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LiveAndFight

Programmer Portfolio Critique

19 posts in this topic

Hey, I was wondering if you guys would be able to critique my website. I have been doing game design and programming for about 12 years on my own. I just graduated from High School about four years ago. Joined the Marine Corp, got a medical discharge. I have been working on getting my portfolio just right, and I hoping I could get some critiques, and maybe some pointers on how to get my foot in the door. www.jmvsoftware.com -Justin Marshall
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Positive: I think that the site looks really good, and shows off both your graphics and web programming skills very well. Good job on your engine, by the way!

Negative: The formatting of the comments on some of your screenshots are a little inconsistent. Some sentences are missing periods at the end of them, phrases like look a like should be spelled using their proper dictionary definition (look-alike).

If you really want to impress them, your resume/portfolio has got to be spotless. They will be scrutinized thoroughly, and any obvious mistakes can be (incorrectly) interpreted as a sign that you don't really care about attention to detail or hard work. Of course, your engine shows otherwise, but people like to focus on the one bad thing rather than the hundred good things. Buggers. :)
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Thank you for the feedback :). I fixed the image descriptions. Where is a good place to find IT jobs besides Monster and HotJobs? I live in Los Angeles im trying to find a job perferably in game programming, but I am also looking for QA jobs or Information Technology work.
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I just added Radiosity Normal Mapping to my engine, if anyone gets a chance to critque my latest screenshot : ).

http://www.jmvsoftware.com/
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Quote:
Original post by LiveAndFight
Thank you for the feedback :). I fixed the image descriptions. Where is a good place to find IT jobs besides Monster and HotJobs? I live in Los Angeles im trying to find a job perferably in game programming, but I am also looking for QA jobs or Information Technology work.


For game programming specific jobs, look here: Game Jobs.

Also, some companies don't actively advertise their job openings on gamasutra, even though they might have some. These are usually posted on the company website. To find the game development companies near you: Game Dev Map.

Good luck! I think your site is pretty nice and your work looks good.
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I just updated the screenshot of the radiosity which I think shows it off more. I'm applying to a couple jobs on Game Jobs right now, what do companys look for in a programer's portfolio? Is it mostly screenshots or code samples?
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A strong portfolio (screenshots, videos, playable demos) is probably the best first impression you can get across -- except for general professionalism in everything you submit (resume, cover letter, portfolio.)

Some companies will specifically ask you for code samples; almost all companies will have you take a programming test for an entry level game programming position, and thus see your coding skills on the fly.
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Hey, your profile is nice!

The only things I can recommend you fix are some spelling errors and indentation issues. I'll just list everything I can find:

In "Resume":
At the top of the rightmost column there is a heading that says "DEXPERIENCE", lose the D.

At the bottom of that column all of your bullet text indentation is a bit messed up. In this same section, the second bullet point should read "an ISS server..." as opposed to "a ISS Server..."


In "About Me":
In the fourth paragraph ("..as well for various v*class..."), there is a Unicode square in place of the asterisk. The same thing happens in the last paragraph.

Paragraph 7, "coupole" should be spelt "couple".

In the second last paragraph, "United" is misspelt.

Anyway, that's just nitpicking and probably isn't going to cost you a job lol. That said, it's nice to add that little bit of extra polish to your resume. I'd recommend just copy+pasting the content into Word and fixing up some of the spelling.
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Is going to College in any way an option for you? Clearly you know how to program, though that doesn't necessarily mean that your CS fundamentals are sound.

It's not impossible to get a job without a degree, however you also have to look at it realistically -- You're trying to get a foot on the bottom-rung of a highly-competetive industry, in a down economy, and many *experienced* people (with degrees) have been layed off in the last year -- not to mention the fresh graduates you'll be competing with.

A nice portfolio, which you have, can indeed get you far, but you'd be better off, if possible, to go to school and remove all doubt that you're a worthwhile investment.


Also, I would really hesitate to market yourself as "Senior Graphics Engineer" of your own company, even if graphics are your focus, just let your work speak for itself. Self-proclaimed titles aren't worth much and may come off as unrealistic or conceited on your part. If you do try to move forward without a degree, you need to come off as humble, yet confident -- any sign to the contrary is a red flag.
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Thank you all for the input I fixed all the mistakes(except for the bullet alignment, I think I am just going to have it download my Word resume). Unfortunately I can't go to college right now. I took a few courses in college, I took up to second semester Calculus and I have taken a few science classes(all B's). But my living situation has changed so I need to find a decent paying job as soon as I can. I have a good range of IT knowledge, which is why I'm trying to put my self out there and hopefully get something.
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I'm sure you know about the GI Bill, but you mentioned several times you were in the Marines. You were medically discharged and I don't know all the rules about that but something to look into if school is an interest at all for you. They are paying for my tuition and my living expenses so its pretty much a full ride if you qualify. Food for thought.
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I didn't pay into the GI bill so I don't get it, I opted to not pay it during the "Moment of Truth"(Receiving Week). I regret it right now though haha. Is it really that damning if I don't have a college degree? I am trying to make up for it with a nice portfolio.
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Quote:

Is it really that damning if I don't have a college degree? I am trying to make up for it with a nice portfolio.

Unfortunately for you, it is even more damning than usual right now due to the economic situation. Why can't you go to college? Because you can't afford it? There are loans and financial aid packages available for that. How long can you realistically go without employment before you start being unable to pay your rent or mortgage and bills?
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Just to clarify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill you did not have to pay the $1200 to receive it, those of us that did pay into it get that money back if we exhaust all the benefits. Not trying to harp you on school or anything, just making sure you understand you probably still are eligible for it.
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Please don't take this as my "sob story" haha but my situation is this, some lady did a hit and run on my car and totaled it. I have one witness saying there was another car that hit me, but USAA is lagging on telling me wether or not they will cover the damages because A) I don't have collision and B) they say athat they can't prove there was another car there despite the witnesses account of the accident haha so im without a car right now.

I don't mind taking the bus thats not a problem, but I just got laid off from my security position because the store I worked at discontinued there contract with my old security company. The School District which was buying my software had to discontinue because of the budget freeze in California. So right now im living off of my PEB(which is half of my base pay) and my friends paycheck.

So right now I need to find a job. I have a wide variety of IT experience(SQL, Linux, Windows Server, custom server applications, SOME Cisco), Programming, Web Hosting, etc.

I want to go to college believe me, I just can't dedicate the time needed to go because I need to get a job soon.

I have looked into "In the Mean time" jobs, but I have heard from a couple places like target etc, saying im "way over qualified". Basically right now what im doing is in between knocking on doors trying to apply for work, im working on AI into the game so I can post a video on my website.

EDIT:
Who do I talk to about that Dwiff? When I went through VAPS during my seperations they told me I would NOT qualify for the GI bill because I didn't pay into it. When I went to the VA they told me the same thing.

[Edited by - LiveAndFight on January 25, 2010 11:34:51 AM]
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I cleaned up my portfolio, if you guys could take another glance at it. I fixed all the formating issues I could find, and I replaced the forum section with "Engine Features".
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It would be a good idea to have a PDF version of your resume available for download from your resume page. If there is a link somewhere already, it's not obvious.
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Seconded on downloadable resumes -- I recommend you have one in Office 97 format (which pretty much guarantees anyone with office can read it) and one in PDF as a backup.

There are lots of free services where you upload a word doc, and they email you back a copy in PDF format -- much cheaper than buying a converter or PDF authoring tool.
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Thanks for the feedback : ), I will look into the VA today Dwiff thanks for the information.

I have a phone interview this week, how should I prepare myself?

I added some more screenshots that demonstrate more realism with the engine.
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