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Oxeren

Career development for experienced multi-skilled developer

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Hey everyone. I am a game developer with 6 years of work experience. The thing is, I've always been a kind of multi-skilled guy, not focusing on one thing. During my career I've worked as a 3d artist, concept artist, programmer, also did game design and even wrote music. I've been working at companies and have also released a game that I've made almost entirely on my own (I even did the marketing for that one).

Lately I've been pondering the usual "what's next?" question. When you look at interesting job postings, they almost always require some highly specialized people. I don't really want to specialize that way. And my work experience may seem weird or suspicious to recruiters ("why would anyone work as both an artist and a programmer?"). I can do a lot of things and I think I am pretty good at those, but people reading resumes often don't like that.

So I wanted to ask for your advice, thoughts or experiences. What are the ways someone like me could go about their further career?

Edited by Oxeren

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There isn't a big demand for people who cover all the different roles. Companies want specialists because dividing a task up into specialised problems is usually the most efficient way to complete it. So all I can suggest is to pick which of the disciplines interests you most and focus on that. Or, be self-employed.

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You usually want to write your resume for the job your specifically after. If your looking for a programming job, it might be best to word your 3d art experience in a way that makes it look like it gave you some kind of experience that will help you with a programming job. On the other hand, if you want a 3d art job, you should word your programming experience in a way that maKes your 3d art skills shine. In your case, one resume does not fit all. You should have multiple resumes, each designed for the type of job you are applying for

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Maybe not appropriate but when I hear about full stack I usually think 'web'. IDK if there's a full stack equivalent in gamedev but I'd suggest you to stay away from that terminology. In general people advertising as full stack are full stack web devs doing both the HTML and the back-end. A few of them are in electronics and they go from HW (usually PCB design) to (usually) server. I had to go from firmware to HTML front-end and I'm still very reluctant in describing me as a full stack developer.

Anyway, in my experience the main problem is getting where you need to be. In six years, you should have stashed some to allow you that. Look around.

Ah, btw. While I find being able to get the job done and adapt to other roles occasionally to be admirable this isn't a good idea for the reason Kylotan mentioned. Do you know who also finds it valuable? Companies who cannot afford to pay multiple wages. I'm absolutely not talking by experience. Be ready for a rough ride.

Edited by Krohm
Added final note

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I suggest you read the book "What Color Is Your Parachute?" which covers career transitions of this type.

Assuming your resume and job history are focused on web server development and you want to transition to games, I'd recommend you start by looking for jobs doing server-side work. Once you're working for a game company on their servers, it is a short transition to work on both the networking clients and the servers.  Then you can change focus more on the client and a bit of game code.  Or, once you're on client-side networking you can focus on tools and show people your ability developing Maya plugins and similar things for art disciplines.

As for the art roles, unless you've attended art school and have a portfolio showcasing all kinds of artwork -- such as buildings from many eras, clothing from many eras, many types of creatures, vehicles from monster trucks to rickety carts, rocks, trees, environments, and so on -- you'll have a hard time entering the game artist career path. 

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6 hours ago, Krohm said:

Maybe not appropriate but when I hear about full stack I usually think 'web'. IDK if there's a full stack equivalent in gamedev but I'd suggest you to stay away from that terminology. In general people advertising as full stack are full stack web devs doing both the HTML and the back-end. A few of them are in electronics and they go from HW (usually PCB design) to (usually) server. I had to go from firmware to HTML front-end and I'm still very reluctant in describing me as a full stack developer.

Yeah, I guess you're right, I've changed the topic title. Though I've actually heard term "full stack developer" applied to game development a few times, it is probably better to use something else to avoid confusion.

 

14 minutes ago, frob said:

Assuming your resume and job history are focused on web server development and you want to transition to games, I'd recommend you start by looking for jobs doing server-side work.

Sorry for confusion (see above), I have little to do with web development, it was just awkward use of a term, I've been working only in games.

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7 hours ago, frob said:

I suggest you read the book "What Color Is Your Parachute?" which covers career transitions of this type.

Because you focused on other things frob said, you may have missed this advice. Yes, you've been working in games for years, but not in a focused way, and now you're asking "what next?"  I think the answer is, "focus." And frob's book suggestion will help you do just that.

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