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I am beginning to hate the IT and gaming industry (Part 2)

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A little over a year later, I feel a need to do a sequel to my previous thread: http://www.gamedev.net/topic/664743-i-am-beginning-to-hate-the-it-and-gaming-industry/

 

Now, going back to some of the advice from that thread, and looking at my current experience and perspective, I can honestly say that my views towards the industry haven't changed much, even though I've worked on two great positions since then.  To be quite honest, I still hate how this industry works and it's really burning me out.  Some things cannot be helped, others are just bogus and obsolete traditions that employers cannot seem to do a way with.  This isn't a "tantrum" because I couldn't get job at company XYZ, but more of a continuation of my previous venting about my frustration involving a vicious cycle of [finding/keeping] employment and security.

 

Rather than ranting away, I'll share a list of points like I did last year.

 

1. Whiteboarding

 

The one thing I absolutely hate the most about interviewing, and that is whiteboarding.  Let me get this one out of the way first.  Let's face it, whiteboarding sucks, it's mundane, and it cannot accurately attest to a candidate's actual ability to perform the given task.  Apparently, more and more software devs are agreeing with this.

 

http://programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/188381/engineering-interview-candidate-refuses-to-use-whiteboard

http://www.forbes.com/sites/vivekravisankar/2015/05/04/the-rise-and-looming-fall-of-the-engineering-whiteboard-interview/#2983bfdc471b

http://techcrunch.com/2015/03/21/the-terrible-technical-interview/

 

From Forbes:

 

You give them a coding challenge, like “sort an array of 100 integers.” They have to stand up, turn to a vertical blank slate and handwrite code from scratch while a handful of senior engineers scrutinize their every word and move. Writing code on a whiteboard is a skill in and of itself. How does this awkward experience tell you anything meaningful about how well engineers can truly think and work in their element?

 

From Techcrunch:

 

Few professions seem so openly hostile to their current members as software engineering … we expect people to do live engineering on a white board under stressful interview conditions because, well, because that is what we have always done … In a time of engineer austerity, we simply can’t afford to throw away so much talent.

 

The software developer job interview doesn’t work. Companies should stop relying on them. The savviest teams will outcompete their peers by devising alternative hiring schemes.

 

I believe these sum it up nicely, as it has been my experience also.  Now, I've heard many of you say, "interviewers are more interested in your problem solving skills than how well/accurately you code the actual problem".  I always have and always will call bulls**t on that.  If that's so, then why do I NEVER get the job unless I nail the whiteboard problem on the first try with no error and at full optimization?  I've demonstrated great problem solving skills and have been commended on it multiple times, but still didn't get it because I didn't do the problem perfectly.  So you can tell me this until you are blue in the face and I will never believe it since I've been through many, many, many white board interviews.

 

A whiteboard test does little to attest to someone's skill or experience level.  There's really no point in solving some mundane problem that will never really be used in most cases.  On top of that, the ability or lack thereof to solve that particular problem within a certain amount of time does not attest to one's skills either.  There are many common whiteboard problems out there, most of which can be googled and practiced as well as memorized.  That way, a poor or inexperienced coder could slip under the radar with ease.  Good candidates aren't like parrots; memorize and repeat.  They are built to solve real world problems in practical conditions and environments.

 

One of the last interviews I had, the interviewer told me that he felt (based on the whiteboard) that I would not be able to ramp up quickly enough and that I would likely be replaced during this 4 month contract time period.  That is complete and utter nonsense.  How the hell can you tell this by someone's whiteboarding exam problem that has NOTHING to do with the task you're actually being interviewed for?  See how retarded this process is?

 

Fortunately, my last position at Microsoft didn't involve a whiteboard test, and I was very grateful of that.  Because of that, I was able to prove and demonstrate my exceptional skills as an SDET with hardware and driver level programming skill and leave a lasting impression on my superiors and co-workers.  Some of that stuff I wrote would be solutions that most experienced coders would not have come up with because I had both the affinity and the aptitude for the task at hand.  If they had gone through the usual BS whiteboard exam, not only would I not have gotten the job, but much of the work going into one of their latest devices would likely have never been done.

 

So frankly, I've taken much of the advice on whiteboarding in my previous thread, and it never really helped.  Only a perfect whiteboard answer would get me the job, nothing else.  Bottom line: whiteboarding.... it just, doesn't, work.  There's not much more that I hate about interviews with a hiring manager who has already determined that you don't have a chance in hell at getting this job because of the whiteboard test, but still smiles in your face and talks as if you do.  I mean really, at my last interview, one of the interviewers wrote something on a piece of paper and showed it to another person next to him right in front of me.  Wtf?  How stupid do you think I am?

 

Bonus fact: The last two jobs I had didn't require me to take a whiteboard test, which I believe is the primary reason why I got those jobs.  There was one more I could have had, but I was told I was overqualified since I talked about my coding skills/experience.

 

2. Contract vs. Permanent

 

This can't always be helped, and it's a part of life, I understand that.  But in my experience (and in others, I'm quite sure), more and more companies are either outsourcing their projects to recruiters or just simply hiring temporarily for a single project.  It makes sense in many ways, but at the same time, when it comes to contract work, you can never really expect it to last the full duration you are quoted.  For me, it never does.  Never.  If I'm quoted a year, I'd expect to be employed for half of that roughly.  This is especially true during release time, then they start looking at ways to cut budgets and starting dishing out layoffs.  It's so predictable, and tiring not being able to settle down at one place.  Of course, one good thing about this is that with every new job I get, my salary increases and my worth as an employee is easier to self quantify.  But knowing that you are about to get the boot as well as knowing that you are expendable at any sudden moment can really put pressure on you to perform or even outperform co-workers.  The animosity created by competition is real, and I've seen it more than once, even at Microsoft.  The last thing I want is to be pitted against my co-workers for the sake of keeping a job and/or becoming permanent.

 

"If you are tired of contracting, why not apply for full time?".  Do you think I haven't been trying that??  The consideration, availability and sheer competition for full time employment is astronomically stacked against you.  I've been searching my arse off for it.  So far, I've only had one interview for full time, and let's just say it was whiteboard related as to why I didn't get it.  Employers are getting tighter and tighter, and are looking for clever ways to save a buck, even if it means trying to find senior level people and trying to avoid paying them what they are worth.

 

3. Startups & Small Companies vs. Big Corporations

 

Now, I get a ridiculous amount of the same suggestion on this.  And that suggestion is, "why don't you try a startup or a smaller company instead"?  Once again, do you think I haven't been trying those??  The truth is, I've had a MUCH harder time with applying for startups and smaller businesses than the large "gargantuan" companies as someone put it before.  Startups generally don't give me the light of day.  Believe me, I've tried many times.  The larger the company, the more success I tend to have.  If there's one thing I like about Microsoft, is that they usually give me a fair trial inspite of them being one of the lower paying companies.  And if I had to choose, I'd likely choose a gargantuan company because I don't like the "social friendly beer friday" types of company atmospheres.  I want to come to work, get my stuff done, work hard, build myself up, and maybe an occasional goof day.  None of that extra stuff.  If you want to party and drink, don't do it around me and look for an excuse to dig up dirt on me with HR; why not do it on your own time?  Leave me alone and let me work.  So yeah, the work hard feel of the big corporate environment is what I like.

 

4. All About the Experience

 

Some of this I already ranted before, but I'll do it again.  Yup, no experience == no job.  End of story.  I keep hearing stuff like putting your own projects or things like game jams or coding competitions on your resume.  That stuff never really seems to work for me.  Maybe it does and I just don't know it, but employers never talk about it; rarely if ever.  I've even had one employer say that I had no experience based on personal projects.  On top of that, it tends to confuse employers and recruiters.  So, I generally don't bother.

 

So unless I've done <insert here> and got paid for it by someone else, I'm not experienced?  Yeah, F you.  If I had mountains of experience as they always seem to search for, I wouldn't be looking for a job, would I?  Because I'd have companies throwing themselves at me like blonde gold diggers throwing themselves a millionaires. 

 

I do understand that experience is important, especially in this field.  The more experience I gain, the more I understand the difference between an experienced professional developer and the high school or undergrad who's only taken a few courses and done a few side projects.  Speaking of inexperienced, what's with entry level positions having such strict experience requirements? 

 

5. Enthusiam Makes Up for Inexperience

 

Riiiiiight, sure it does.  Another thing you'll never convince me of.  Seriously, if that were the case, then I'd have had much more success.  If I had a dollar for all the enthusiasm I've shown to make up for inexperience, I'd have enough to pay my rent (and I don't right now, and it SUCKS)!  You can have all the enthusiasm in the world and they still won't give you the light of day.  Only one exception I've had was a company (that some of you might be surprised to know still exists) that wanted to give me a chance due to my enthusiasm.  What happened?  Still didn't get the job because of "not enough experience".  This goes for big and small companies, and startups have been the most picky about it so far.

 

6. "Overqualified"

 

This is one thing I never touched on in the last rant.  What the hell is "overqualified"?  Don't you want someone that can go above and beyond for your company?  Or do you fear the candidate would get "bored"?  These days, a job is nothing to be taken for granted.  One member here says that basically means "you are a threat".  I guess I could see that, but really, with companies not willing to pay someone a competent salary, what the actual frell?  Normally when you hear the words "overqualified", it's hard to get out of that zone.  So far, I've gotten out of the overqualified zone only once.  Still didn't get the job though.

 

 

So that's my rant for this year.  Not nearly as long, but sharing my experience based on the responses on the previous thread as well as the results from trying out those suggestions.  My general opinion hasn't changed from last time either.  And just to reiterate this once more, I do not want to work for a gaming company, ever again.  Just so we're clear on that because I like being treated and paid like an adult.

 

I've even thought of saying something like this at an interview before: "How about I refuse your whiteboard test?  Why?  Because it's an out dated, mundane and ineffective way to judge someone's skill or experience level.  Do you seriously expect to accurately measure someone's talent or problem solving skills by putting them on the spotlight where everything you write or say can be used against you?  Better yet, how can you be sure this isn't a problem I've memorized through the internet?  I've proven that with my previous and extensive experience that I already know how to code effectively, even through a nice list of references.  Now, unless you have a more practical way of evaluating my skill set, I will walk.  What do I suggest?  I dunno, you tell me.  Show me the door."

 

Needless to say, I see a growing number of devs getting tired of this cycle.  And now I want to break it.

 

Shogun.

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I read your rant and although I haven't exactly had masses of interviews I do tend to agree. The issues is that people have very little time to judge you and really an interview tells you next to nothing about the actual person. Charm wins and it doesn't sound like you are that kind of person judging by this:

 

 And if I had to choose, I'd likely choose a gargantuan company because I don't like the "social friendly beer friday" types of company atmospheres.  I want to come to work, get my stuff done, work hard, build myself up, and maybe an occasional goof day.  None of that extra stuff.

 

I feel the same way and I think that asocial people do have a tougher time in this regards, it's how the world works unfortunately. 

 

?Do you ever ask your interviews for feedback or anything like that? 

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I do most of the technical hiring where I work, as in interviews.

 

I never liked the concept of whiteboarding because it's time consuming/wasteful/stressful. Instead, I simply break one of our smaller projects a bit, and ask them to build it. I check to make sure they notice the important errors, make sure they look at the class view of the components we're using to see why parameters are wrong, ask them where they'd put a debug write to figure it out. If they demonstrate the ability to make logical decisions (Most of the time it can't be resolved without in-depth knowledge of the app), they usually get a pass for the things they don't know.

 

It's surprising to me that if you out-perform your co-workers, you'll still be let go while working for a company like Microsoft... Have you tried speaking with your project manager about it, and stressing the fact that they often re-hire you wasting resources on more interviews?

 

the IT sector is extremely unfriendly to workers, game dev even more so... But I don't really understand why. Some of our core devs don't even have degrees, but were hired on their obvious skill. And when we have a team that delivers great software, we wouldn't consider cutting anyone just to save money... That money should be re-invested into the company, and the cycle of potentially hiring/firing devs all the time's costly.

Edited by conquestor3

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Did you try to apply to non-game dev positions, or at least check out your chances to get such a position? Given that you are fed up with the game industry this much, and even a year later feel the same, Maybe the game industry is no longer for you?

 

A lot of things might be the same (the whiteboarding plague did jump over to other areas of the IT... I can tell from personal expierience), some are different (many industries are looking for devs like mad, whereas the games industry seems to be saturated with them)....

 

And while you might lack the job expierience now, maybe some short term education, as well as selling yourself well during interviews can help you over that hurdle?

 

 

Now, from what I have seen in my area, which is business dev in medium to large companys, there are the ones that are looking for "senior programmers" (when most probably a junior could do the job, and have time to spare), listing an immense wishlist of qualifications from potential hires. They will do the full whiteboard testing, and more. Most of the time these are wellpaid jobs (I'd call them overpaid given what I expect the job to be about, but I am guessing with only one case where I know thanks to inside information).

Then there are people that are just looking for an able engineer that does the job, and actually fits in the team. I have had one interview where they said they would do the full whiteboarding routine, but later abandoned it (they claimed because of time, I guess they were never really convinced of the method). Most probably less well paid jobs with a higher emphasis on finding someone fitting into the team (at least true in that one case).

 

Thus, at least in other fields than game devs, you do find jobs that are just doing hiring the good old fashioned way.

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1. Whiteboarding

I've been involved in both giving and receiving of interviews many times. 

 

Very few companies have ever asked me to write code on a whiteboard.  I've had to solve problems and diagram things on a white board, but that is different from writing code. I don't require people to write code on a whiteboard. 

 

In my job, many times I've needed to diagram problems and work out solutions where the whiteboard is the easiest thing on hand to help collaborate. So that part is realistic. 

 

I agree that "write perfect code on a whiteboard" is an unrealistic assessment. If a company is doing that, they've got a terrible interviewing practice.

 

The process of "Let me explain and diagram a problem for you to solve", however, IS a realistic assessment because that happens all the time in my experience. That is fine.

 

 


2. Contract vs. Permanent
 
This can't always be helped, and it's a part of life, I understand that.  But in my experience (and in others, I'm quite sure), more and more companies are either outsourcing their projects to recruiters or just simply hiring temporarily for a single project.  It makes sense in many ways, but at the same time, when it comes to contract work, you can never really expect it to last the full duration you are quoted.  For me, it never does.  Never.  If I'm quoted a year, I'd expect to be employed for half of that roughly.  This is especially true during release time, then they start looking at ways to cut budgets and starting dishing out layoffs.  It's so predictable, and tiring not being able to settle down at one place.  Of course, one good thing about this is that with every new job I get, my salary increases and my worth as an employee is easier to self quantify.  But knowing that you are about to get the boot as well as knowing that you are expendable at any sudden moment can really put pressure on you to perform or even outperform co-workers.  The animosity created by competition is real, and I've seen it more than once, even at Microsoft.  The last thing I want is to be pitted against my co-workers for the sake of keeping a job and/or becoming permanent.

There are several kinds of contracting. Some bother me terribly, others not so much.

 

If the company is using it as a way for contractors to compete against each other and the worst are culled, that is a bad sign.  I don't know if that is what is actually happening or if that is only in your head.

 

Companies use contractors all the time. Sometimes they bring in a company that does the work, so you are hired for one company and then assigned to another, much like hiring a contracting company to do construction work or paint walls or make repairs. I spent nearly two years doing this type of work, being hired full time by one company and then brought in for job after job under contract elsewhere. 

 

Other times employers use contract-to-hire as an easier way to screen employees. Since many locations have laws that make it more difficult to fire an employee if they don't work out, often up to three months before they are bound to you, companies will use a six month or one year contract that converts them to regular employees at the end, or allows them to be fired more easily for the longer period. 

 

If your complaint is that companies are breaking their contracts with you early, and that it happens frequently, that is not like what I've experienced or witnessed, except for people who are toxic to be around.  If the person is not sociable or difficult to work with, they will be gone, either for a contractor getting their contract terminated or a regular employee getting written up, having a "performance improvement plan" or similar document put together, and being fired a month later if the attitude did not completely turn around.

 


3. Startups & Small Companies vs. Big Corporations

These are all very different entities.

 

Your assessment is correct that the smaller businesses are sometimes harder to get called back, and harder still to get the job. Sometimes it is easier.  The biggest determining factor, in my experience, is how your job history looks.  If you look like a job hopper, or like you cannot complete projects, your job history is suspicious. 

 

Startups and small companies are more shy of people with suspicious records.  If you've got five or ten years of experience somewhere they love it, you'll likely be an asset. But small companies usually have extremely lean budgets and they don't want to take a risk on a bad employee. 

 

Big companies can usually afford to take more risks when it comes to workers with suspicious work histories.

 

If your resume is short, or if your jobs appear to be moving from company to company in under two years, whatever the reason, it makes sense that startups and small companies won't hire you.  They will dig in and want to know the reason for each early separation. They can understand an early termination if the high-risk project was terminated, sometimes a person is unlucky and gets two such jobs. But more than that and they're unlikely to consider you for the risk.

 


4. All About the Experience Some of this I already ranted before, but I'll do it again.  Yup, no experience == no job.

This has been true forever.  You could not get a job at a village or town without having done the job first elsewhere, so young men were often apprenticed to a craftsman or other professional job if the family could afford it.

 

I think most of this has been addressed in countless other posts. What you write is somewhat true, but giving up is the wrong answer.

 


5. Enthusiam Makes Up for Inexperience

I'm not sure where you heard that.  You need to be passionate and enthusiastic about the work, but in no way does it compensate for lack of experience.

 

Someone who hates the industry (as it seems you do) will tend to have an attitude that is toxic to everyone.  Those who work with the individual get frustrated and angry rather than taking pride in their accomplishments. People who do not enjoy their jobs tend to arrive late and leave early, tend to do shoddy work, tend to be bad employees.

 

I look for passion when interviewing people. No matter how experienced they are, they must also demonstrate passion for something in the interview process. I don't care what aspect about the job they love, and I'll ask several open questions about it: What do you enjoy most about the job? What have you done that you are most proud of? What are some examples of the best work days you've had? What do you do for fun? What fun games have you played?

 

If they have no passion for the job it makes them a bad fit.  If they have insufficient experience it also makes them a bad fit.  


6. "Overqualified"
 
This is one thing I never touched on in the last rant.  What the hell is "overqualified"?  Don't you want someone that can go above and beyond for your company? 

It is a dangerous thing.  

 

When people have skills and experience that are more advanced that the job requires, it is important to understand why. Go search online for the problems of underemployment to get some comprehensive writing, including actual studies, on the subject.

 

If the reason for underemployment is that they cannot find a job at their skill level and they are getting the job while continuing the hunt for a better match, this is a bad sign. This is sadly common since businesses are pyramidal, the higher up in the hierarchy you move the fewer positions there are. Generally the person will be unhappy in the job since it is not at the skill level or compensation level they prefer, and often the worker is going to leave as soon as they can. While they are at the job they will probably behave in a high-performing capacity and so get much attention, but at the same time studies show the underemployed who want more will quickly develop a bitter attitude, so they get a combination of toxic attitude that is highly visible, which is bad for morale. The company has little reason to work with them because anything invested in them will be lost and there is a high risk they will harm the company along the way.

 

If the reason for underemployment is that the person tried the more advanced positions but did not like them, this can be a boon for the company. They are getting someone who would normally have progressed up the career ladder, but for their own reasons, are willing to remain at a lower level typically for a lower cost.  The company can get someone with the skills of a senior developer but pay the rate of a mid-career worker.

 

Unfortunately for employers, there are some people who are in the former who act as though they are in the latter.  They cannot find their desired work, so they act as though they want a lesser role but will still be unhappy and leave when the opportunity arises. 

 

It is also a euphemism for age discrimination. Those who have many years of experience gain many skills, so if you don't want to hire someone because they are old you can mention the problem of being overqualified and the fear that they will be unhappy and want to leave the job. 

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I believe these sum it up nicely, as it has been my experience also.  Now, I've heard many of you say, "interviewers are more interested in your problem solving skills than how well/accurately you code the actual problem".  I always have and always will call bulls**t on that.  If that's so, then why do I NEVER get the job unless I nail the whiteboard problem on the first try with no error and at full optimization?  I've demonstrated great problem solving skills and have been commended on it multiple times, but still didn't get it because I didn't do the problem perfectly.  So you can tell me this until you are blue in the face and I will never believe it since I've been through many, many, many white board interviews.


I'm a bit on the junior side, but I've also never been asked to do whiteboard coding. While I have been asked to use whiteboards to explain my thinking, the only times I was coding were either on paper as part of a written exam or in an actual IDE, on an actual PC.

I suppose you've ruled out the notion that employers are using absurdly high standards of whiteboard coding and experience to weed you out for reasons unrelated to your actual technical competence? I wouldn't be terribly surprised at some employers having a "favored candidate" and going out of their way to make things tough for people who aren't that candidate - or don't "look" like their ideal candidate, either in terms of personality/temperament, experience level, or even (sadly) things like race or gender.
 

What the hell is "overqualified"? Don't you want someone that can go above and beyond for your company?


According to what I've heard, in addition to what frob said, "overqualified" means "will get bored and leave if we don't pay them a salary higher than what we want to pay." Edited by Oberon_Command

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Btw, the reason I typed another rant was in hopes that someone could help persuade me to view otherwise.  So far, nobody has done it, in or out of this forum.  Don't worry, I promise this is the last time.

 


Charm wins

I'm not convinced.  There was nothing charming about me when I demonstrated skill that got me a job.

 


Do you ever ask your interviews for feedback or anything like that?

Assuming I'm reading you correctly (sorry, this is a bit ambiguous to me), interviewers give me feedback a day or two after the interview.  Asking for feedback before leaving is something they generally don't do.  So it kinda goes back to the "smile in your face until you leave" thing.

 

 

I do most of the technical hiring where I work, as in interviews.

 

I never liked the concept of whiteboarding because it's time consuming/wasteful/stressful. Instead, I simply break one of our smaller projects a bit, and ask them to build it. I check to make sure they notice the important errors, make sure they look at the class view of the components we're using to see why parameters are wrong, ask them where they'd put a debug write to figure it out. If they demonstrate the ability to make logical decisions (Most of the time it can't be resolved without in-depth knowledge of the app), they usually get a pass for the things they don't know.

 

It's surprising to me that if you out-perform your co-workers, you'll still be let go while working for a company like Microsoft... Have you tried speaking with your project manager about it, and stressing the fact that they often re-hire you wasting resources on more interviews?

 

the IT sector is extremely unfriendly to workers, game dev even more so... But I don't really understand why. Some of our core devs don't even have degrees, but were hired on their obvious skill. And when we have a team that delivers great software, we wouldn't consider cutting anyone just to save money... That money should be re-invested into the company, and the cycle of potentially hiring/firing devs all the time's costly.

I like this way of thinking, very much so.  I find this to be more practical than the typical whiteboard exam.  I found that interviews that involve an actual IDE and real world problems I enjoy even better.  Even though I didn't get the last position that interviewed me this way (not senior level enough), it was much more productive and I even learned a thing or two I could have improved on so that interview even though I failed was actually worth going to.  C#/Java and Selenium Webdriver is definitely a skill that can be mastered fairly easily.  As soon as I can afford to pay for my domain again, I'll spend a few moments automating my website and see if it's feasible for other stuff.

 

And yes, that's just how it is... when you're not a full time employee.  Chances are, they'll never find another guy who's able to write driver level GPU code and performance monitoring tools from scratch so easily either.  If I was full time, then getting rid of me would not be as easy.  And yes, I did talk to my managers about getting full time work.  Letting me go wasn't their decision, otherwise they'd have kept me because I was highly praised for my skills there.

 

Yes, it is quite hostile, hence why I left gaming as a career in 2013 permanently because I was fed up with being seen as a lesser employee and getting yelled at because I didn't do <insert here> to their immediate liking.  Working for non-gaming companies has treated me much better.  That's why I prefer working on the run of the mill software program in an traditional environment.  Better treatment, better pay.

 


Did you try to apply to non-game dev positions, or at least check out your chances to get such a position? Given that you are fed up with the game industry this much, and even a year later feel the same, Maybe the game industry is no longer for you?

Okay, I remember you replied last time, but I wanted to make things a bit clearer just in case you didn't understand me now or prior.  I haven't worked for any gaming related company/position since 2013 when I decided it was enough.  So yes, I have applied and worked at many non-gaming companies and have been quite satisfied with most of those jobs.  Needless to say, I've had much more success and fulfillment with non-game dev.

 


And while you might lack the job expierience now, maybe some short term education, as well as selling yourself well during interviews can help you over that hurdle?

Education won't really change anything.  It's quite rare that I'm asked for any degree credentials or turned down due to lack thereof either.  Also, when I say inexperienced, I mean it in regards to very specific areas.  I have 6+ years experience overall, but let's say you don't have enough experience (or none) using something like angular.js, Google Analytics, Selenium Webdriver, etc., then your previous experience is not likely to count.  Of course, those are things you can improve on yourself in your own time, but many times they expect you to have done it on another job before giving you a chance.

 


blueshogun96, on 04 Apr 2016 - 02:27 AM, said:


1. Whiteboarding

I've been involved in both giving and receiving of interviews many times.



Very few companies have ever asked me to write code on a whiteboard. I've had to solve problems and diagram things on a white board, but that is different from writing code. I don't require people to write code on a whiteboard.



In my job, many times I've needed to diagram problems and work out solutions where the whiteboard is the easiest thing on hand to help collaborate. So that part is realistic.



I agree that "write perfect code on a whiteboard" is an unrealistic assessment. If a company is doing that, they've got a terrible interviewing practice.



The process of "Let me explain and diagram a problem for you to solve", however, IS a realistic assessment because that happens all the time in my experience. That is fine.

 

This I am in full agreement with.  Things like flow charting, etc. is quite reasonable and realistic on a whiteboard.  Faster and more convenient too.  What I do like is when interviewers allow me to chart out my idea before diving into code at least. 


If your complaint is that companies are breaking their contracts with you early, and that it happens frequently, that is not like what I've experienced or witnessed, except for people who are toxic to be around. If the person is not sociable or difficult to work with, they will be gone, either for a contractor getting their contract terminated or a regular employee getting written up, having a "performance improvement plan" or similar document put together, and being fired a month later if the attitude did not completely turn around.

No, it's not a complaint, but a frustration nonetheless.  Contract to hire is also a challenge to find.  When a contract is ending, it's usually because the product has shipped, and they need less people to pay, so they start laying us off.  I just do my work to the best of my ability and go from there.

 


These are all very different entities.



Your assessment is correct that the smaller businesses are sometimes harder to get called back, and harder still to get the job. Sometimes it is easier. The biggest determining factor, in my experience, is how your job history looks. If you look like a job hopper, or like you cannot complete projects, your job history is suspicious.



Startups and small companies are more shy of people with suspicious records. If you've got five or ten years of experience somewhere they love it, you'll likely be an asset. But small companies usually have extremely lean budgets and they don't want to take a risk on a bad employee.



Big companies can usually afford to take more risks when it comes to workers with suspicious work histories.



If your resume is short, or if your jobs appear to be moving from company to company in under two years, whatever the reason, it makes sense that startups and small companies won't hire you. They will dig in and want to know the reason for each early separation. They can understand an early termination if the high-risk project was terminated, sometimes a person is unlucky and gets two such jobs. But more than that and they're unlikely to consider you for the risk.

Makes sense.  My resume is roughly 3 pages long though, and I've never had a permanent position before.

 


Someone who hates the industry (as it seems you do) will tend to have an attitude that is toxic to everyone. Those who work with the individual get frustrated and angry rather than taking pride in their accomplishments. People who do not enjoy their jobs tend to arrive late and leave early, tend to do shoddy work, tend to be bad employees.

Hence why I don't work in gaming anymore.  When working in non-gamedev positions, I'm much happier and productive.  But then the sudden lay off comes without any warning, and then I'm going through the frequent grind of the interview process (assuming I'm even getting that far).  As much as I've grown to detest working at gaming companies, I've never had any problem against the work from non-gaming companies.  It's just the hostile interviewing and layoff process that I'm getting tired of and what I am growing to hate.  When I started back at Microsoft, I was like "yeeeehaw!  Let's get this show on the road!".  So I hauled ass, not sagged ass.  I kicked ass, and not kissed ass.

 


Someone who hates the industry (as it seems you do) will tend to have an attitude that is toxic to everyone. Those who work with the individual get frustrated and angry rather than taking pride in their accomplishments. People who do not enjoy their jobs tend to arrive late and leave early, tend to do shoddy work, tend to be bad employees.

Read it again.

 


I've also never been asked to do whiteboard coding.

I wish I could find a company like this.

 


I suppose you've ruled out the notion that employers are using absurdly high standards of whiteboard coding and experience to weed you out for reasons unrelated to your actual technical competence? I wouldn't be terribly surprised at some employers having a "favored candidate" and going out of their way to make things tough for people who aren't that candidate - or don't "look" like their ideal candidate, either in terms of personality/temperament, experience level, or even (sadly) things like race or gender.

Eh, who knows?  I've heard stories about it.

 

Btw, who said anything about giving up?

 

Shogun.

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Once more, this is not meant to be a sob story nor I big long story of how I gave up on gaming.  If I don't tell anyone, my attitude isn't going to change, so I'm telling you guys since you've generally been good to me over the years.  I've only chosen not to work at a gaming company, that's all.  I guess this type of thread isn't very productive.

 

Good news: I'm being considered for a dev position at Verizon again.  Unfortunately, they are all the way on the eastern coast of Murica, and I told them I wasn't willing to relocate because I already have my roots here as well as my dedication to family and girlfriend who I value much more than any sum of money.  Since they are having a really hard time finding someone with the necessary experience besides myself (kinda hard to believe, isn't it?), they are considering allowing me to work remotely and possible travel from time to time from what I understand.  Considering the pay rate ($70/hr) and the sheer awesomeness of the job description, I'm going for it.  What's the worst they can do?  Say no?

 

Shogun.

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Okay, I remember you replied last time, but I wanted to make things a bit clearer just in case you didn't understand me now or prior. I haven't worked for any gaming related company/position since 2013 when I decided it was enough. So yes, I have applied and worked at many non-gaming companies and have been quite satisfied with most of those jobs. Needless to say, I've had much more success and fulfillment with non-game dev.

 

So, where exactly is the problem?

 

Is it that you would still like to work in the gaming industry despite your prior expieriences? Is your current job not so fullfilling, even thought it is more fullfilling than your prior game industry related jobs (or trying to get into the industry and never getting the job if that was your expierience)?

 

 

As far as I read it, you have a job that pays the bill. Good. That means you can now look for fullfillment and joy (given your day job is not already providing you with that).

If you are convinced that it is game development that can give that to you, why even try to get a job in the industry? Why not just see game development as a hobby, and do it on the side?

Yes, you do not get to work on games 24/7, and you are not able to be on the team that builds the next AAA blockbuster. On the other hand, you are free as to how and on what you work, with whom you work, and there is certainly no whiteboarding and assesments involved... just being nice to people you want to continue working with, and continuosly showing great skill and determination to keep the morale of all people involved up.

 

 

Again, I do not mean harm, just trying to give another perspective. To me it seems like you are not happy with your current situation, but I am unsure why that is.

Edited by Gian-Reto

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