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Graduates vs Game Developers

Posted by souri on Sun, 15/02/04 - 1:10 PM

I'd like to hear about your comments on [url=""]Yusuf's blog entry[/url].. What are you doing to differentiaite yourself from others? What areas are there for people to specialise in - what skills do you think future technology will have us doing? Your expectations on finding a job, and general comments regarding Yusuf's blog entry...

Submitted by bullet21 on Sun, 15/02/04 - 8:33 PM Permalink

I think it's a broken link.

I got it working but you have to delete the stuff b4 it

I was just wondering if Doord, Aven or Pantmonger are employed in the Industry. Coz if elite artists like htese can't get jobs in the industry then i don't think i have any chance.

But in the end I guess its all about dedication. I don't think people get a job in the games industry soon as they come out of AIE or what ever.

Submitted by Kane on Sun, 15/02/04 - 9:36 PM Permalink

im only just about to start Uni, but this is my plan i think...

i think that advertising yourself would give a good impression to employers...sure you can send an application to every advertised position, but why not advertise yourself by asking for work when there are no available positions...

while I was in WA there was a radio announcer that done a talk at my school on how he got his job...he made flyers saying what he was studying, when he would finish and what he was most interested in, and sent them out to all the radio stations every couple of months...

its weird but i reckon it would get peoples attention...

im also going to do a lot of electronics stuff...if i know exactly what is happening everywhere inside the beast that is running the games we are making, then i think it would give me that edge over others... typing gland hurts now so im leaving...

Submitted by Sorceror Bob on Sun, 15/02/04 - 11:38 PM Permalink

Bullet21 -

Doord - Irrational
Aven - Needs to make a demo reel, the bum :D
Pants - Halfbrick Studios

In regards to the post..
I think that if you want to get into the games industry, you're going to have to work very fucking hard to do so. A piece of paper saying you have graduated from a course means shit if you don't have solid work to back it up. I know people that did the minimum amount of work needed to pass the course, and expected a job.

I do agree that there aren't enough developers in Australia, but I believe that Aussie developers are earning alot of respect, hopefully this will mean more money will be invested over here.

Submitted by unknownuser1 on Mon, 16/02/04 - 12:18 AM Permalink

Any popluar industry is difficult to get into. It doesn't matter what it is about. The thing is that you need to distance yourself from everyone else trying to get a job. As SB said, the piece of paper at the end accounts for very little. Pretty much the only thing it shows, is that the person may have better people skills and be able to work in a group a lot better. A reference from any retail job would be handy for that as well though.

As for me. Well SB hit it again with me being somewhat lazy last year and doing dick all. I am now working on a portfolio that will hopefully seperate me from other people applying for jobs. I am still 21 and am not in a great rush to get into the industry. So the reason why I don't have a job is because I haven't wanted one yet. If you want a job, then you will have to try hard :)

There are many things that can be done to help you get a better job, but all of them have to be done by the individual. Education can only take you so far. The rest is up to you.

Submitted by Pantmonger on Mon, 16/02/04 - 1:38 AM Permalink

In my opinion.

Your folio is god, your piece of paper/qualification helps to get it seen, experience is the scale tipper.
In addition, having a reasonable level of interpersonal skills is a must, your employer has to think that they will enjoy working with you.
Though this is not gospel and there are exceptions.


Submitted by Blitz on Mon, 16/02/04 - 10:15 AM Permalink

I remember something one of my tutors (Seb)at AIE said to someone, something along the lines of: A tertiary qualification (bachelor degree, diploma, etc.) is just a tie breaker. If an employer has to equal candidates, but one has a diploma and the other does not, they will give the job to the one with the diploma (under the assumption that they have more experience i guess). But if you are better than the other person, then you'll get the job no matter how many degrees etc. the other has got. Unless you're an absolute wanker and no-one is going to want to work with you of course :)
In my opinion, from my limited experience, these are the things that employers look for (well, at least, the employers i've had interviews with :) )
1. Talent/Ability - You do need to be able to actually do the job.
2. Enthusiasm (for game dev) - They want to hire someone who will be dedicated to getting the work done, and who is the type of person to teach themselves/keep up with new tech etc. in their own time. Not someone who is just there to get paid (willingness to work long hours etc. will also come into play here).
3. What kind of person you are, and how you work in a team - They won't hire you if they don't like you, or if you can't get along with people. Simple as that :)

Number 1 is really the only thing you can show before you get an interview, 2&3 are surmised from the interrogation.
I think i've kind of diverged from the topic now.

Ok, back to the topic.
What am i doing to differentiate myself from others...dunno, guess that depends what other people are doing! I'm not sure how much there is that you can do to differentiate yourself from others, other than through your physical presence. When I applied for irrational games (junior programmer) last year, i hand delivered my resume/demo CD. Whether or not they were impressed with that (or even noticed) i have no idea. When i apply for jobs atm, i send them a CD if i can get their postal address, I like to give them something to physically hold in thier hand, sit on their desk etc. instead of some transient email attachment. I'm not sure what others do though :) John DeMargerhitti (i bet i spelled that wrong again!) spoke of one person who came in to MicroForte every week and hand-delivered his resume to the receptionist. Eventualyl the receptionist was either so sick of him, or impressed, that he/she put the resume on top of Johns keyboard, so he couldn't miss it, and when he asked why it was there the receptionist told him about him coming in every week. John was impressed by his persistance and offered him a job on fallout tactics IIRC. Obviously he must have had the skillz too, but his persistance made him stand out. Of course other companies may just file a restraining order against you :)
Specialising...theres the obvious, graphics, AI, networking, sound (maybe less so?). There is also other things such as specialising in particular hardware (consoles), although thats pretty hard to do until you actually have access to it :)
Future technology i think will see a lot more "non-standard" control interfaces, such as eyetoy, speech recognition, etc. we could see more openings for people with specilasations in image processing/recognition, speech recognition, and natural language. As broadband access continues to improve we are going to see even more need for people who can do all the networking/database/etc. stuff.
Expectations on finding a job aren't great. I'll just continue to plod along and keep programming, improve my skills and keep my eyes out for openings. Also trying to make my own work, either doing handheld or working with a few people on a PC title or mod.
I'm kind of disagree with yusaf's blog in a way. I agree there is obviously more people who want to get into the games industry than there are positions to fill, but on the other hand, probably a very large majority of those people don't yet have the skill/ability to get a job in the industry yet. Once people do have the skill required to get their foot in the door THEN they can worry about being better than the rest, or differentiating themselves etc.
Hmm, it's amazing how much you can type when you're waiting for a 5mb file to upload on 56k :/
CYer, Blitz

Submitted by Doord on Mon, 16/02/04 - 11:39 PM Permalink

I would have to say that the main thing that got me my job was a 57 sec animation I did at the end of my last year that the AIE. It was four days work and I had a hell of a lot of fun. This would have got me about 40% of the way there.

What Do I think that made up the other 60%.

Well I think my demo reel did help a lot I didn't have to tell them that I was able to do something or have a bit of paper saying I could do it. It was all in the demo reel. Also I read that Irrational was using the unreal engine so I put my a character in to the game.

Another big note with a demo reel is not to show anything you are not 100% happy with having people from the industry seeing. Your art is only a strong as your weakest art work, applies here. You maybe asked to show more but then you have the right to say that it is not your best work and why. What I mean by right to say, brings me to my next point. I have heard many times from employers talking about talking to people looking for work about there demo reel and many of the job seekers say that "they had a lot more work and there not happy with the art they are showing and that is also it half done, but they are okay with that." Never have half finish work, Having a fully compete demo reel, Mod, short film etc. shows that you are able to slick with a project to it end and also get it finish on time.

One think I did make an note of doing was to read all I could about irrational before my interview. Also I was getting sick of farm work and gardening, so I did sound like I wanted the job more then anything else.

But in the end the thing I had was a reel full of petty good work and as I was going for an animation job I had about 3 full mins of character animation in my demo reel. Many demo we get here saying that a person is a model/animator has very little animation in the reel.

So what set me apart from other in my class without jobs, I had many project finished (hail game, long 3:30 min demo reel 100% compete, short 30 sec demo reel 100% compete, 11 page modelling tutorial, and a go start on my next project a mode for UT 2003.) stuff in my reel was to do with game not just a ball jumping around and talking (a matter of fact the work I showed in my demo reel was all from my last year at the AIE, nothing from my first.) and knew what I wanted from my career at irrational and the game industry also.

PS. Why do you think I push animation work here at Sumea a fair bit, there not many people which go for that kind of work. I think is easier to get in the industry with animation, hell I had the same demo reel for MF as here, and the reason a got the job here was because it was for animation not modelling/texturing which a lot more people can do.

Submitted by Red 5 on Tue, 17/02/04 - 12:22 AM Permalink

Even though some developers state in their job ads that applicants should have a degree/diploma etc, there are actually a few who prefer to employ artists who haven't been through formal training. The thought is that bad habbits (that are difficult to break) can be picked up at some training facilities, also that imagination and creative freedom are sometimes compromised in order to achieve the required end of year results. This is especially apparent in some animation courses when it comes time to put a showreel together and practically everyone in the class produces similar showreels.

As for specialising in any one particular area of game design, I think we're headed in exactly the same direction (art-wise) as the movie special fx industry with individuals being placed in an essembly line so to speak, (a lot moreso than we currently do) and if you can prove to be an expert in one particular area however niche it may be, you will have an definite advantage over the "jack-of-all-trades-but-not-exceptional-at-any" person.

Submitted by kingofdaveness on Tue, 17/02/04 - 3:04 AM Permalink

I dont agree with Yusef at all. I have seen first hand that the industry has many jobs and it is struggling to fill them.

The problem is that there is a big gulf between what is needed and what is being taught. In addition, many people do not understand what it takes to get a role, and fall short of the requirements.

I spend a lot of time visiting courses and making suggestions and revisions to curriculum, as well as visiting games developers and finding out what they need. I come from a very pragmatic angle on the industry.

Make games and game stuff. If you do it well, you get work. Do courses to learn and meet like minded people, not to get qualificiations. use the qualifications to guage how you are doing in the course. Put in 110% effort and keep your eyes peeled. Dont slack off on a course, use it to push yourself up the ladder. Dont blame the course, YOU are responsible for YOUR education.

Good luck at getting those jobs guys! See you on the inside.


Submitted by lorien on Sat, 21/02/04 - 3:24 AM Permalink

Why does this forum not mention any of the interesting stuff in the blog... :)

Submitted by souri on Sat, 28/02/04 - 3:26 PM Permalink

Yes, definately some interesting things brought up in there. Any comments on it??

Submitted by Pointy on Sat, 06/03/04 - 11:21 PM Permalink

As far as ive seen there are three big factors.

Talent - For those who have it, then the games industry will always have jobs for them, either inhouse or freelance. If your talented a game developer will snatch you up even if they arnt hiring. If you dont have it then dont give up, decpite popular belief, talented people arnt born with a golden pencil up thier arse, its learnt. Some learn faster than others.

Who you know - Its just the way it is, its not fair but its the game you play, its not as big as talent infact it dosnt come close, but it plays a good role. Most of you know it, its why forums like sumea exist.

and Personality - A minor role really, but if you show up showing distain for the employer, acting like the job is beneath you, because its games and you really should be in film. That what they are offering it pittance considering what you where being paid previously, and what your really after is a place to kick your feet up, and take a break from the rush-rush environment of film/tv, then leave when somthing better comes along.
If your telented they will probably hire you anyway.
But if the deciesion is between two equally talented people , they will probably choose the one who dosnt piss them off so much. That or flip a coin, ts hard to say.

Those things are the only things ive seen that will make you stand out. Everything else you can basically through out the window. I know the employers do, they wont give a toss if you have a degree in blah-be-dee-da-with-honours. Infact the only people who do care is those that lay down 3 years of their lives to get one, those that are on the payrole teaching you to do somthing they themselves have yet to acheive. And maybe your mom.

Now im not saying that doing a degree is worthless, just the peice of paper its written on. But you can make some good contacts, and get the skills up. And that is what really matters.
There is no secret handshake that will get you a job.

Submitted by smeg on Sun, 07/03/04 - 8:13 AM Permalink

Even if they are unrelated, degrees still demonstrate commitment, and that you have worked on large projects / assignments (solo and in teams).


Submitted by Daemin on Sun, 07/03/04 - 8:53 AM Permalink

Plus degrees allow you to explore a career away from games development, so it actually gives you more choices etc.

Although games are becoming so complex now some of the funkier stuff is just being researched!