• Announcements

    • khawk

      Download the Game Design and Indie Game Marketing Freebook   07/19/17

      GameDev.net and CRC Press have teamed up to bring a free ebook of content curated from top titles published by CRC Press. The freebook, Practices of Game Design & Indie Game Marketing, includes chapters from The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, and An Architectural Approach to Level Design. The GameDev.net FreeBook is relevant to game designers, developers, and those interested in learning more about the challenges in game development. We know game development can be a tough discipline and business, so we picked several chapters from CRC Press titles that we thought would be of interest to you, the GameDev.net audience, in your journey to design, develop, and market your next game. The free ebook is available through CRC Press by clicking here. The Curated Books The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Second Edition, by Jesse Schell Presents 100+ sets of questions, or different lenses, for viewing a game’s design, encompassing diverse fields such as psychology, architecture, music, film, software engineering, theme park design, mathematics, anthropology, and more. Written by one of the world's top game designers, this book describes the deepest and most fundamental principles of game design, demonstrating how tactics used in board, card, and athletic games also work in video games. It provides practical instruction on creating world-class games that will be played again and again. View it here. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, by Joel Dreskin Marketing is an essential but too frequently overlooked or minimized component of the release plan for indie games. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing provides you with the tools needed to build visibility and sell your indie games. With special focus on those developers with small budgets and limited staff and resources, this book is packed with tangible recommendations and techniques that you can put to use immediately. As a seasoned professional of the indie game arena, author Joel Dreskin gives you insight into practical, real-world experiences of marketing numerous successful games and also provides stories of the failures. View it here. An Architectural Approach to Level Design This is one of the first books to integrate architectural and spatial design theory with the field of level design. The book presents architectural techniques and theories for level designers to use in their own work. It connects architecture and level design in different ways that address the practical elements of how designers construct space and the experiential elements of how and why humans interact with this space. Throughout the text, readers learn skills for spatial layout, evoking emotion through gamespaces, and creating better levels through architectural theory. View it here. Learn more and download the ebook by clicking here. Did you know? GameDev.net and CRC Press also recently teamed up to bring GDNet+ Members up to a 20% discount on all CRC Press books. Learn more about this and other benefits here.
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
kiet_ngu

Convicted Felon as a game programmer

28 posts in this topic

Hello,
My name is Kiet Ngu. I am new to this site. I am a convicted felon. 18 years old. I made a mistake and like the saying goes "do the crime, do the time", I learned from it and right now I am trying to get my shit together. I wanted to know what is the job outlook for a convicted felon trying to become a game programmer. I know it will be hard and I expect that, just trying to see what I am up against. I will be attending college at University of Utah for their EAE program which is entertainment and arts program. It was rated top 10 as best game design colleges in the nation by Princeton Review. If your wondering what the crime was, I did breaking and entering (burglary). Again, I know i ruined my life but right now I'm trying to put it behind me. When I finish the program after 4 years, what are the chances of me getting a job? I like any opinions from anybody but looking for a job recruiter to tell me his take on it. Edited by Josh Petrie
Please don't use polls in For Beginners.
2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I didn't know where to post this up, I just wanted some advice on how to go about starting my career in game programming as a felon. Thank you for your post.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I also think everyone deserves second chance. And third, and fourth...
The other side of the thing is that society also has a right to protect themselves. Thus the suspicion is understandable and certain places will be off-limits for a long time. But hopefully not game development.

My suggestion is to actively pursue freelance and contract work. First thus it is easier to find work - many employers probably will prefer the candidate without conviction, but do not care so much about the background of freelancer. And second you will build portfolio and thus the next time you apply for a job you will be significantly better than the other candidate without conviction ;-) Plus you may eventually end up creating your own company instead...
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='SimonForsman' timestamp='1352454686' post='4999200']I'm not gonna vote since i don't live in the US (and i know these things can vary greatly between cultures)[/quote]^^ same as above - I don't understand the US system of branding "felons" or what kind of discrimination it means for you, so I can't vote.

I've never been asked about my past by games companies -- if you're getting an education now, and then apply for jobs afterwards, there's no reason for them to even ask about what you were doing before college.
The only time I've had an employer dig into my past was when I worked for a gambling company, and that was only because they sold products in Nevada, and Nevada state law required them to have every employee ([i]on the other side of the world[/i]) undergo a police background check and have a clean record.

I know that if I wanted to work in the USA, then in order to get a Visa, I would also have to undergo a police background check and have a clean record, but that's not a problem for you unless you want to work in many different countries.
1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
No place I've worked for has ever asked for any background information beyond my resumé. But again, not the US. You're lucky that your conviction was as a kid, though, employers might become suspicious if an older guy has a large gap in his resumé that has nothing in it, but if you go to college and start your resumé from there, then you should be fine. Even if an employer asks and you have to tell them, going to college and proving you got your life together after that will show that you're able to work at things and stick to it. Heck, if everybody was judged for the stupid things we did as teenagers none of us would ever have jobs. [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/biggrin.png[/img]
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
US applications for employment pretty much all ask about felonies. I would think that the young age when it occurred and the relative lack of severity (burglars are less risky hires than murderers, rapists, etc) will make many companies discount it. That said, it will be a mark against you. If you and another candidate are otherwise equal, they will choose the other guy.

Not insurmountable by any means, but something to be aware of. It will also be good to have your story well rehearsed if they ask, and be forthcoming/honest when talking about it. 'I was young and dumb' is a well known story, since everyone was once young and dumb.
1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I would say your second chance (regardless of profession) depends on the circumstances of your crime. You didn't take a man's life or rape a woman or destroy a building. You broke into somebody's property. I would say that since you were a kid, you were naive, and you didn't permanently harm someone, you do get a second chance, but nobody deserves one. God gives people chances and forgives them from anything from petty theft to a serial rapist. But on a different note, if you really want to work on games, I would advise computer science over game design, because chances are you will be an indie game developer making the game yourself, as most studios (forget studios, most businesses) will not hire a convicted felon. You can still make great games by yourself, however. Best of luck to you.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think no one would care about a simple non-violent crime, especially since you have committed it while young. Just make sure you stay squeeky clean.

Also, you should keep quiet about the conviction, especially online. It may be public knowledge, but there's a difference between "public knowledge" someone can find out by going to the archives of a specific courthouse, and stuff that comes up in the first five pages when they google your name. If you have a @fuckdapolice Twitter account, get rid of it.

Find out what your local law says about employers and your legal history. Many times it would be illegal for an employer to even ask about it. It is also possible that you are allowed to lie in answer to such a question and that doesn't give the employer the right to kick you out later. And finally, even if you are "supposed to" tell them, you might still not want to. Get informed, be ready to make an informed decision.
2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just wanted to say, as a fellow convicted felon, that if you are good (as in you excel in some area in software development) and the [i]manager wants you[/i], you will likely get the job. The only thing that can stop that is if there is some company policy they absolutely can not exercise any power over, for instance. Or if [i]their [/i]manager hates you - even then the manager that likes you may very well convince them to "give you a chance".

Just because you did some stuff does not mean your life is over. Not at all. Just stay out of trouble now! And if something doesn't work out because of your past, then be glad because it will still guide you to something else that will.

It is nice to see your determination. I am proof you will be okay [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/happy.png[/img] Edited by achild
1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Zed McJack' timestamp='1352454933' post='4999204']
I dont see how that has any connection with for beginners forum
[/quote]

I didn't, either, so I moved it to the Breaking In forum (sorry if that sounds disturbingly apropos to the OP's crime background - it's not intentional).
2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As a side note, after a while you can ask to have it expunged.

Assuming you can convince the courts they will reduce the record to a misdemeanor, getting the mark off your record.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My 2 cents: I have no foreknowledge of US laws, but as a potential recruiter, I would probably ask you a lot of questions in an interview, and I would need to be reassured that your ability to transgress social laws has been corrected. It would "scream" to me that you could potentially cut corners, cheat on your hours at work, etc.
You may be fighting an uphill battle and it will take more than words to convince anyone, but its not impossible.
Certain companies may willingly ignore your application for company image reasons: if they specialize in kid's games, they want to avoid any scandal. Your crime has nothing to do with that, but they may not want to risk it.
I would also advise to discuss it openly, as early as possible, without actually over-emphasizing it: it probably wrecked your life, but don't miss on the chance that it may not matter that much to your potential employer. A lot of people over-dramatise things from their own perspective and that may make you sounds like a whiner. I liked how you opened your post: "did the crime, did my time" may be all that you need to say about this.

Otherwise, you pretty much have the same chances are everyone else I would assume. It isn't very different from someone who is handing over a resume that goes something like:
1999-2002 JOB "A"
2002-2009 JOB "B"
2012-2012 JOB "C"
Now, that guy IS hiding something (2009-2012?!)
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
No clue how it is in the US, but we don't require the criminal records to be revealed to us.
Gaps in the CV are often something I ask about, but more out of curiosity. It is sometimes quite interesting to talk about what happened during that time, and would be so in your case, I suspect! ;)

Since I haven't (to my knowledge) had a case like this, it's hard to say how I'd react. But in general I try to keep my judgment confined to abilities, potential and social compatibility. So being friendly, interested, competent and not insane usually outweighs curiosities in the CV, and vice versa...
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have known a great many ex-cons. I have even hired ex-cons, albeit, not in the game industry and my experiences have been positive.

However, I will say this. You were convicted for burglary (theft). With such convictions come inevitable questions, like "Will he steal our intellectual property and sell it to a competitor?" I am not saying it is impossible to get a job in the industry; to be quite honest, I don't know as I don't work in the industry. Just expect recruiters to be rather cautious.

Whatever you do, STAY OUT OF TROUBLE! If there is anything in your life that you have 100% control over, it is the ability to NOT commit a crime. ;) Don't know the circumstances, don't care. Just don't do it again.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If you are 18 now... and you have already been convicted of a crime, and already filled your jail sentence, doesn't our country hide any criminal record from your teen years?

Regardless, if in between your jail time and your applying for a job, you actually got a 4-year degree at a college, that'd personally say enough to convince me.
Also, I'd look at your personal projects and tech demos from your portfolio you'll develop while at school, and I'd pay attention to the [i]content/subject[/i] of the projects (and not just the quality of the projects) to get a look inside your mind to see whether I'd work with you.

[quote name='MarkS' timestamp='1352499212' post='4999454']However, I will say this. You were convicted for burglary (theft). With such convictions come inevitable questions, like "Will he steal our intellectual property and sell it to a competitor?"[/quote]
If I was a recruiter my thought would be, "Will he make off with a monitor or computer?", not "Will he steal our IP"... which would probably put the competitor in too much risk to actually be a likely scenario.

John Carmack was arrested at 14 for stealing computers from his school (sentences for a year in some kind of juvenile facility), for whatever that's worth.
2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Servant of the Lord' timestamp='1352508506' post='4999495']
If I was a recruiter my thought would be, "Will he make off with a monitor or computer?", not "Will he steal our IP"... which would probably put the competitor in too much risk to actually be a likely scenario.

John Carmack was arrested at 14 for stealing computers from his school (sentences for a year in some kind of juvenile facility), for whatever that's worth.
[/quote] I forgot about that, but yes, there are petty thiefs and mischievous youngsters on both sides of the spectrum, there are ones that went on to sell meth and shoot police officers, and those that realized their offense (like Carmack and others) and went on to do great things (if programming video games even counts as a "great thing").
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Orymus3' timestamp='1352485102' post='4999376']
Otherwise, you pretty much have the same chances are everyone else I would assume. It isn't very different from someone who is handing over a resume that goes something like:
1999-2002 JOB "A"
2002-2009 JOB "B"
2012-2012 JOB "C"
Now, that guy IS hiding something (2009-2012?!)
[/quote]

If he were really trying to hide something, that gap wouldn't be there. Looking at the timing, I would assume that he was simply unemployed, which could actually be worse:

The guy who spent his time in prison has a pretty good excuse for not being able to find work (because he was incarcerated). However, for a "good citizen", who was simply unable to return into the industry quickly enough, due to the severity of the continuing economic apocalypse ... It's highly unlikely that people in those circumstances will be given a second chance.
2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Servant of the Lord' timestamp='1352508506' post='4999495']
John Carmack was arrested at 14 for stealing computers from his school (sentences for a year in some kind of juvenile facility), for whatever that's worth.
[/quote]
He also had to fend off law with Softdisk after developing Doom on THEIR computers (to which he hands out advices never to do that to anyone).
Then again, one might argue that one that learns the hard way might be less prone to make the same mistake again.

On a side-note, and yet, terribly on-topic:
[url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sentence_(The_Outer_Limits)"]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sentence_(The_Outer_Limits)[/url]

Worth a read/look. I think its a position of power you could try and exploit if at all credible. Edited by Orymus3
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0