies. The most important part is to learn as much as you can from them.

Once you have enough experience and have a commercial product under your belt, it may be time to move on to other positions that don't involve bringing an AP coffee.

I do know one gentleman who came from cable internet sales and went straight to being a development director. So hey, it happens!

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Promit    13246
Quote:
Original post by RedDrake
writes some stupid utility stuff like math classes, memory managers
Stupid utility stuff? Those things are at the very core of the game, and extremely important to get both correct and brutally efficient. Those aren't jobs for a newbie; newbies aren't good enough to write that code.

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NanoH    138
Quote:
Original post by Promit
Quote:
Original post by RedDrake
writes some stupid utility stuff like math classes, memory managers
Stupid utility stuff? Those things are at the very core of the game, and extremely important to get both correct and brutally efficient. Those aren't jobs for a newbie; newbies aren't good enough to write that code.


Very true. Tools and app programmers usually aren't junior members of the code team. They need to be quick, efficient and good at what they do.

It's an important position!

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Maverick_24    100
Quote:
Original post by RedDrake
Theoretically, I wouldn't mind working as a entry level programmer, that is I wouldn't mind the lower paycheck, but I would hate to be the "new guy" that does all of the grunt work, writes some stupid utility stuff like math classes, memory managers and brings coffee to everyone in the office. I had enough of that sort of treatment trough high school. I would really like to work in the graphics field and be involved in the general design decisions and similar stuff that makes gamedev worth the time invested in learning. Now if i stated this during my interview or in my job application, I am afraid I might come off as too cocky/self-confident and that's something i think should be avoided (but I could be wrong). I know that I might not be able to contribute right away, but i will definitely dedicate my self to learn as fast as possible, and being in the loop with senior programmers would greatly speed up the process.


act professionally at work and you will probably be treated professionally.....it's not a fraternity.

if someone offers you an entry level programmer job, i would say take it.....actually i take that back, it would be hilarious if they offered you the job and you replied "no thanks, i think i'll hold out for that senior game designer position....."

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pinacolada    834
Hey I'm actually thinking of moving to Vancouver (in a few years). I don't know if that's where you are now, but it says you're from there.

My question is, how would you compare the experience working in Canada versus in America? And specifically, how do you rate the game industry presence in Vancouver? And any other insight for someone thinking of moving north? Thanks!

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jpetrie    13104
Quote:

In your opinion do I have any chance of getting a non-entry level job without any commercial project experience ? That is - you stress the importance of a quality demo in your application - but can it make up for the lack of the industry experience.

Short answer: no.
Longer answer: Unlikely. Experience is a very powerful asset; upper-level positions require understanding of more than just "how to program," they require you to have an understanding of the process of developing commericial games. If your experience consists solely of your own demos and hobby projects, that's great -- it's still useful and beneficial experience. But it doesn't impart upon you the experience of actual, large commericial project development.

If you want a non-entry-level position, you need non-entry-level experience. You have to get that experience by working at entry-level positions and moving up.

Quote:

Theoretically, I wouldn't mind working as a entry level programmer, that is I wouldn't mind the lower paycheck, but I would hate to be the "new guy" that does all of the grunt work, writes some stupid utility stuff like math classes, memory managers and brings coffee to everyone in the office.

You will be the "new guy," period. Regardless of the job title. As Promit noted, those subsystems you mentioned are rarely actually delegated to juniors. They are, when they exist (and they almost always do in most commericial games in one form or another), generally handled by experienced and accomplished developers who are familiar with the studios technology.

Nobody will make you get them coffee. Frankly, I've never seen any studio or company that actually employs people to get coffee. Facilities people to stock the kitchen every week or so, sure, but that's it. Nobody is stupid enough to pay an engineer's salary (even an entry-level engineers salary) to have you fetch them coffee. If you ever find yourself in that position, quit immediately, because that studio will shortly be going down in a ball of fire more spectacular than anything Romero could mastermind.

Quote:

I would really like to work in the graphics field and be involved in the general design decisions and similar stuff that makes gamedev worth the time invested in learning.

Graphics isn't neccessarily something you get into as an entry level position either, but it depends what exactly you mean. If you work at a decent studio, it will always be possible for you to provide input, either via team meetings or via your direct superior or whatever. You will not be afforded the power of decision making, except hopefully within the local scope of whatever task you've been assigned (within the requirements), but to expect otherwise as a junior is folly.

[qoute]
Now if i stated this during my interview or in my job application, I am afraid I might come off as too cocky/self-confident and that's something i think should be avoided (but I could be wrong).
[/quote]
Primarily depends on how you state it. You can easily come off as arrogant, in which case you will likely be passed over if there are people available with better apparant personalities, sure. But expressing your desires and goals is generally considered a good thing, because it shows you have ambition and drive. Never lie during an interview about anything. Obviously, you don't want to lie about your technical qualifications -- that's easy to discover. But in my experience, lying about your goals or your desires or your ambitions -- either to interviewers or yourself works out to be... unpleasant. Put everything on the table. If they ask you where you see yourself in five years, and you see yourself running your own studio, tell them that. It may matter to them -- they may want somebody who wants to be a lifer, or whatever. In which case, you may not get the job. But you didn't want that job anyway, because they job and its expectations they would have offered you are not the job and expecations you are comfortable with.

Besides, there are plenty of opportunities for qualified people; don't be overly concerned (in general) about getting offers for every interview. In the end, you can only accept one, and you want that one to be a good fit. Trust me.

Quote:

being in the loop with senior programmers would greatly speed up the process.

You should be in the loop regardless, in some form or another. Communication is critical in the software development industy; nobody is going to shove you into a closet and never talk to you.

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Maverick_24    100
Quote:

If you ever find yourself in that position, quit immediately, because that studio will shortly be going down in a ball of fire more spectacular than anything Romero could mastermind.

hilarious

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wilzoon    122
Quote:
Original post by nsmadsen


What I would concern myself with, as someone wanting to get into this industry is:

1) What skills do I need to do the job I want?

2) What other skills can I also learn to make myself more marketable.

3) Compare your demo reel (or portfolio) to professional standards in the industry. Does it match up or fall short?

4) Does the demo reel show a variety of styles, approaches and skills? If not, then you need to re-work it so it does. Versatility is very attractive.

5) Do you have anything that will help you stand out in the crowd of other applicants- even there are many equally or more talented that you? This can be where you studied, or a special skill set, etc.


After a while the job search came down to two people: me and this other guy. I learned later that I got the job because:

1) I worked fast. The manager gave both of us a trial project to score completely. He gave us one week to try two runs at it. I got my done in two days. This impressed the crew. The other worked much slower.

2) I looked presentable and professional. The team told me (after having worked there for a while) that the other guy dressed very poorly for his interviews and actually smelled really bad. "Like old cheese" was an actual quote. Remember, the company is hiring you for the total package, and nobody wants to work next to a stinky person. It isn't fun and it makes the company look sloppy and unprofessional.

3) I was friendly. The other guy, on top of everything else, wasn't open and friendly with the crew. My company, as most, really strives to build teams that get along great. My team (which is about 6 people in total) hang out all of the time. We really enjoy each other's company and this makes us work better.

4) I was honest. In the interview, my boss asked me if I could do a certain skill and I said "no, but I'll learn it." I didn't try and BS him and he said he really liked that I was comfortable enough to say "I don't know everything, but will learn what you need me to." Some people think you have to be super employee and know everything single facet to land a job. This is not true. Nobody is perfect and the company just wants to know they're hiring someone that can perform most of the needed skills and is open minded enough to learn the others well and FAST.

This is getting long so I'll wrap up: My main point is a degree isn't everything and nor is just having the ability to do certain skills. Approach hiring as if you were making the decision. When prepping for a job make sure everything you present is a positive, and that you're open and eager enough to better yourself for the betterment of the company.

I hope that gives you some more ideas. It's worked for me at least! :)

Nathan


Thanks a lot for the tips, Nathan! Now I know my mistakes at my first interview, I guess I wasn't friendly enough since my nerves struck me really hard :(.

P.S: NanoH, I have pmed you, please check your inbox, thanks :)

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erlend_sh    273
A really great discussion has been set into motion here. Kudos to you NanoH for getting it started, and to everyone else having asked and answered valid questions. It's been a very enjoyable read.

Now, I feel like there's been some repetitions lately though. One thing in perticular that is nailed into my mind now is:
- As always, a first impression can be everything. That goes for interviews, portfolios, resumés, first time at the job, you name it.
- Education is never negative, but it's not always a big plus. Most importantly, once you've got the employer's attention, what you want to do is illustrate in the best (yet maybe shortest) manner possible that you are ragingly experienced and competent, but not necessarily educated. To me, a degree is more like one of many ways of proving your competence, but a very good one at that.


Now, here's some things just at the back of my head that I figured I'd bring into the light:
- "Never give up" is a very nice saying, but it will get you further and further down for every new try you make if you retry every time with the very same approach. A company won't suddenly hire you after your 3rd try if you've kept sending them basically the same application. For every time you try again, you should have at least done something different to your application that is of some significance. It could be such as:
- Rewriting just the beginning of your application, going for a better first impression.
- Having added more work to your portfolio, preferrably something that is relevant to the game(s) the company is making.
- If the company rejected your application with a comment, like "your age got us worried" or "you say you can animate but there are no examples of animated models", then you have to address these issues, and when you resend your application, the reader should know as soon as possible that these issues has been taken into account.

-And as mentioned here already, few can afford to be picky when applying for a job. An excellent example of this is Joel Bylos working as Quest Designer for Age of Conan, the most anticipated online MMO to date.
Quote:
MMORPG.com:
What was your first job in games? What other games have you worked on?

Joel Bylos:
Dare I admit that Conan is my first? I made a lot of modules for NWN back in the day, and I've also written several short films and stories, but Conan is my first foray into the world of professional game design.

MMORPG.com:
What is your job at Funcom? How did you get your foot in the door?

Joel Bylos:
My job is Quest Design which covers both design and implementation of quests. In addition to that I write dialogue, which is an absolute pleasure.

I got my foot in the door by being persistent and not giving up on my career choice. My first application to Funcom didn't even net me an interview (it was for the position of Item Designer). My second application got me an interview and, eventually, the job.
I think this goes to show that if people are truly passionate about what they do, there is a place for them in this industry.
- This is an excellent example of how you can easily renew yourself, by simply going for a different position. Maybe you find it a bit tedious work, maybe you feel that your talents aren't used to their fullest, but come on, it's all about getting that foot in the door right? Well, if you settle with a job you really despise, you'll soon find yourself lying on the ground because your foot got completely smashed when the door slammed shut...

Hm, I was kinda hoping to make a more proper short-listing of the important points that have been brought up (those who don't have the time/strength to read through these posts word by word still deserve to benefit some from it...) as well as list some more tips, but time is catching up with me. So well, keep the conversation flowing guys. I for one will be sure to regularly check into this thread.

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Giedrius    164
Thank you for your answer. I think that it is more important what a person is capable of and not where and how he studied... I would prefer teaching myself than to go to a university, because the courses on programming in Lithuania aren't any good. What if I can't risk to fly over the Atlantic sea for an interview? Or is this step really mandatory? If so then I guess I will have to test my luck...

[Edited by - Giedrius on October 13, 2007 3:25:46 PM]

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Sephyx    114
Thanks for the answers, one more though. For those of us that are looking for 'entry-level' jobs, whats the best resource out there for finding those jobs? I've been to plenty of developer websites and not many list that they are entry-level and when your sending out portfolios the costs add up.

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