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bratiefanut

The importance of a portfolio for a game dev

7 posts in this topic

Hello everybody!

 

Recently I tried to set up my online portfolio. How important is to have one out there and how must one be structured? Waiting for serious advice from the people who have one or from other experienced people. Here is mine : http://bratie.wordpress.com. What do you think? You would hire me? :D

 

Thank you! 

Edited by Vidar son of Odin
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Well, a portfolio with names on impresses people. If you went to a studio with a big AAA title on it you'd gain their attention no doubt. Otherwise? Depends on the recruiter I guess.

 

My friend got a job with Media Tonic through handing them a half-finished iOS app that they were really blown away by. Another friend got a job through assessment centres and tests with Microsoft. I got a job at Exient through being the highest scorer on a programming test. Most of the programmers at the company got in by doing well on said test or by doing not-so-well but shining in the interview.

 

It's rare you'll be recruited purely off a portfolio. They'll want to interview you and more likely than not test your programming abilities. I can't speak for the whole industry, but from what I've seen a portfolio really doesn't carry the weight it does in more creative roles. It wouldn't hurt to have one, but don't feel it's a total necessity.

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Well, a portfolio with names on impresses people. If you went to a studio with a big AAA title on it you'd gain their attention no doubt. Otherwise? Depends on the recruiter I guess.

 

My friend got a job with Media Tonic through handing them a half-finished iOS app that they were really blown away by. Another friend got a job through assessment centres and tests with Microsoft. I got a job at Exient through being the highest scorer on a programming test. Most of the programmers at the company got in by doing well on said test or by doing not-so-well but shining in the interview.

 

It's rare you'll be recruited purely off a portfolio. They'll want to interview you and more likely than not test your programming abilities. I can't speak for the whole industry, but from what I've seen a portfolio really doesn't carry the weight it does in more creative roles. It wouldn't hurt to have one, but don't feel it's a total necessity.

I don't expect to be hired only if someone is looking at my newbie portfolio. Someone told me that if an employer is looking at a lot of CVs per day they kinda get bored and an online portfolio give them the posibility to easier see what I can do and then call me for an interview.

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As a programmer:

 

I've seen people that have an optional section for submitting a portfolio at initial application, but from my experience most people care more about what you know and what you can do on the spot, since there's no way to reliably tell if a "portfolio" is actually yours and yours alone.  For anything above an entry level job, it becomes all about how many products you've helped ship.

 

That said, having a portfolio doesn't hurt, and the very fact that you're working on stuff gives you something to talk about, and a lot of interviewers want to know about what you've done and what challenges you've faced in the process.

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I wonder if I wouldn't be a little put off if portfolio didn't matter. If only because I wouldn't know if my colleagues were serious business. What good does a test really do but make sure you know your const char* a from your const char* const a? Not a big fan of trivia either.

 

What would it say about you if you joined a hopeless place of 8-4 programmers? I want to work with people who care about all of "this." Whatever this happens to be.

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Your specific portfolio is not super helpful, though the idea of a portfolio is.

Some suggestions:
(a) Explain what each portfolio entry is and _what you did_ specifically. This is especially true for group projects; the project is unimportant compared to _what you did_.
(b) You have 30 seconds to make a meaningful impression. Use a tile layout, maybe some animations, with the text from (a) included or easily accessible. You've already overcome the odds and gotten someone to look at your site; don't spoil it by making them scroll, click, or hunt more than absolutely necessary.
(c) No downloads. Aside from the danger of viruses in unknown .exe's, each download is several clicks and some waiting that wastes the little time you have to impress. Make the pieces Web apps if interactivity is key to understanding them or embedded movies otherwise. Many engines/toolkits today can be compiled to asm.js so you don't necessarily need to recode things just to make a Web app. Have downloads as well if you wish but don't make them mandatory to appreciating the portfolio.
(d) Show off the cool stuff, not first-year student homework assignments. To be blunt, the basic job requirements of most games engineering jobs include the ability to write tic-tac-toe from complete scratch in a few hours, so showing off such a game does not make you stand out from the other 100's of applicants to the job. If you don't have anything interesting to show off then your portfolio may well do more harm than good (I've seen it happen).
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Moving to job advice forum.

A portfolio serves to help answer the two important questions employers need to know, "Will you do the job well?" and "Will you fit in?"

A good portfolio can demonstrate it by showing you have actually made good games.

Anything that suggests you will not do the job well or will not fit in might count against you. Bad source code, bad coding habits, bugs in playable demos, these could all discourage an employer from considering you. That is why everything in a portfolio should be your best work. If you have a hard time putting that together, it might be better for you NOT to have a portfolio. Unlike artists and animators, programmers can get jobs in the industry fairly easily without a portfolio. Generally the employer will give you coding tests and also ask a lot of tough questions that can weed out non-programmers handily.

As for your site specifically, I don't see anything I would hold against you as an entry level worker. It shows you care about creating games and that you have built a few small ones. The source code is far from perfect, but about what I would expect at an entry level. I would still give you programming tests and technical interviews, but what is up there is satisfactory. I would prefer to see more source code and documented links to that code, but wouldn't fight against what you posted there; it has some source, links to some executables (which I didn't run, but others might), both of which are useful in assessing your current abilities. Edited by frob
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Portfolios are a great way to showcase your work, but you should only include your best work in it (ie no Hello, World apps) as well as code snippets showing your programming abilities. The other half is your resume, which again, only put relevant information on it (ie if you are trying to get a programming job, then you don't need to list that you worked at the local gas station during high school). Above all, just keep programming and building your resume and portfolio and constantly show it around to get pointers for improving it or where you may need to remove things.

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