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SeraphLance

How soon to start being proactive?

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So I know that the games industry is very competitive, and I'm about to start my last semester at Uni.  My question is, how soon should I start looking proactively (i.e. actually applying for jobs and making phone calls)?  I've got a decently-paying job I can fall back on that I don't particularly want, so it's not like I'm going to starve anyway.

 

I know that software companies in my area typically start looking for new hires a few months before the end of the semester (for spring at least).  How does this compare for game developers, and does it change if I'm applying from out-of-state (which I will -- Idaho isn't exactly a mecca of gamedev).

 

EDIT:  Forgot to mention -- this is for the programming side of things, ideally something technical if that matters (I assume Zynga has a shorter hiring churn than Epic, to note extremes).

Edited by SeraphLance

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You can start networking now. I wouldn't start sending out applications earlier than 3-4 months before graduation, but I know others will disagree.

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I agree with Tom about networking and when to start applying. There are a couple of other things to bear in mind:

 

1) Internships are in sync with semesters, permanent jobs are not. Games companies may offer promising interns permanent positions but generally they hire all year round based on project demands. If you have a particular company in mind, keep an eye on what they're up to for clues: if they've just shipped a game it's likely a new project will start ramping up a month or two after. If they've just announced a game, there's a chance they're moving from pre-production into production which can need new staff.

 

2) Most universities have a computing or games course. Even discounting the people who didn't take it seriously, that's a hell of a lot of new graduates for very few junior jobs and on paper at least most of them look the same - no real job experience and a bunch of education grades. You need to stand out from the crowd - develop some polished portfolio demos that show off your programming abilities - it also makes the interview process a lot easier for both you and for the interviewer because they can ask you questions about technical choices you made and you get to talk about something you know (and get to prove you've not just rote learnt the very basics).

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