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What does a C++ Programmer need to get the job?

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I graduated from a community college almost a year ago, but I didn't earn any sort of degree. It was a program meant to teach game development, which awarded certificates for completion.

 

I learned a lot of C++ in and out of class while there. I have built a portfolio with a handful of projects I worked on while there, and I am working on an actual complete *polished* game to add to it all. I'm worried though that this will not be enough.

 

I don't have any degree in computer science, which I see a lot of the jobs I am interested in require.

So what should I teach myself, create, or do in order to succeed?

 

 

Another problem is that I live on the east coast of Canada. Any studio I've found thus far works with Unity, unless I start looking at Montreal. Without a good job I can't really afford to move far, so I am not sure what to do there either. There are so many other people around that are much better in Unity than I am. I can get the work done in Unity, but I am almost sure that I don't always find the fastest solutions to code (as far as architecture is concerned).

 

Should I focus myself on learning Unity better than I do so I can get a local job I hate just so I can save the money I need to relocate to places with jobs more suited to me?

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I graduated from a community college almost a year ago, but I didn't earn any sort of degree. It was a program meant to teach game development, which awarded certificates for completion.

 

I learned a lot of C++ in and out of class while there. I have built a portfolio with a handful of projects I worked on while there, and I am working on an actual complete *polished* game to add to it all. I'm worried though that this will not be enough.

 

I don't have any degree in computer science, which I see a lot of the jobs I am interested in require.

So what should I teach myself, create, or do in order to succeed?

 

 

Another problem is that I live on the east coast of Canada. Any studio I've found thus far works with Unity, unless I start looking at Montreal. Without a good job I can't really afford to move far, so I am not sure what to do there either. There are so many other people around that are much better in Unity than I am. I can get the work done in Unity, but I am almost sure that I don't always find the fastest solutions to code (as far as architecture is concerned).

 

Should I focus myself on learning Unity better than I do so I can get a local job I hate just so I can save the money I need to relocate to places with jobs more suited to me?

 

I asked a similar question like yours not too long ago. I myself lack a degree after college as it was only a certificate course. Hopefully the link should provide at least partial answers.

 

All I can tell you is that for bigger studios you need a degree, unless you have 10+ years of programming experience.

 

Why exactly will you hate about a local job? Is it because they use Unity?  A lot of small studios will use Unity, and if you want, you can buy well written text books and learn from those. If I were you, and really passionate, I would make the effort to learn Unity, and put it in my portfolio. In the mean time, try to find programming jobs at small/mid-sized companies and build up good references. 

Edited by Syrena

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From the description, location is probably your biggest killer.  You need to be local to the game studios, it is rare for a studio to pay to relocate an entry level worker, and if you are willing to move on your own money it is still unlikely they'll interview if you are not local.

 

Go through the forum FAQ for some ideas to help break in, but being blunt, you need to be where the employers are, or look for a different route to follow your passions.

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Why exactly will you hate about a local job? Is it because they use Unity?  A lot of small studios will use Unity, and if you want, you can buy well written text books and learn from those. If I were you, and really passionate, I would make the effort to learn Unity, and put it in my portfolio. In the mean time, try to find programming jobs at small/mid-sized companies and build up good references. 

 

 

Hate may be a strong word, but I wouldn't like my the jobs for compound reasons.

 

I don't like living on the east coast for a myriad of reasons the job market barely even counts as one reason, so I won't get into all that. Developing games I will *never* play, using a development kit I don't appreciate, for companies which will likely never grow to an impressive size.

 

I am aware that I am somewhat overly cynical about things.

 

 

From the description, location is probably your biggest killer.  You need to be local to the game studios, it is rare for a studio to pay to relocate an entry level worker, and if you are willing to move on your own money it is still unlikely they'll interview if you are not local.

 

Go through the forum FAQ for some ideas to help break in, but being blunt, you need to be where the employers are, or look for a different route to follow your passions.

 

Well then, perhaps I should just try and get a CS degree. Apply to Universities on the west coast, or Ontario. Then again, I could just add to my debt with no real improvement in my odds. I wonder if the Armed Forces pay for CS educations.

 

 

 

Thanks for the advice.

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1. I don't like living on the east coast for a myriad of reasons the job market barely even counts as one reason,
2. Developing games I will *never* play, using a development kit I don't appreciate,
3. for companies which will likely never grow to an impressive size.
4. Well then, perhaps I should just try and get a CS degree.
5. Apply to Universities on the west coast, or Ontario.
6. Then again, I could just add to my debt with no real improvement in my odds.
7. I wonder if the Armed Forces pay for CS educations.


1. I live in the US so I don't know about Canada for sure but I assume much is similar. But you may find, like I did, that there are things you'll like a lot more, but many things are the same, and it's more expensive out west. Have you done any research? I just Googled "cost of living canada west coast vs east coast" and found http://blog.navut.com/east-coast-vs-west-coast-canada/
2. You are going to find that a lot of working in games is just like that. It can take years of that before you find a job with a company that you're a fan of, and maybe you'll never love your SDK.
3. What on earth does company size have to do with anything? You want to be a face in a crowd, is that it?
4. Yes. If you want to program games, you should.
5. It doesn't much matter where.
6. That's up to you, and how hard you work at your studies.
7. I imagine you'll enjoy military duty greatly! It might help improve your attitude (or it might just teach you how to use firearms). I know that the US military provides an education benefit; I assume the Canadian military does as well - you can certainly Google that. But you'd have to serve in the military for a while before the education benefit is available, and you'll be older (but wiser) than the other applicants you'll be competing against. A lot of factors to consider - you should make a decision grid. http://www.sloperama.com/advice/m70.htm

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1. I don't like living on the east coast for a myriad of reasons the job market barely even counts as one reason,
2. Developing games I will *never* play, using a development kit I don't appreciate,
3. for companies which will likely never grow to an impressive size.
4. Well then, perhaps I should just try and get a CS degree.
5. Apply to Universities on the west coast, or Ontario.
6. Then again, I could just add to my debt with no real improvement in my odds.
7. I wonder if the Armed Forces pay for CS educations.


1. I live in the US so I don't know about Canada for sure but I assume much is similar. But you may find, like I did, that there are things you'll like a lot more, but many things are the same, and it's more expensive out west. Have you done any research? I just Googled "cost of living canada west coast vs east coast" and found http://blog.navut.com/east-coast-vs-west-coast-canada/
2. You are going to find that a lot of working in games is just like that. It can take years of that before you find a job with a company that you're a fan of, and maybe you'll never love your SDK.
3. What on earth does company size have to do with anything? You want to be a face in a crowd, is that it?
4. Yes. If you want to program games, you should.
5. It doesn't much matter where.
6. That's up to you, and how hard you work at your studies.
7. I imagine you'll enjoy military duty greatly! It might help improve your attitude (or it might just teach you how to use firearms). I know that the US military provides an education benefit; I assume the Canadian military does as well - you can certainly Google that. But you'd have to serve in the military for a while before the education benefit is available, and you'll be older (but wiser) than the other applicants you'll be competing against. A lot of factors to consider - you should make a decision grid. http://www.sloperama.com/advice/m70.htm

 

 

1. I am 28 yrs old so this isn't just a random idea I recently had now that I'm an adult. I narrowed my focus down from not living *here* (from being a child) to living in Vancouver specifically(early to mid 20s). I could literally write pages to you about the different factors that went into all of that. Why I don't want to live in my hometown, and why other places in the maritimes don't cut it, to why Vancouver is the choice.

If I were to move to Vancouver right now, it would be city #6 for me and it would have a population density higher than all the previous five combined. Far more to explore too, with the Rockies right there and the delightful Pacific Ocean a step away. The only way to prove to myself the grass is just as pale yellow is to hop over the fence and walk around. I suspect for some it would be greener and some it wouldn't be; I believe it will be greener in my case. If nothing else I would never screw up a sleep schedule from watching TV again. To sum up the point here, I want to move west for reasons ranging from timezone, culture, size, economic growth, geography, weather, and more. I could *literally* write pages to you.

 

2. Yes I know, it scares me some days.

 

3. A bigger company means there are more people to learn from, what to and not to do which depends on how many of them are talented in their roles. Also potentially higher job security with a company that is fiscally secure. I was laid off from a company last year that had less than 15 employees because they couldn't afford to keep me. When I get laid off I like to know it is because the position is no longer needed, not that they are broke as fuck cause their games bring in very little money. So when I am making a name for myself, yea I'd like to start as a face in a crowd.

 

4. Okay. Although to me it is more a matter of me wanting to lower the perceived risk associated to me from an employer's point of view.

You see I would much rather attend university to learn about earth sciences, physics, and mathematics. In my opinion I could just as easily learn CS on the job from others and through simple practice of my craft, as I could learn by going several more tens of thousands of dollars into debt.

 

5. Well it does, because if I move out west for another stretch of post secondary then I'm where I want to be, once there I don't need to save money to move unless I want to move back.

 

6. In my experience success in life is never about how hard I've worked but can more often be attributed to luck, or good timing. Hard work has granted me knowledge, and that is about it. It has never helped me keep a job or be happy in life. I'm sure not working hard would have a detrimental effect, but my point is that I don't believe hard work is what you're making it out to be; it is merely a prerequisite.

 

7. I suspect I would be proud of such duties. Our forces do provide a paid education, and I don't believe it works like that. From what I've read I serve 2 months for every 1 month of education. Although I need more information to make a decision on whether to exclude the possibility or not. Information I can apparently I can get this Friday.

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3. A bigger company means there are more people to learn from, what to and not to do which depends on how many of them are talented in their roles. Also potentially higher job security with a company that is fiscally secure. I was laid off from a company last year that had less than 15 employees because they couldn't afford to keep me. When I get laid off I like to know it is because the position is no longer needed, not that they are broke as fuck cause their games bring in very little money. So when I am making a name for myself, yea I'd like to start as a face in a crowd.

 

 

 

This isn't always true though. It's good that you know what you want, but don't make the mistake of thinking that it's only a big company that can provide these things. For example, it's also common for large companies to suffer more from silo effects, where each team is kept rather isolated. This means even though the company has hundreds of thousands of employees you're practically or actually limited to interacting with five or ten on a regular basis anyhow. Similarly, larger does tend to mean more financially stable... but that doesn't mean financial stability for you. In a larger company, it can also be easier to lay off entire swathes of people. Including you.

 

 

 

4. Okay. Although to me it is more a matter of me wanting to lower the perceived risk associated to me from an employer's point of view.

You see I would much rather attend university to learn about earth sciences, physics, and mathematics. In my opinion I could just as easily learn CS on the job from others and through simple practice of my craft, as I could learn by going several more tens of thousands of dollars into debt.

 

 

You can get a job without a degree. At 28, you're basically "screwed" either way, risk-wise. Somebody will look at you and say "he's a risk, he's 28 and has no degree." The next person will look at you when you get done another four year degree and say "he's a risk, he's 32 and looking for entry-level work." So go back to school if you want to, but I'd recommend against doing it just because you think it's going to improve your job prospects in four years.

 

Companies that relocate any and all full-time employees do exist (larger companies, which you seem to want, are especially more likely to be able to do this). You can usually find out pretty early on in the interview process, so it does not really hurt you to try to start applying to places you want to work on the west coast now and see what happens.

Edited by Josh Petrie

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You can get a job without a degree. At 28, you're basically "screwed" either way, risk-wise. Somebody will look at you and say "he's a risk, he's 28 and has no degree." The next person will look at you when you get done another four year degree and say "he's a risk, he's 32 and looking for entry-level work." So go back to school if you want to, but I'd recommend against doing it just because you think it's going to improve your job prospects in four years.

Is there serious age discrimination in the US? It seems like there is, otherwise why is a 28 year old considered a risk for entry level job? What if his/her education was delayed due to funding? I mean there could be multitude of other reasons why one may enter the industry late.... not everyone is born with a silver spoon... but I don't see a reason why 25, 28, 30, 32, 35 or whatever the age is... should be a barrier.        Not that I'm against the above advice, but I would just like to know why this age-risk thing exist? Why employers might think someone's age is linked to their skills, potential or aptitude? Is it cultural? Psychological? Logical? or just irrational?

Just me being a lot curious, maybe there is a good reason that I don't know about

 

 

I graduated from a community college almost a year ago, but I didn't earn any sort of degree. It was a program meant to teach game development, which awarded certificates for completion.

 

I learned a lot of C++ in and out of class while there. I have built a portfolio with a handful of projects I worked on while there, and I am working on an actual complete *polished* game to add to it all. I'm worried though that this will not be enough.

 

I don't have any degree in computer science, which I see a lot of the jobs I am interested in require.

So what should I teach myself, create, or do in order to succeed?

I think this link pinned to Graphics Programming and Theory forum would be an inspiration to you. I haven't read through much  of the thread myself, but i think for certain, you would learn so much from the success and failure stories of others who had no degrees at all or no relevant degrees to game development and are  self taught

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While age discrimination certainly exists, it's not a widespread problem in the industry. What I'm trying to get at is really the futility of trying to generalize too much, you can find people with pretty much every view (positive or negative) of every fact about a candidate. Thus, trying to bend over backward to make some fact true or false about yourself in the hopes to achieve better results in an interview isn't always worth it. It can be a gamble.

What somebody sees as a risk will be different from person to person and situation to situation. An "uneducated" 25 year old may be a risk because he or she may not know what they're doing (too junior for the position in question). Somebody starting a career later or making a transition from another career (that is, somebody older) may be a risk because they have higher salary expectations than the budget can afford. Et cetera

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Coope,
1. Okay, so then you should move west as soon as you can. Makes me wonder why you haven't already done so.
 

3.a. A bigger company means there are more people to learn from, what to and not to do which depends on how many of them are talented in their roles.
3.b. Also potentially higher job security with a company that is fiscally secure.
4. In my opinion I could just as easily learn CS on the job from others and through simple practice of my craft, as I could learn by going several more tens of thousands of dollars into debt.


3.a. In a small company you get to wear multiple hats, and you learn by doing. http://www.sloperama.com/advice/m88.htm
3.b. I have been laid off from more big companies than small ones. "Job security" is not dependent on company size.
4. I didn't realize you were so old. As has been already pointed out by others, the "get a degree" advice is moot. What you need now is to program some games and build a portfolio and build a network of contacts. But no company is going to teach you programming on the job. Edited by Tom Sloper

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