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Dan Miller

Portfolio and resume review

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Hey all, I was recently directed to these forums and have since read a plethora of FAQ's and articles which have lead me to the conclusion that I really do need to move out west. Before I decide to move and as I continue my search for a job I'd really appreciate any and all comments or critiques on my portfolio site and resume. 


Before you check those out I'll give you a little background on me. I graduated last year from Ohio University where I got a degree in video game development, during that time I was able to take CS and math courses to give me a good foundation in programming. I've made the decision that programming games is what I definitely want to do and have been working a lot with C# and more recently C++ again on small personal game projects. Since graduation I've also finished up an iOS and Android game made in Unity with a small team I put together. 








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Your portfolio site looks promising, but based on the number of projects you've posted there I would expect to see a much larger selection of code samples.

Is there any code you've written - anything at all that you're either happy with or could polish - that you could add to your github site? When I go looking for potential recruits, my process is something like this:
  • Assess amount of experience candidate claims to have
  • See if that squares with reality (overinflated or wildly conservative estimates of skill are warning signs IMO)
  • Find code to see how well candidate has learned from said experience
In general, the larger the corpus of code to look at, the more accurately I can gauge important things like how well a candidate understands their language(s) of choice, how much experience they have with large code bases, how disciplined they are, how well they adhere to stylistic guidelines, and so on.

The fact that you have a code sample is good, but it's so trivial that it doesn't tell me anything about your abilities as a programmer.

Beyond that, it's a great start - good luck! Edited by ApochPiQ

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That make's a lot of sense, thanks for the reply. Would you suggest I pick and pull certain scripts from each project and host them on gitHub to highlight different areas or put entire projects that show multiple scripts that work together but may contain some single function scripts.

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My rule of thumb is twofold:

- The more code, the better
- The more interesting, the better

If you can post entire projects and a document (ideally directly on your portfolio site) that says what specific code to look at to see interesting stuff you've done, that's about ideal.

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Ripping apart your resume as I read it:


Technical skills.  Why do people think this is a good idea?  CUT!  Prove you have the skills by listing them in the projects you have done.  Saying you are "advanced" at a skill means little.  Some people think "advanced" means they can do a bit more than hello world, other people feel "advanced" means language lawyer.


Co-Founded LLC, managed a development cycle, etc.  If that is the case, why are you looking for a programming job?  Possible reframe: Organized and lead the development team of {NUMBER} developers over a year-long development cycle.  Other code-specific things you did follow, including links.  My BS filter sees this as mostly bogus or extremely inflated. Also, you need to include a time frame.


Art director. Really? WTF? Art Director?  For an entry-level programmer?  Art director is usually a term reserved for people with 10+ years of experience, the art director usually works closely with the development director and manages all things artistic.  My BS filter went nuts with this one.  Somebody may have graced you with that as a title, but I seriously doubt it was your job description.  Also, where are the dates?  


BS in COMMUNICATIONS?!  Yet still applying for a programming position.  At least you have some sort of specialization in computer science, but I don't see any evidence for it.




After the first reading I would not be bothered to look at your web site.





I'd scrap this entirely and rewrite it.  Give me a reason to look at your web site, give me a reason to call you in for an interview.


First line:  Objective: Seeking work as a game programmer (or technical artist, I honestly cannot tell)  You may not think it as important, but HR needs it to file the paper in the correct bin.


Next education: list your school since you only completed it six months ago.  Your bullet points should be projects you completed that showcase skills you can use in the industry.  Specifically state languages used on those projects.


Since Pangaea Arctica was a school project, include it here.  Your web site has a better description than your resume.  Copy/paste it over then touch it up a little bit.



Third:  HOBBY PROJECTS.  They are not regular full-time paid employment, don't make it look that way.


Legend of Goric.  Mark it as a Hobby project, but keep it up top.  Again, your web site description is better than your resume description.  Don't display it as founding a company; keep it as leading a team of developers.  Include dates. As mentioned in the first read-through, you should explicitly state how many people you lead, and what tools and languages you used.  Use all but the first paragraph from your website instead of what you currently have on the resume.  Include a link.


Dragon's Flight.  Copy/paste most of the description from your website into your resume.  Include link.


The Island.  Copy/paste from your site.  Include link.



Next: Work History.  Finally a paid job (apparently, but maybe not.)


PORTS Future.  Include dates.  Include tools used.  If that really was your job title (Art Director) I'd leave that job title off completely.  Completely replace your resume's description with the one on your website.





Overall I like your web site much more than your resume.  Your website isn't too bad and it gets the message across that you want to be a programmer.  


Looking at your web site, the work page is good, the prototypes section is good, but your "code samples" page is garbage.  It shows you had seven total contributions on three different days.  From an employer view that is pretty bad; I want to see somebody who submits code every day.  I don't see any code of significance in the few I looked at.  Poor commenting, little real content, magic numbers, and so on.  Is that really all you've got?

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Thank you frob, I think your criticism and advice is exactly what I needed. I've been showing my resume and portfolio to non-programmers and it's seemed to hurt me more than help. I'll go ahead and clarify a few things on my resume in hopes that you or someone can offer more advice:


Reign Legend of Godric is what I consider to be my first real game. I put the team together with two other friends and 3 other students back when we were still in school. When the project started out I was doing mostly producer type task (assigning people work, getting the team together, discussing design ideas, ect.). About half way through the project one of the two programmers on the team flaked out and I decided to fill their role. I became the second programmer on the project and at the same time lead the team through development. This is when I decided that I wanted to pursue programming full time for game development. Because it was such a small team I did everything from 3D art to programming the tutorials. It's obvious from your response that I really need to frame my experience on this project to be more programmer-centric. 


PORTS was basically a team of students lead by a few professors who worked on the administrative side of things. I was paid for this and originally started out doing 3D models. When we got more funding the decision was made to increase the team size and I moved into the 'art director' role. With the bigger team size i was more involved with meetings and people that were hired by the US DOE. So on this project I did absolutely 0 programming, so my big question is: is it worth it to keep on my resume / portfolio to show that I can hold a job and work well with others? or should I scrap it?


I think a major step I need to take is to start hosting my current and future hobby projects on git to show more code samples and give a better impression to potential employers about my coding ability. Thanks again for taking the time to rip me apart. 

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Share on other sites it worth it to keep on my resume / portfolio to show that I can hold a job and work well with others? or should I scrap it?...


Personally, I'd keep PORTS Future project in your resume/portfolio, but I wouldn't emphasize it too much.


It does show that you know how to work in a team, that you worked with local government which shows that you care for your community, that your hard work was recognized and you were promoted. Now, on the down swing, you really should change your title from art director to something else since, from my understanding, you were more like an artistic lead or producer. You know, by deligating work, making sure things are getting done, and possibly helping with descision making. When I think Art Director, I think of an experienced graphic artist with a couple more years and a few more titles under their belt than the next guy, and that their looking for a more "middle of the road" kind of job. Or you know, some young guy who made up a company with friends and has given themselves a bloated title to try and get a better job without putting in the time or learning the skills they really need to complete whats expected of them.


Anywho, last thing I'll say is your resume is a little boring. Not pleasing to the eye. Now, I'm not saying make one with crazy freakin' images all over it or has a dozen pages or anything like that. It has weird margins, odd sentence structure, and what feels like inconsistent font sizes. Think of your resume as how you show up to an interview. For interviews, you show up in a nice, clean suit and tie that fits well. You wear polished dress shoes with a matching belt. You bring a pen and portfolio. You make an impression to them that you're professional, organized, and a benefit to employ. If your resume looks like it'll run off the page, doesn't line up, is difficult to read or just not good to look at from a distance, then it's the same as showing up to an interview in flip-flops, ill-fitting jean shorts, and a mesh t-shirt. I'm not saying your resume is that bad, but it could use some work. Fix your margins, shorten up descriptions, bullet points are good, find a different way to show a difference between the "employeer" for the project and your title.


Don't be afriad of using indents either; it makes it easier to read.biggrin.png


Hope I was some help and good luck!

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