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zizigy

Best time for job change

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zizigy    100
I have been working as a programmer for a game company (fairly big one, around 200 employees) for around 6 months now, however I am not enjoying what I do. As this is my first job and I was hired fresh out of college, I am wondering how long it would be sensible to wait before starting to search for a different placement. In other words, how long/what exactly does it take to be recognized as having had some industry experience as opposed to being on the same level as a new graduate?

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frob    44911
The recognized items are generally projects completed, and also years on projects canceled. If you worked on tools it may be appropriate to cite the projects that used them in addition to the time on the project. I know somebody who worked for four years in a successful studio without a shipped title. It seems like he was the only thing in common with all the canceled projects, until he finally got one out; employers understand about canceled projects.



Don't give you your old job until you have a new one in hand.

Also, don't upset anybody at your existing company. The industry is relatively small, and you will very likely encounter some of those co-worker in the future.



Although it is generally best to have some completed games or years of incomplete games, that doesn't mean you can't ask around. Send out applications and see what comes back. It may take a few months before you find something, but since you still have a job, there is no immediate rush.

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Hodgman    51234
Quote:
Original post by zizigy
In other words, how long/what exactly does it take to be recognized as having had some industry experience as opposed to being on the same level as a new graduate?
*Take all of this with a grain of salt because it's just the way things are described in my small corner of the world*

After 12 months you've got "game industry experience".
After 3 years and at least 1 shipped title, you're an "experienced game developer".

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Obscure    175
Quote:
Original post by zizigy
I am wondering how long it would be sensible to wait before starting to search for a different placement.

Until you have shipped your first game.

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Tom Sloper    16040
Quote:
Original post by zizigy
I am wondering how long it would be sensible to wait before starting to search for a different placement. In other words, how long/what exactly does it take to be recognized as having had some industry experience as opposed to being on the same level as a new graduate?

Two years.

BTW, what's so bad about your current place, and what makes you think it'll be better at another company? Because it probably won't.

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Atrix256    539
If you can find another place that wants you that you think you'd be happier at, maybe you should go for it.

Right now since you have a job (even if you aren't happy), you can look around and see who'd be interested in hiring you.

The only risk is that if you get to the new place and it's worse, oops!

Also, if you got to a new place and it went out of business, you'd have lets say 2 companies @ 6 months each instead of 1 company @ a year.

I think bottom line you should do what makes you happy though (:

I was at a job for 6 months before leaving it for my first game development job, and it worked out great, and was a really good decision for me in my life.

I had 5 years exp programming before that though, but no college, so a different kind of background, but maybe not so different.

If you hop to a new place, stick there for a few years for better or worse, to get your foothold secure IMO!

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zizigy    100
@ Tom Sloper

There's nothing particularly wrong with the company itself: what I don't like is the kind of tasks I am assigned (mostly writing unit tests for the internal toolchain and fixing the simpler bugs I encounter while doing so); while the company made it very clear this is what I was getting into (this is more or less exactly what I was told I would have been doing during my interview) and I accepted the job knowingly, it does feel very dry and not really related to games at all.
All of this just got me thinking: if I have to have a job that doesn't feel connected to games in any way, why am I even working in the game industry, with working conditions and salaries being better in other fields?

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Tom Sloper    16040
Quote:
Original post by zizigy
what I don't like is the kind of tasks I am assigned (mostly writing unit tests for the internal toolchain and fixing the simpler bugs I encounter while doing so); while the company made it very clear this is what I was getting into (this is more or less exactly what I was told I would have been doing during my interview) and I accepted the job knowingly, it does feel very dry and not really related to games at all.

In other words, you're a primadonna and a quitter.
Quote:
All of this just got me thinking: if I have to have a job that doesn't feel connected to games in any way, why am I even working in the game industry, with working conditions and salaries being better in other fields?

Good thinking. Get out of the game industry.

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Quote:
Original post by zizigy
@ Tom Sloper

There's nothing particularly wrong with the company itself: what I don't like is the kind of tasks I am assigned (mostly writing unit tests for the internal toolchain and fixing the simpler bugs I encounter while doing so); while the company made it very clear this is what I was getting into (this is more or less exactly what I was told I would have been doing during my interview) and I accepted the job knowingly, it does feel very dry and not really related to games at all.
All of this just got me thinking: if I have to have a job that doesn't feel connected to games in any way, why am I even working in the game industry, with working conditions and salaries being better in other fields?


You're a new hire with no experience, what do you expect you would be doing at this point? Writing 3D engines from scratch? You have to pay your dues before you get any of the interesting jobs and six months isn't that long at a job. If you want to be closer to actually making games then quit and find a job at a smaller indie studio. Getting a job at another bigger studio is just going to be more of the same. Getting a job outside of games you are still going to have a year or two of grunt work before doing anything "interesting".

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ForestMaster    164
I have a related question, so I think it's better if I avoid a new topic: beside academic credentials and job experiences, do they take into account personal/amateur projects (tutorials, games, engines written)? I mean, are they valid as a kind of portfolio?

thanks in advance for any answer

daniele

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smr    2468
Quote:
Original post by zizigy
@ Tom Sloper

There's nothing particularly wrong with the company itself: what I don't like is the kind of tasks I am assigned (mostly writing unit tests for the internal toolchain and fixing the simpler bugs I encounter while doing so); while the company made it very clear this is what I was getting into (this is more or less exactly what I was told I would have been doing during my interview) and I accepted the job knowingly, it does feel very dry and not really related to games at all.
All of this just got me thinking: if I have to have a job that doesn't feel connected to games in any way, why am I even working in the game industry, with working conditions and salaries being better in other fields?


Dude, I would kill for that job. And I'm a senior applications developer with just shy of ten years' professional experience. You've got your foot in the door. You should be trying to get the rest of you in that door rather than looking for a new one; You'll probably find that they're already shut. Play your cards right and don't go screwing this one up!

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Atrix256    539
Despite what other people are saying zizigy, if you got a job in game development working on tools and you really aren't enjoying it, it's perfectly fine to look for another job doing something you enjoy more.

There is nothing wrong with looking for a job you might enjoy better, even though you said yes to the tools job.

Loyalty isn't a huge thing either cause honestly, they would lay you off at the drop of a hat if it was in their interest to do so.

You gotta look out for #1 and go after what makes you happy in life.

Another option though... maybe you could ask for tasks that are more along the lines of what you like doing?

All the game companies i've worked at have been very cool about that. Your boss might be able to snag you a game play task or 2 to see how you do.

If you do well at them, they might want you on that team instead!

But yeah, keep lookin out for #1 cause no one else is going to (;

good luck!

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way2lazy2care    790
Quote:
Original post by Atrix256
Another option though... maybe you could ask for tasks that are more along the lines of what you like doing?

All the game companies i've worked at have been very cool about that. Your boss might be able to snag you a game play task or 2 to see how you do.


I'd echo this more than looking for a new job. Just because they're giving you crappy jobs doesn't mean they won't be willing to give you new jobs. Showing you care about doing important stuff will at least get your boss thinking that you care about the project. While you might be stuck doing crappy things for a while, make sure people know that you are not satisfied doing unimportant things. I am not telling you to complain, I am telling you to be constantly finishing your less than fun tasks on time or early and asking for new more important tasks all the time. Look for new more important tasks that your project might not have yet and write up a short cost-benefit analysis on your own time. In short, take the initiative. This is very general job advice as it's good to do regardless of the job you have.

I'd also say that if you have a job right now, keep it. It is no easy task to get a job right now and the experience will only benefit you in the long run. While it might not be what you want to do, it's better than being unemployed.

tldr;

If you're being that guy who sits in his office/cubicle and never tells his boss he wants to do something cool, then you probably won't be the guy your boss thinks of when the cool stuff comes up.

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Palidine    1315
Quote:
Original post by stupid_programmer
You're a new hire with no experience, what do you expect you would be doing at this point? Writing 3D engines from scratch? You have to pay your dues before you get any of the interesting jobs and six months isn't that long at a job. If you want to be closer to actually making games then quit and find a job at a smaller indie studio. Getting a job at another bigger studio is just going to be more of the same. Getting a job outside of games you are still going to have a year or two of grunt work before doing anything "interesting".


It depends where you get hired. My first game programming job was at EA as a junior AI programmer. I was given complete ownership of the vehicle AI, the context sensitive object system and a large chunk of the NPC behavior tree (and that was all designing and coding from scratch not just maintaining something already in place)

Work that some fresh out of college people had while I was there:
Ownership of the player weapon state machine, creating new weapons
Tools Programming: making new scripts for designers to use
Various player mechanic system

We didn't have any unit tests at all in the system. There was no programming that needed to be done that was considered "grunt work" per say. There were annoying tasks: tagging in the code all the audio callouts and such. But everyone did that, not just junior people.

Honestly I think putting junior people or interns on shitty work is a terrible practice. We just hired a new guy where I work now and I made sure that his first tasks were specifically not grunt work so that he would become engaged on the team.

That said. You should stay till you ship a game; you're insanely lucky to have found a job at all in games programming. Most teams I know are only hiring people with 5+ years of experience right now because so many long-time experienced people are jobless. Under no circumstances should you quit until you find a new job. Also realize that if you interview and fail for a company there's a cooldown time until you can apply again (1-2 years); so if you go applying and failing everywhere you won't be able to apply again successfully to those same companies for a while.

-me

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Tom Sloper    16040
Quote:
Original post by way2lazy2care
I'd also say that if you have a job right now, keep it. It is no easy task to get a job right now and the experience will only benefit you in the long run. While it might not be what you want to do, it's better than being unemployed.

tldr;

If you're being that guy who sits in his office/cubicle and never tells his boss he wants to do something cool, then you probably won't be the guy your boss thinks of when the cool stuff comes up.

QFT

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