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Dave Weinstein

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  1. There are very very few concept artists in the game industry, and it isn't an entry level position.
  2.   Sure you can; not to say that you will, but the 1% is around $430k-520k (depending on which chart of "the 1%" you choose to look at), and those are numbers that are regularly hit in high tech employee jobs (i.e. not an early employee at a startup that goes huge).
  3. To answer your original question, if you intend to work in another country, doing so without a four year degree complicates matters significantly.   It is possible, but generally, you need to either demonstrate a long professional career (such that it is deemed equivalent expertise) or be so far above the norm that you qualify for a given country's exception for exceptional individuals. The only exception I can think off the top of my head is Ireland -- if someone wanted to hire you as a game developer in Ireland for more than 40,000 Euros/year, I believe that would automatically qualify you for a work visa.
  4.   Depends on the company. The game industry is historically bad at "predictable schedules".
  5. We are working at multiple removes, here, since we have deliberately incomplete information.   Layoffs are common in the game industry, having been laid off is certainly no bar to anything. And while in the initial round of job hunting, all those laid off are competing with each other, as years go by, the people you worked with previously should be your best path in to new jobs -- if they are at a company looking to hire, then "I worked with this person at Studio X, would love to work with them again" is the fast path to an in-person interview. If that is not happening, then the problem is more likely to be the applicant than the industry. I say more likely because if relocation is out of the question, or there is simply bad luck on hiring cycles, then that is not going to apply.   The rest of high tech is absolutely hiring, and is so desperate to hire that it will hire people whose programming background is "spent three months in a bootcamp". Someone with an extensive professional programming history in the game industry (a field which is held in unreasoned respect by the rest of technology, who presume it is more technically demanding than it actually is) should be able to easily move over. It is certainly not the case that the rest of high tech is *more* prone to ageism than the game industry is -- the game industry skews remarkably young in staff demographics.   So, as we said when your friend was posting here in person, the reported incidents don't match our experiences of how the software industry (in and out of games) works. Without more details, that makes the claims less credible.
  6.   There are more talented people who want to make games for a living than there are paid positions for them. You can quite literally do everything right and just be unlucky, and doing anything wrong can be enough to lose out to someone who appears to be a better fit for the role.   And since personal recommendations matter in almost any employment, and "worked with before, would love to work with again" is the gold standard, the better your professional network is, the better chance you have of both getting published roles and of getting positions that are never publicly listed in the first place. 
  7. To be honest, part of "passion for working in the industry" is also a filter for "we underpay drastically for talent because so many people want to work in this field, so we don't want you to quit for better money/benefits/hours".
  8.   If you want to write the storyline for games, David Gaider wrote an excellent piece recently: https://medium.com/@davidgaider/i-want-to-write-video-games-d83da40fdf8e#.8jekzqaiy
  9. Here is an article on salary bands at major companies: https://blog.step.com/2016/04/08/an-open-source-project-for-tech-salaries/
  10. The supply of skilled entry level game programmers vastly exceeds the demand.   Every restriction you put on jobs (genre, platform, programming language, location) you will consider makes it harder to land that first position.
  11.   You probably can't. The game industry wages are significantly depressed versus the software industry as a whole, because of the labor oversupply.   So even if you were brought straight across at a comparable seniority and title, compensation would very likely take a notable hit. 
  12. As you pointed out earlier, this is a forum for people wishing to break in. In order to write an effective reusable component (be it a key library, a tool, or an engine component), you need to be extensively familiar with the requirements. That is a level of seniority and experience which doesn't apply to someone entry level. They are far better served by spending their time *using* an existing and solid framework to make actual games. If they ever do need to write their own engine (or be a key engineer writing an engine for an employer), they are much better served by having made games than they are by making toy engines.
  13. What you need to do to be a game developer is make games. Back in the late 1990s, there was a game development channel on EFNet. Mostly aspiring game developers, and a handful of professionals. And they would say "I am adding this to my engine" or "I am going to redo my engine to support that", and we would say, "Just make a game." And they would talk more about the technology they would add to their engine. A few years later, I wandered back in. Same people, mostly. Still talking about what they would add to their engine, still never having actually made a game. If you want to be a game developer, make games. If you want to be a middleware developer, make middleware.
  14. By implication, you would need to therefore write your own compiler, and OS, after first designing the CPU you intend to use. 
  15.   So, here is the thing.   Competition for jobs (especially entry level jobs) is insanely high in the game industry, because the labor market is flooded with entry level talent. So, lots of competition, low pay (relative to comparable jobs outside of games).   Outside of games, there are people getting really good jobs after doing programming bootcamps, or other non-degree programs, because the labor market is tilted in the other direction -- lots of jobs, not a lot of capable talent.   If you want to get in to professional programming, getting in via games is much much harder.