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SeanO'Brien

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I'm about to embark on an attempt to find permanent work in canada via a years working visa holiday. I've been working for just shy of 2 years as a programmer in Scotland and I've a good idea of what to expect (at times) when it comes to programming job interviews over here. 

 

Usually a short phone call, followed by a test I do at home where if I pass or fail, they'll decide if I get a face to face interview. 

 

I was wondering what if any canadian game devs / professional programmers could give me some insight into what I should expect when I start applying for programming jobs (games and more traditional programming)  across the pond. 

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I'm a game programmer in Canada (I'm a Canadian citizen by birth though).

 

The interview process would be different at each company, but a phone interview followed by an in-person full-day/half-day interview are fairly normal (a take home test not as common, or at least I've never seen one at a Canadian studio).

 

Some fun facts about the Canadian industry:

-There are a lot of contract positions these days. This might work well since you are on a working holiday visa.

-Companies likely won't pay for your relocation unless they are filling a specialized position (i.e. domain expert, Technical director, or you have a ton of relevant experience). You will likely need to be commuting distance to the office when applying. You can always get lucky though I guess.

-Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto are the game dev hubs (at least for AAA). Vancouver is in decline from its golden age but there are still lots of studios in town (EA, Capcom, Microsoft, some independents like UFG, Slant Six, etc.), Toronto is booming (Rockstar, can't remember who else, but quite a few major studios have opened in the last two years), Montreal (EA, Ubisoft, etc.) is still growing but their growth has slowed. There are a few others, like Edmonton (Bioware), but you have limited options in other markets.

-Generally the growth and decline of the game dev industry in Canada is directly tied to provincial tax breaks given to/taken away from the gaming industry. BC (Vancouver) used to have lots of tax breaks. The decline of the industry in Vancouver is tied almost directly to those breaks drying up and Ontario and Quebec introducing their own breaks that attracted a lot of studios to move from Vancouver.

 

 

 

Pay special attention to your working holiday visa conditions. My friend went to work at THQ in Brisbane Australia (right before they shuttered, Doh!), while on a working holiday visa. He was only allowed to work fulltime for 6 months. Afterwards he was only allowed to work at most 20 hours a week for the next 6 months (before he had to return home). Companies will sometimes help you get more official visas, but this is usually for experienced workers, or if they decide you would fit into a regular full time position. Canadian visas are probably different than Aussie visas, by I wouldn't be surprised if they were fairly similar.

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