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AmitOfer

How to figure out if I'm on the right path

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Hi all,

I'm a software developer from Israel, I've been programming professionally since 2011, my first job was in HP software and lasted 2 years after which I decided that I want to pursue my dream in working in game development and focusing on C++.

for a year an a half I worked for a mobile kids games company, doing small mobile games for kids using C++ and Cocos2d-x.

Unfortunately I was laid off last December and since then I've been focusing my free time on studying Unreal engine 4, studying openGL and computer graphics and working on my C++ skills while searching for a new job.

 

I'm very passionate about computer & console games and especially the rendering part and my dream job would be to work on AAA games and to be a graphics programming specialist.

The problem is that there aren't any AAA game companies in Israel so I started looking at positions in Europe and also in other jobs that involves computer graphics but aren't necessarily in games.

 

Last week I got a job offer for a small start up making a game in the "Clash of Clans" genre, the company seems nice, its not my type of games but I'm sure it presents all kinds of challenge but my biggest concern is the fact that the game is implemented in Unity and Python, which are two technologies I'm not so crazy about.

 

I wonder if I should take the job or keep looking for something that involves more C++,OpenGL,DirectX etc.

Do you think that taking a Unity\Python job will take me too far from the OpenGL\DirectX goal I'm trying to reach?

 

I know that good software developers aren't supposed to limit themselves to a certain programming language but I think its good to become really professional at something specific instead of changing language every 2 years.

I guess its being a specialist vs. a generalist question.

 

What do you guys think? should I take this job even though I have some concerns? should I keep searching? maybe doing some freelance work in the meantime?

 

any advice will be appreciated.

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After a few days I decided to decline the offer, the guys at the company said that they appreciate my honesty and they understand my concerns but they believe that the position might be a good fit for me and they asked me to come and see the work they are doing.

I went there yesterday and it seems that most of the work is on the client side and not server (python) side which is better and they also do a lot of work on the graphics side inside unity in order to optimize their game for mobile phones.

So I'm reconsidering the position, my main worry is that I won't be able to move back to C++ and PC\Console gaming after working 1-2 years in Unity\Mobile.

 

What do you guys think?

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I think "worry" is guiding you. I think analysis would help you stop looking to others to help you make your own life decisions.

 

I disagree with this approach, not everything is solvable by math.

I'm looking for people's opinion, specifically people in the industry that know what the requirements for the position that I'm interested in are or have been on this path before.

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So I'm reconsidering the position, my main worry is that I won't be able to move back to C++ and PC\Console gaming after working 1-2 years in Unity\Mobile.

 

 

Why do you think that?  You seem to think using a language is some kind of absolute.  As Dave said, being familiar with a lot of languages is a base skill for any decent programmer.  And unless you are specifically hired to be an engine programmer your day to day work is going to be much like working with Unity at a PC gaming studio.

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So I'm reconsidering the position, my main worry is that I won't be able to move back to C++ and PC\Console gaming after working 1-2 years in Unity\Mobile.

 

 

Why do you think that?  You seem to think using a language is some kind of absolute.  As Dave said, being familiar with a lot of languages is a base skill for any decent programmer.  And unless you are specifically hired to be an engine programmer your day to day work is going to be much like working with Unity at a PC gaming studio.

 

 

Thanks, actually my ideal position would be as an engine programmer on the rendering pipeline, or at least implementing graphics effects etc. using the engine's API

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Lets take for example a job requirements I found which is similar to what I'm aiming for:

 

Your tasks:

  • Work and improve existing 3D Code
  • Maintain existing Engines, Tools and other components
  • Research new Render techniques

Requirements:

  • 3+ years of professional experience (at least one released title)
  • Many years of experience in programming 3D using current Rendering APIs (e.g. DX, OpenGL)
  • Strong skills in C++
  • Very good knowledge of advanced mathematics
  • Good communication skills
  • Ability and desire to work as a team player
  • Self-direction and motivation
  • Strong ability for analyzing and extending existing code
  • Fluent in English
  • Passion for making and playing games

Pluses:

  • Experience in analyzing bottlenecks (GPU / CPU)

None of these bullets include Unity experience as a plus.

So for such position wouldn't another 1-2 years of C++ experience on a non game position would server me better than 1-2 years of experience in Unity?

 

Thanks,

Amit

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So, your pitch to them is that you left the game industry to do something else for a couple of years rather than make games in your non-preferred language.

 

That's not going to go well with "Passion for making and playing games", and while they may want one released title, having released a mobile game a few years earlier and nothing since is not helping you on the professional history.

 

Also, they were asking for "many years" of rendering programming experience, from your initial post, I don't get the sense that you meet that requirement anyway

 

You asked if it would be better for you to move back outside of games rather than switch languages. I guess the question is, which is more important to you. To be programming games, or to be programming in C++? Because that's the question as you presented it.

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Its more important for me to do games, but I want to move to working on AAA pc\console titles and not get stuck on mobile F2P games forever.

And regarding the "many years of experience" I wasn't saying I would apply to this sort of position in a year or two, but these are basically the requirements for my dream job.

As for rendering experience, I'm working toward a MSc degree in computer science and I'm going to write a thesis on something computer graphics related, so I hope this would improve my chances to get into graphics programming.

Edited by aofer

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I wish I was young, but if I was, I'd ask myself: are those guys inspiring and fun and challenging to work with? It's a couple of years, and who knows where you will end up. You will meet new people, learn new tricks of the trade that you can carry with you.

Language is just a tool. It's what you do with your tools that matters. The more you know, the better.

You can always dabble in low level engine C++ hard core stuff on the side (in theory - I am not in the industry :p)

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Thanks for all the feedback.

Eventually after they really talked me into taking the position I decided to go with it, we negotiated the terms and they sent me the contract.

I read the contract and replied and asked some questions about a few clauses for which the CEO did not have an answer and told me he would get back to me after the holiday we had with answers from his lawyer, so I waited and after the holiday I asked him whats going on and he replied on one of the clauses and said he's still waiting for an answer from his lawyer about the second, I started getting the feeling that something is up and then two days later I got a call from the lead programmer telling me they hired someone else.

I'm not saying they did something illegal but I do consider this a "dick move" as they really talked me into coming there and even told me that I can think it over and if there would be another potential candidate they would let me know, and I already said yes and agreed to their terms.

Also during the last week when I was waiting for answers regarding the contract I declined 2 companies that called me about jobs.

 

So I guess that wasn't the job for me, I'm starting my search again...

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I read the contract and replied and asked some questions about a few clauses for which the CEO did not have an answer and told me he would get back to me after the holiday we had with answers from his lawyer ... I'm not saying they did something illegal but I do consider this a "dick move" as they really talked me into coming there and even told me that I can think it over and if there would be another potential candidate they would let me know, and I already said yes and agreed to their terms.

For most companies the employment contract is non-negotiable.  Usually they let you attach list of previous inventions and projects that they don't claim ownership of, but that's about it.

 

You asked the CEO to talk to his lawyer about it.  Think about that for a moment in terms of cost.  You asked them to invest perhaps a thousand or so euros and several hours of time to answer your question.  He answered one of them.  Then you had more questions about another part of their standard contract, again at a cost.

 

All for a standard form that will be filed in a drawer and never reviewed.

 

 

 

While you are right in that you should understand the contracts, that is on YOU to research at YOUR cost, not on THEM to research at THEIR cost.

 

 

 

From reading your posts, you didn't really want the job.  You wrote you didn't want to move, you wrote you weren't sure about the tasks, and you wrote that you had to be talked into the position.  Then once they offered you a job despite your own protests to it, you questioned their standard forms and incurred costs more than once.

 

I'm thinking they made the smart decision there.

 

While you should absolutely follow your passions, be careful that you are not so picky that you reject your dreams because they aren't a 100% perfect match.   Consider that you may be quite happy with a 95% match.

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Thanks, its really great that when you are down, short in money and someone pulled a dick move on you that you get a nice reply like this with words written in capital letters to emphasize your opinion.

 

unfortunately you are wrong, I didn't ask them to talk to their lawyer and have extra costs, the so called CEO (which by the way is about my age and not very experienced, its just a 4 people company) said that if anything about the contract is unclear I should not hesitate to ask questions, one was simple about my study fund which he didn't really understand how it works so he had to ask, and it was a specific question that he had about his contract which I couldn't possibly find out on my own, the other was about a really unclear clauses he had which was there and he even couldn't tell me what it meant.

I believe if he gives people a contract he should understand what it means, anyway talking to his lawyer didn't cost him anything and what I did was a common thing to do, at least here in Israel.

 

And its true, at first I didn't really want it but the lead programmer convinced me and told me (before I agreed to join) that if they have other candidates they would let me know.

 

again, I'm not saying they did something illegal but it was not a friendly thing to do and considering the size of the gaming industry here, it something you should really try to avoid.

I'm not even sure where you got the idea that I wasn't willing to move since the job is 3 minutes walk from my house and in fact I am more than willing to relocate to a different country.

 

I do appreciate all the help you guys give here, but I think that when someone is writing about something like that and when he's obviously pissed at loosing the job etc. you can try to be more sensitive and don't dis him like that.

After all this is a friendly forum.

 

Thanks again.

 

Amit

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I'm not even sure where you got the idea that I wasn't willing to move


I get the idea that you didn't want the job because of all the different things you wrote. They seem pretty clear to me.  You wrote about it:
 

I got a job offer for a small start up making a game in the "Clash of Clans" genre, the company seems nice, its not my type of games

the game is implemented in Unity and Python, which are two technologies I'm not so crazy about.

should I take this job even though I have some concerns?

After a few days I decided to decline the offer, the guys at the company said that they appreciate my honesty and they understand my concerns

my ideal position would be as an engine programmer on the rendering pipeline

I want to move to working on AAA pc\console titles and not get stuck on mobile F2P games forever.

 

It sounds like you've already decided.

 
I certainly have not smile.png

 


All those statements combined, including the fact that YOU TURNED DOWN THE JOB once already, that tells me pretty clearly that you didn't strongly want the job.
 
You turned it down, they talked you back into it, they sent you a contract, and then...

 

Eventually after they really talked me into taking the position I decided to go with it, we negotiated the terms and they sent me the contract.
I read the contract and replied and asked some questions about a few clauses for which the CEO did not have an answer and told me he would get back to me after the holiday we had with answers from his lawyer, so I waited and after the holiday I asked him whats going on and he replied on one of the clauses and said he's still waiting for an answer from his lawyer about the second, I started getting the feeling that something is up and then two days later I got a call from the lead programmer telling me they hired someone else.
I'm not saying they did something illegal but I do consider this a "dick move" as they really talked me into coming there and even told me that I can think it over and if there would be another potential candidate they would let me know, and I already said yes and agreed to their terms.


You didn't actually accept the job at that point.  You might have thought you accepted it, but from the wording you've got there they sent you a contract and you chose not to sign it.
 
You wrote that it is normal for people to question standardized employment contracts in Israel. I strongly doubt that is the case. 
 
In any event, they offered you the job once and you turned it down.  They talked to you again and offered you the job a second time, and you said you'd think about it.  They offered you an employment contract to sign, and you turned it down a third time, wanting more details than the contract. They came back after the holidays, and the fourth time you didn't sign and return the contract, still hoping for more information.
 
And now you are surprised that on the fifth time of getting more information, saying it was "a dick move" that they didn't hire you.
 
They tried to hire you FOUR DIFFERENT TIMES.  
 
There is absolutely zero excuse for you to blame them for not hiring you. They did everything they possibly could to hire you. At any point between the time they sent you the contract and the end of the holidays you could have sent them back a signed contract and you would have had the job.

They gave you the job. All you had to do was sign your name, and they gave you weeks to do it. You did not.

You can try to lie to yourself, try to claim that it was their fault, but it was obviously not. YOU REFUSED THE JOB by not signing the contract. The job was yours and you refused it. That is 100% on you.
 
 

Also during the last week when I was waiting for answers regarding the contract I declined 2 companies that called me about jobs.


Not sure why you would have done that when you had not completely secured an employment contract. While you write that you are between jobs, "down and short on money" it seems nonsensical that you would turn down two other companies when you don't have a signed contract. Probably a novice mistake, but a mistake nonetheless. You live and learn.

If you are still interested in those jobs, contact the companies, tell them that the other contract fell through and you are very interested in interviewing if the positions are still open.

And if one of them offers you a job, if you are still "down and short on money", DO NOT TELL THEM NO.

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again, I'm not saying they did something illegal but it was not a friendly thing to do and considering the size of the gaming industry here, it something you should really try to avoid.

I'm not even sure where you got the idea that I wasn't willing to move since the job is 3 minutes walk from my house and in fact I am more than willing to relocate to a different country.

 

Amit

 

Not a single company does friendly things to be honest. They do business.

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I'm not even sure where you got the idea that I wasn't willing to move


I get the idea that you didn't want the job because of all the different things you wrote. They seem pretty clear to me.  You wrote about it:
 

I got a job offer for a small start up making a game in the "Clash of Clans" genre, the company seems nice, its not my type of games

the game is implemented in Unity and Python, which are two technologies I'm not so crazy about.

should I take this job even though I have some concerns?

After a few days I decided to decline the offer, the guys at the company said that they appreciate my honesty and they understand my concerns

my ideal position would be as an engine programmer on the rendering pipeline

I want to move to working on AAA pc\console titles and not get stuck on mobile F2P games forever.

 

It sounds like you've already decided.

 
I certainly have not smile.png

 


All those statements combined, including the fact that YOU TURNED DOWN THE JOB once already, that tells me pretty clearly that you didn't strongly want the job.
 
You turned it down, they talked you back into it, they sent you a contract, and then...

 

Eventually after they really talked me into taking the position I decided to go with it, we negotiated the terms and they sent me the contract.
I read the contract and replied and asked some questions about a few clauses for which the CEO did not have an answer and told me he would get back to me after the holiday we had with answers from his lawyer, so I waited and after the holiday I asked him whats going on and he replied on one of the clauses and said he's still waiting for an answer from his lawyer about the second, I started getting the feeling that something is up and then two days later I got a call from the lead programmer telling me they hired someone else.
I'm not saying they did something illegal but I do consider this a "dick move" as they really talked me into coming there and even told me that I can think it over and if there would be another potential candidate they would let me know, and I already said yes and agreed to their terms.


You didn't actually accept the job at that point.  You might have thought you accepted it, but from the wording you've got there they sent you a contract and you chose not to sign it.
 
You wrote that it is normal for people to question standardized employment contracts in Israel. I strongly doubt that is the case. 
 
In any event, they offered you the job once and you turned it down.  They talked to you again and offered you the job a second time, and you said you'd think about it.  They offered you an employment contract to sign, and you turned it down a third time, wanting more details than the contract. They came back after the holidays, and the fourth time you didn't sign and return the contract, still hoping for more information.
 
And now you are surprised that on the fifth time of getting more information, saying it was "a dick move" that they didn't hire you.
 
They tried to hire you FOUR DIFFERENT TIMES.  
 
There is absolutely zero excuse for you to blame them for not hiring you. They did everything they possibly could to hire you. At any point between the time they sent you the contract and the end of the holidays you could have sent them back a signed contract and you would have had the job.

They gave you the job. All you had to do was sign your name, and they gave you weeks to do it. You did not.

You can try to lie to yourself, try to claim that it was their fault, but it was obviously not. YOU REFUSED THE JOB by not signing the contract. The job was yours and you refused it. That is 100% on you.
 
 

Also during the last week when I was waiting for answers regarding the contract I declined 2 companies that called me about jobs.


Not sure why you would have done that when you had not completely secured an employment contract. While you write that you are between jobs, "down and short on money" it seems nonsensical that you would turn down two other companies when you don't have a signed contract. Probably a novice mistake, but a mistake nonetheless. You live and learn.

If you are still interested in those jobs, contact the companies, tell them that the other contract fell through and you are very interested in interviewing if the positions are still open.

And if one of them offers you a job, if you are still "down and short on money", DO NOT TELL THEM NO.

 

 

I'M SORRY BUT THE FACT THAT YOU ARE A MODERATOR AND YOU WRITE STUFF WITH CAPS ON DOESN'T MAKE THEM TRUE!

 

I wrote how it happened, how can you even say I refused 5 times?

and yes, this is how things work here, I never had the option to send back a signed contract, this is not how things work, you get the contract and then you meet again to sign it, you can't just mail it back, its not the way people do these things here, trust me, I live here, I work here, already signed 3 contract so I DO KNOW!.

 

I refused them the first time because there was an other job I was interviewing for that I was more interested in, I was being honest with them, and then they talked me into it and that other job didn't pay through, I guess my mistake was being too honest and trusting they would be as honest as me.

If it was a large company I wouldn't expect them to be, since it was a start up company with 3 guys about my age, I trusted them to treat me the same way.

Clearly this was my mistake, but it doesn't mean they didn't do a shitty thing.

 

I did contact back the other 2 companies that called and I'm waiting to hear back about interviewing, but its in the graphics field and not games.

To tell you the truth I'm disappointed in the game industry in Israel.

All people here care about is making money fast so the game industry here only includes fast developed mobile games and casino games.

I really wish that could change one day as we certainly have all the talent here.

To me it just seems that people here are more interested in getting money fast than building something big and creative and advancing this industry here.

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