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icethelog

salary expectation at job interviews

19 posts in this topic

I had a Games Programmer interview at a UK developers yesterday (one of the bigger ones), and was asked what sort of salary I was expecting. As I have just graduated and this would be my first programming job I wasn't sure what was normal, so I wasn't sure what to ask for. Can anybody give me a rough idea incase this crops up again in the future?
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You are probably looking at a range of around £20k-£24k for a starting graduate position. Depends on how good you are and your ability to negociate. It also depends on the company.

Often companies have a fixed salary for graduates though.
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I would have expected an entry level position to be less than £20-£24K to be honest, except perhaps near London.

icethelog, check job sites and look at what sort of rates are going for programming jobs, and remember that game companies tend to pay slightly less. Don't be afraid to 'expect' a little too much though. If you're good enough, they'd rather risk insulting you with an offer that is too low than not make you an offer at all.
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I just done a quick check on "IT Jobs Watch" and here's some of the figures I found:

Average salaries
Games Developer £37,500
Junior C++ Programmer £27,000

Hope this helps
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I started in the £20k-£24k band as a graduate programmer, fair enough it was in the Guildford area, but I also had an offer for £24k from a cambridge studio as well. From my experience its pretty likely you'll be offered in that band (unless you're anything other than a programmer).
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£24,000 was my starting salary most people who i was at uni with started around the same.

I did get offered a lot more for non games positions though. Up to £30,000 for a couple of junior non games iPhone jobs.
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That's interesting, because that's not the experience I've seen in the East Midlands, for games or otherwise. It would be great to get some data on this from around the UK because the typical surveys cover American salaries which aren't really comparable.
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At my first game development (programming) job in Edinburgh (For a smallish company), I started on £12,000. Although I said I'd accept anything over £10k, since I needed the experience more than anything else at the time.
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ah, looks like there might be quite a difference up and down the country then. develop online did a survey recently on UK games salaries. From my experience they are pretty close:

http://www.develop-online.net/features/429/The-2009-UK-Games-Development-Salary-Survey
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A good answer is something along the lines of "I am open to any competitive offers". This will usually throw the ball back into the employers court and get you away from saying hard numbers unless they press the issue more. As have been mentioned previously, if it gets that far than do some research before hand and be prepared.

Talking specific salary ranges can be good or bad. Good because you know what you want and you can say how much you think you are worth. Bad because it can either knock you out right away because you are asking for too much or even worse you can undervalue you're worth and the employer isn't going to argue because they could have offered more.
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I should add that my starting salary of £24,000 is in the east mids and pretty much inline with all the other juniors I know at various companies around here.

The iPhone jobs that were offering around the £30,000 mark wer down south however.
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Quote:
Original post by Buster2000
I should add that my starting salary of £24,000 is in the east mids and pretty much inline with all the other juniors I know at various companies around here.

The iPhone jobs that were offering around the £30,000 mark wer down south however.


£24k! Really! I'm Nottingham based with about 6 years experience and not on much more than that :(
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Which company in nottingham and are you a designer or a programmer?
I know designers get paid a lot less.
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Quote:
Original post by Buster2000
Which company in nottingham and are you a designer or a programmer?
I know designers get paid a lot less.


Can't really provide my company name, especially when talking about pay :)

I'm a Programmer, got experience on 2 un-released titles and 4 released across PC, PSP, PS2, Xbox & Wii. Currently working on Xbox360 and PS3 racing game due out early next year.

Been a coder for 5 years now and am currently on a little less then the average pay for a programmer in the aforementioned Develop salary survey of £25,810.

Where are you based if you don't mind me asking? Obviously if you can't say I'd understand :)

PS: I think this is in line with the other coders at the studio. Can't say for certain as it's against the rules to discuss pay.
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It depends a lot on your degree and other experience. I got £25k just after graduating two years ago, but I graduated from a good university with a first class MEng and had been developing some small games in C++ in my spare time too. This is in the Midlands. Apparently I was given slightly over the odds, though I had the same offer elsewhere. Strangely up north the offers were slightly higher than down south. And of course the offers are much higher the further from games you go (I had a job offer for £30k from one vaguely games-related studio, and an invitation to an interview for a £30k job not in games).

I haven't increased from that salary much since then, mind, but that's a story nobody wants to hear.

Another way to bump up potential salaries is to have several offers on the table. Then you can do some simple bargaining by just telling them what other offers you have - if they like you they'll offer a higher salary (which in turn you can feed back to the other potentials). It's a bidding war in your favour :) Definitely don't just go for one interview. I think I went for 5 in total, and turned down a few others for various reasons.
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thanks guys this has been helpful for the future, I doubt I have the job though because I butchered the technical test. Most of the stuff on there that I couldn't answer I read on google when I got home and learned what I needed to know in around ten minutes. Kind of annoying considering I've wrote and showed them my own engine and a few pretty advanced games yet wasn't asked to actually program anything as a way to test me.
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Tell them that in the interview :) I'd be a useless programmer if I didn't have access to Google and Intellisense.

I remember for one test I was expected to do some things I considered silly. I had to write an A* search in Java but wasn't allowed to use any of the Java standard library, and had to write my own queues and so on. But I used them anyway, and wrote comments telling them how mental I thought that requirement was, hoping they'd like the cut of my jib. They disagreed, but offered me the job anyway.
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Quote:
Original post by icethelog
I doubt I have the job though because I butchered the technical test.


Don't worry about it. I'm hopeless at interviews, panicked and skittery usually.

I went for one at Sumo Digital in Sheffield a few years ago and when asked the very simple "In C++ what is the purpose and use of virtual keyword?" my brain fell out.

I still knew what it was for, I just completely forgot the terminology + 75% of the English language :) I had to resort to describing things like inheritance and polymorphism with hand waving and random nonsensical gibbering. That was BEFORE the technical interview started. Thankfully they're a great bunch there and the CTO who was interviewing me realised how nervous I was, got me a glass of water and sent me on for the team lead/technical interview.

I left there feeling really down because I was sure that I blew it completely.

I started 3 days later :)

Interviews are strange artificial things that often stress people out in completely the wrong way. You won't be asked to behave or act like you do in an interview (well most interviews) during your everyday business and hopefully the company knows that.

Andy
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thanks, that's makes me feel a bit better aswell considering you just pretty much described what I did. Congrats on the job aswell.
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Quote:
Original post by icethelog
thanks, that's makes me feel a bit better aswell considering you just pretty much described what I did. Congrats on the job aswell.


I work somewhere else now, in Nottingham. Commuting to Sheffield each day up the M1 or by train (shudder) is a killer after a couple of years so I joined a startup 3 years ago that was more local. Still miss working at Sumo because of the great people there though, I was less keen on the overtime + commute ;)

Andy
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