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About to finish my CS degree. What's the next step?

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I've just spent a while reading the FAQ's proposed on the sticky post and I must say it's been a really good read. However, I'm posting this because I need some advice on my specific situation.


I'm Pepe Camarasa, a Computer Science student from Spain. I've finished all the courses and only my final project remains before I finish the 5-year degree. Currently I'm working on it at my university in a research group (http://www.ai2.upv.es/en/index.php) as intern on a project about food quality control in C++/Qt/OpenCV and my contract ends at the end of november, which means a couple of months later I'll be ready to pursue my gamedev career.


While it has been offered to me the chance to stay there and work towards a PhD, game development is where my passion lies, so I've already contacted my superior and explained to him that I won't continue with my work there. Having taken this decision, now I can't but wonder what should be my next step.


Sending CV's is probably the most obvious. However, having read a lot of stories, advices and tips about breaking into the industry,it seems like my chances are fairly low. One of the most common things I've heard around the internet is that finished projects help a lot, so while studying, I decided to work on a couple of gamedev-related projects on my own during 3+ years. The results? A C++ 2D engine+editor (https://code.google.com/p/alegria-engine/) and an Android game (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=seq.game).


With the savings I earned by working here at the university I can spend some months focusing almost exclusively on getting a job. So my specific question is: Given my background, what would be the best thing to do during that time in order to land a job?


Should I complete more projects before sending CV's (gamejams, learning existing engines...)? Or should I send them right away? Any tips regarding interviews? Am I lacking any obvious knowledge (C# maybe)? Should I specialize on a specific area? Any tips on getting to know people from the industry?


I know it's a vague question, but as my first contact with the industry I'm a bit overwhelmed. I've worked hard and I plan to do the same until I get a job, but some guidelines would be extremely appreciated, so thank you very much for taking the time of reading this!


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One of the most common things I've heard around the internet is that finished projects

That depends on your definition of finished.  It also depends on what area of games you want to go into. Console, PC, Mobile, Web?  Graphics, Physics, AI, Gameplay?  Tools?

You need to pick an area that you would really want to work in and produce a demo that shows off some skill in this area.  Your demo(s) don't need to be massive hundreds of line chunks of code or complete games either. They just need to make somebody looking at it show some interest.   Also breaking in isn't anywhere near as difficult as it used to be.  Send your CV out to every company you can find and contact a few recruiters and you'll soon find some kind of offer.


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Buster2000: Thank you for your comment, that's an interesting piece of advice. I've always leaned toward Tools Programmer so I'll check into that.


Tom: Thanks for the response, your articles are very informative. Seems like not being local is quite problematic. I'll be looking for jobs around europe so I'll be sure to tell the person I contact with that travelling to make an in-place interview it's a possibility, I hope that helps a bit. Will make sure to extend my portfolio while I search, too. Thanks for the insight.


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