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flodywan

Asking If Companies Need Free Work?

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Hey guys, I was wondering if it would be dumb to ask some companies if they would like some unpaid help? There are some SMALL companies near me that I know are pretty poor, and I think it would be a good place to start in game development. I've been programming >2 years, been programming games ~2 months(finished Pong clone, working on Pacman clone). Does this sound like a good idea? Any tips on how I should ask when I contact them?

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Hey guys, I was wondering if it would be dumb to ask some companies if they would like some unpaid help? There are some SMALL companies near me that I know are pretty poor, and I think it would be a good place to start in game development. I've been programming >2 years, been programming games ~2 months(finished Pong clone, working on Pacman clone). Does this sound like a good idea? Any tips on how I should ask when I contact them?


You can always send a resume and ask for an unpaid Internship. But, you will most likely either be stuck in "Make me some Coffee"-type of position or not involved with Programming at all.
It would take too long to get you familiar with the code architecture for you to actually do any Programming.

But, it never hurts to ask ;) Have you tried calling them?

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My guess? Unless they are an indy team, or they offer an internship position. This isn't going to go over all that well. There is a lot of paperwork involved in adding someone to the team. Even then, it would be risky business bringing you in, as broken code can cause problems for a whole team. That isn't an issue with a salary employee, as they'd contractually be obligated to fix the issue in a timely manner. As an unpaid volunteer, they'd be unable to legally hold you to the same standards as a paid employee, making their costs associated with your work that much higher. Look for something more reasonable, like a paid internship. But more likely than not, finishing out a CS degree and making a good portfolio will count for more when you are looking for a job.

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Dang, thanks for the insight. I haven't called any of them yet, I thought e-mails would be better. Oh, and a lot of the companies near me are indie.

I thought it might not be such a good idea (I could come in and ruin something and not really be too responsible for it). I'm just nervous that if I don't, I might graduate and nobody will want to hire someone without at least some kind of experience.

So finishing my degree and continuing my own game programming is the best way to get a job eventually?

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So finishing my degree and continuing my own game programming is the best way to get a job eventually?

Absolutely.

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So finishing my degree and continuing my own game programming is the best way to get a job eventually?


Yes, but to increase your chances in the future to get the job you want it's also very important that you earn some field experience, specially working in a team (not school). Also keep every project and documentation of whatever you do for the future.
So my advise would be that when you've got a chance you look for some unpaid/paid internship or some work even if it's only a few hours a week for a short time, not game related or even if it wont give you credits or something for your studies.

I know from personal experience that having a degree in a nice school and also the scores won't get you any job anywhere if you don't have the professional experience and/or a decent portfolio, at least in jobs related to IT and videogames.

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So it sounds like you'd recommend me looking for unpaid work/internship. I'm definitely trying to find any type of programming internship, so hopefully I'll get some good team experience that way. Is it a serious problem if I can't find any? This is what I'm afraid of, that I graduate and am somehow unemployable.

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Flody, you wrote:
1. So it sounds like you'd recommend me looking for unpaid work/internship.
2. Is it a serious problem if I can't find any?
3. This is what I'm afraid of, that I graduate and am somehow unemployable. [/quote]
1. I believe he was suggesting you get involved in amateur/indie projects. If you manage to get an internship, paid is better than unpaid, and unpaid is at least a foot in the door.
2. It's a serious problem if you don't manage to build a good portfolio. Is that what you're asking?
3. If you haven't graduated yet, your primary focus right now needs to be on your studies. Work on some student projects if practicable within your primary duty: graduating. Then after graduation you must work to make yourself employable. And read what Stonewall Jackson and other great people said about fear at FAQ 47

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