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How to get a job in the games industry?

Posted: Mon May 13, 2019 11:26 am
by Mendel
Having worked 11 years in tech support, I finally burned myself out due to the job requirements changing to include (forced) sales talk during tech support calls, which is something I didn't like at all.

So now, having been on sick leave due to depression for 6 months I have finally found something (again) that is interesting to me. That is games, and games development. I applied to study at local school to finish my bachelor of engineering studies, which were halted when I got my previous job. The studies should take a year and a half. I need a plan for time after that... so... anyone got any ideas on how to get my shoe through a door of some game development company?
Is there a demand for junior programmers or is there a surplus of them? How should I approach them? Should I tell everything about me or should I try to hide failing at my previous job?

For the time being, I decided that one thing I could do is to make an indie game (and I did spend a few weeks making something that is simple and finishable and I did end up releasing something in the play store) but of course it is like a drip in the ocean that nobody will find... and as a my first game sort of thing it probably doesn't deserve to be found either. But yea I thought it would be nice to have something to show that yea I can plan, execute and finish a simple product all on my own. But how could I prove that I could be a good team player as well?

I honestly can't decide if this is an impossible dream and a waste of time or if it is something I should really pursue and put all my energy in.

Any ideas would be most welcome!

Re: How to get a job in the games industry?

Posted: Thu May 16, 2019 12:37 pm
by Neok
Hi Mendel,

Thanks for sharing your story, perhaps more people have suggestions if you tell us what kind of company you would like to work for.

If you are looking for a small one it would be very possible there is some sort of game development company in a big city near you. Maybe they don't build games for the gaming market but for other markets like healthcare or industry. Would that also interest you? If they have a front door I would totally just go there to have a chat first and personally ask for job offers.

If anything bigger I would just already start looking for job offers. Maybe in other cities if you are prepared to move. Find game devs in your country and check their website for job openings (current and previous). When I was studying I'd check sites of the big devs where I would apply when I graduated, however then 'life' happened. Big companies arent afraid to hire people from other countries but you do kindoff need to move. A lot of them have support programs for that.

If none are near you and you are not prepared to move, then I would land a generic programmer job for little hours to get some basic income and use the free time to start a passion project yourself. I suppose if your new passion is making games then that might not entirely be the same as a passion for being programmer in a game dev company.

I would probably not hide the burnout to depression, I'm not sure if that is something that is healthy to hide. I mean its not all bad, basically it means you worked yourself halfway to death. So you are probably not lazy. I would focus on getting the right energy across, and having all the right answers to show what you've learned from it. From my non-medical personal opinion, I'm not convinced a depression can really ever be cured, but is a thing to cope with that gets a bit easier over time. So then it's part of you, if thats a good or bad thing depends on how you deal with it yourself.

I'm not sure if its possible to prove someone is a team player, you either have the necessary traits or not. It does help if you really like to work in a team and if you can specify what you can bring to the table. Just saying that should be enough however any work/school group effort could count as proof.

Dreams are always good to persue, but best turn it into a goal first. Could you land this job now? No? What actual steps should you take to change that?

Re: How to get a job in the games industry?

Posted: Thu May 16, 2019 2:53 pm
by BlakeMW
Modding is a good way to get a foot in the door, but you obviously have to make a high quality and popular mod. Game companies often employ modders (i.e. for expansion packs) because the modders already know how to work with their systems and have proven skills.

I worked for Firaxis Games on Civilization 4 expansion packs after having gained their attention by making a popular mod. I never really planned to work for them I just enjoyed making the mod, one of their developers asked me if they could integrate stuff from my mod into the next expansion pack and I said "sure, but if it's good enough to be in the game you should employ me" and they did.