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Help getting a game progamming job

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Hi everyone,

I would like to get a game programming job. I have been programming since I can remember and can work in most programming languages, but I don't have a collage degree. I do have some published (non game) work though.
I was wondering if I showed off my programming skills with a small game, maybe programmed in two or more languages might help land a job?
To sum it up. I would like your opinions on the best way to get a job.

Thank you for your time.

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Original post by code_eater
Hi everyone,

I would like to get a game programming job. I have been programming since I can remember and can work in most programming languages, but I don't have a collage degree. I do have some published (non game) work though.
I was wondering if I showed off my programming skills with a small game, maybe programmed in two or more languages might help land a job?
To sum it up. I would like your opinions on the best way to get a job.

Thank you for your time.


You have to have a degree to even qualify for most jobs. If you are really determined to get a job without a degree then you should actually make some games but they will have to be super impressive...

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Would a degree in computer science (i.e. programming) help at all? I'm starting one in February in Java. I'm also learning C++ in my own time too.

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It's not a practical strategy to get a job these days without a degree. One in a million can do it, but you probably have similar odds trying to win the lottery. Just get a degree.

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Original post by Palidine
It's not a practical strategy to get a job these days without a degree. One in a million can do it, but you probably have similar odds trying to win the lottery. Just get a degree.


That's overstating things a bit, even if the advice is solid.

For the OP:

Example code to show always helps (unless it's terrible of course). One thing to remember though is that a college degree is needed most often by HR, who don't have a good way to judge technical candidates. Getting a referral by someone already at the company is still the most effective way of getting a job, and certainly to get by HR and the most likely hangup about the lack of degree.

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Original post by Palidine
It's not a practical strategy to get a job these days without a degree. One in a million can do it, but you probably have similar odds trying to win the lottery. Just get a degree.


I have TWO degrees, both in Physics so I am already adept at Mathematics. And I have several years experience in C, C++, Win32, COM and DirectX9, with a solid grip on C# which I am now currently learning.

And yet I am struggling to get a foothold into this industry.

I'm resorting to Web development now as a means of creating my own website to show off my skills.

A degree may help but it seems having commercial experience will always win outright in spite of that catch 22 situation of gaining such experience in the first place.

I was toying with the idea of doing a computer science degree, but that seems like overkill considering that I already have two highly technical degrees which both involved a certain amount of computer literacy anyway. I.e. I had to learn C on both courses.

And, combined with the fact that I have already spent years teaching myself to a pretty advanced level in coding, having a 3rd degree in computer science seems pointless.

So, building a website seems my only course of action, although I am thinking about doing some of those Microsoft certified examinations.

I have the skills... My problem right now is proving that to an overly cautious audience. So to be perfectly honest, simply having a degree just doesn't cut it these days, especially at a time when lots of people seem to be getting them.

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Quote:
Original post by CodeStorm

Quote:
Original post by Palidine
It's not a practical strategy to get a job these days without a degree. One in a million can do it, but you probably have similar odds trying to win the lottery. Just get a degree.


I have TWO degrees, both in Physics so I am already adept at Mathematics. And I have several years experience in C, C++, Win32, COM and DirectX9, with a solid grip on C# which I am now currently learning.

And yet I am struggling to get a foothold into this industry.

I'm resorting to Web development now as a means of creating my own website to show off my skills.

A degree may help but it seems having commercial experience will always win outright in spite of that catch 22 situation of gaining such experience in the first place.

I was toying with the idea of doing a computer science degree, but that seems like overkill considering that I already have two highly technical degrees which both involved a certain amount of computer literacy anyway. I.e. I had to learn C on both courses.

And, combined with the fact that I have already spent years teaching myself to a pretty advanced level in coding, having a 3rd degree in computer science seems pointless.

So, building a website seems my only course of action, although I am thinking about doing some of those Microsoft certified examinations.

I have the skills... My problem right now is proving that to an overly cautious audience. So to be perfectly honest, simply having a degree just doesn't cut it these days, especially at a time when lots of people seem to be getting them.


Degree in the field, obviously. Nursery degree won't help you get a job as rocket engineer.

I'm an engineer and I can program pretty cool stuff too, but I don't think I'd ever get a job as a programmer. Entry level: who in the right mind employ me, when I will leave them for a better job as an engineer?
Higher-level: who in the right...

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Mmmm... I assumed Physics would be a relevant degree in the software industry dude.

Most Physics courses includes coding by default. Then of course, there is the small matter of Physics being used in games quite a lot.

So again, a degree doesn't necessarily cut it.

I don't think people are making the claim that ANY degree will do. Some degrees or more relevant than others. But nonetheless, a degree doesn’t necessarily guarantee you the job that you want.

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Original post by CodeStorm
Mmmm... I assumed Physics would be a relevant degree in the software industry dude.

Most Physics courses includes coding by default. Then of course, there is the small matter of Physics being used in games quite a lot.

So again, a degree doesn't necessarily cut it.

I don't think people are making the claim that ANY degree will do. Some degrees or more relevant than others. But nonetheless, a degree doesn’t necessarily guarantee you the job that you want.


Maybe it "doesn't guarantee" but it's unavoidable.
Engineering courses had coding too. But that's not enough for a coder job. Sorry.

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Original post by szecs
Maybe it "doesn't guarantee" but it's unavoidable.
Engineering courses had coding too. But that's not enough for a coder job. Sorry.


You've nowt to be sorry about mate. You've just proven my point that it's tough out there. With a "relevant" degree and most certainly without. This is strange because there are a LOT of software jobs floating about.

I think there is definitely a barrier between software employers and prospective employees. Staff in Human Resources are woefully in-adequate and are simply not technical enough to differentiate a potentially good candidate from a bad one and simply look for key words in a typical CV.

I've had a LOT of interest from agencies but, due to lack of commercial experience, nothing has come from such interest yet. My feeling is that they simply do not appreciate skills, and for that matter, education. They can only appreciate experience.

Then of course, there is that small matter of out-sourcing a lot of software work to a much cheaper market to cut costs. I sure hope game development doesn’t go the same way any time soon!

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codestorm,
If you have a degree or two, then now what you need is a portfolio -- proof that you are driven enough and have the desired skills.
And you should also read FAQs 24 & 27 ("View Forum FAQ," above).

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Original post by Tom Sloper
codestorm,
If you have a degree or two, then now what you need is a portfolio -- proof that you are driven enough and have the desired skills.
And you should also read FAQs 24 & 27 ("View Forum FAQ," above).


Yeah I'm on it Tom! Hence why I mentioned my desire to build a website to showcase my skills.

But believe me I am thankful for this forum. I had no idea of its existence until the OP wrongly posted this thread in another forum. And I will be looking into all those FAQs to get as much insight as possible.

Cheers!

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One thing that might be worth looking at is getting a placement or some kind of intern-ship.

I am currently on my 3rd year of university studying Computer systems and Networks. For my 3rd year I am required to take a placement for the year and I have managed to get into a game studio. Granted its extremely small game studio with only one game made so far but none the less a game studio. It is also unpaid but I am hoping it will get me out of the catch 22. [smile]

I hope that helps someone in there possible available options.

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Thank you everyone. You sure gave me a lot to think about. Sorry for posting in the wrong forum and thanks for mentioning the FAQ!

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You need to think about it from your prospective employers point of view, not from your point of view. Hiring any new employee is a kind of risk. You're taking some amount of chance that the new employee is capable of doing the job they're being employed for.

- A degree in a relevant field minimises the risk because they should be reasonably proficient in the area of that degree (which should be an area the employer cares about, because we just called it relevant).

- A degree in some other less relevant field at least tells an employer you're capable of getting a degree, but they still take a risk about your proficiency in their specific field.

- No degree means they're taking the biggest risk, they basically would need to rely on trusting you that you can do what you say you can.

[edit] I'm obviously addressing this from an entry level position point of view. Commercial experience beats everything else once you've worked in the industry for a couple of years.

Now ask yourself, why would an employer take more risk than they need to, by hiring someone who comes with a greater degree of risk, when frankly theres probably a large number of applicants who do have a relevant degree? You may believe you're the most capable person for the job, you may even be right, but how do they know that?


Personal work/portfolio would help, no doubt. Not only is it evidence of some ability, but it also shows something of your character (initiative, self-starter, sees a project through to fruition, prepared to put in extra effort to achieve goals, etc). However, even that is going to be weighed up against any experience/portfolio of those other guys with degrees you're going up against, and chances are at least some of them have been showing that same initiative.


So just bare in mind, its not what you know you can do, its how attractive you can make yourself seem in comparison to your competition, and whether you can make yourself worth the risk for an employer who is probably initially only judging by a resume and cover letter, before they'll even consider interviewing you.

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Quote:
Original post by CodeStorm

Quote:
Original post by Palidine
It's not a practical strategy to get a job these days without a degree. One in a million can do it, but you probably have similar odds trying to win the lottery. Just get a degree.


I have TWO degrees, both in Physics so I am already adept at Mathematics. And I have several years experience in C, C++, Win32, COM and DirectX9, with a solid grip on C# which I am now currently learning.

And yet I am struggling to get a foothold into this industry.

I'm resorting to Web development now as a means of creating my own website to show off my skills.

A degree may help but it seems having commercial experience will always win outright in spite of that catch 22 situation of gaining such experience in the first place.

I was toying with the idea of doing a computer science degree, but that seems like overkill considering that I already have two highly technical degrees which both involved a certain amount of computer literacy anyway. I.e. I had to learn C on both courses.

And, combined with the fact that I have already spent years teaching myself to a pretty advanced level in coding, having a 3rd degree in computer science seems pointless.

So, building a website seems my only course of action, although I am thinking about doing some of those Microsoft certified examinations.

I have the skills... My problem right now is proving that to an overly cautious audience. So to be perfectly honest, simply having a degree just doesn't cut it these days, especially at a time when lots of people seem to be getting them.


Web programming is nice, but nobody cares about it in the games industry. Everyone and their dog can make a website, even if you're doing more complicated projects it doesn't really matter as much. I've found (in my very limited experience) that in general out-of-industry (ie, anything non-games related) is a wash. Helpful in rounding you out, but not really considered as "real experience".

Show how your skills apply to games via a solid portfolio and you have something, making websites alone isn't enough. I'm parroting Tom's advice here on the portfolio but it really is important. You need the whole package, a degree isn't enough, programming experience isn't enough, you need to show that you enjoy making games and that you can deliver.

Also:
Quote:
It's not a practical strategy to get a job these days without a degree. One in a million can do it, but you probably have similar odds trying to win the lottery.


I'm pretty lucky, but this is a little overstated.

I will agree it is a poor strategy to attempt to get any programming job without a degree, but I prefer to define my own path. This method is not smart or advised and typically fails, but I'm stubborn enough. It can be done, but it probably shouldn't be attempted. "Unnecessary risk" is a good term.

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