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  • Using Game Job Boards the Right Way

    [10.29.13]
    - Brice Morrison

  • Let's look at an example job posting:

    QUALIFICATIONS
    Knowledge of 2D/3D programming
    Knowledge of C / C++
    Strong math and engineering background
    Bachelor's degree in Computer Science or Computer Engineering preferred
    2+ years of programming experience
    Significant experience in hobby or professional game development
    Good communication skills

    Each of these items are something that this company wants, the career capital that's needed in order to get this job. And these are all very actionable. If you're looking at this example job posting and this is the type of job you'd like to have, then pick a few items on the list and start teaching yourself. Let's break it down:

    • If you don't have any "Knowledge of C / C++" go out there and start working on some personal game projects that you decide to write in C++. Look online for resources and tutorials, find books at the bookstore, and start practicing
    • If you don't have any 3D programming experience, sign up for a course at school, or do a project yourself. Get some books and start practicing and build a simple 3D game
    • If you don't have strong math background, then pick up your old calculus, trigonometry and geometry textbooks and go through them. Work through some problems, and then see if you can apply them to your 3D game experience
    • We'll talk about the 2+ years of programming experience in a moment

    These skills are what you want to go after. While you can't change your skill set overnight or even over a week, in the course of a few months to a year you can learn a substantial amount of valuable skills. 

    The key to understand is that if several companies are posting jobs that all require skill X, then several months or a year from now, there will be lots of other companies posting jobs that require skills X as well. This is your career capital that you want to build up. Then in a few months when the next job posting comes up, you will have invested in yourself and will be ready to apply for those jobs - and they'll likely be ready to talk to you!

    This brings us to that last point, what do you do it all the posting require 2+ years of experience?

    Step 2: Get Over the "1-2 Year" Requirement

    One thing that I hear all the time with students at The Game Prodigy is "All the jobs I look at require 1-2 years experience! How am I supposed to break in?"

    It is a bit of a chicken and egg problem. But I'll tell you how to tackle it. When companies say they are looking for 1-2 years experience, they are just saying that they want a person of a certain caliber. They don't want a programmer who barely knows any C++. They don't want an artist who doesn't know how to use Illustrator. And they don't want a designer who has never made a single game before. They are looking for people who know what they are doing.

    So the best way to overcome these obstacles is to make sure that you are experienced through your own personal projects. 

    Take this example: Let's say you are hiring someone to work for your game studio. You see two resumes come to your desk. The first is a guy who has worked for 2 years at some no name game company where he basically did nothing. It's really even clear he did anything at all. But the second is a girl who has made a Top 100 iPhone game, made a 3D game that was nominated for an indie game award, and led a project for a game jam that got over 100,000 plays - in fact you've heard of it.

    Who would you hire? The answer is obvious - the second person.

    But see what's happened here? The first person may have had experience sitting at a job, but the second person made their own experience. 

    The best way to do this is by working on your own personal projects and going above and beyond in courses
    So when you see jobs that require 1-2 or 2-3 years of experience, reframe it as, "This is a job for someone who has the same skill level as someone who has been in the industry 1-2 years". Then put in the work (as we discussed in step 1) to make it happen.

    Now that you've been reading the job boards to find your marketable skills and found a few jobs to apply for, it's time to use the Studio Checklist Method to close the deal.

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