I had some thoughts on video game programming jobs, but an important question – “if every game studio required 2 years of experience, where would a new graduate get it?”, was not clearly answered. Ilya Grigorik followed up with a link to an interesting article by Matt Gilgenbach, a video game developer. There Matt talks about what he thinks it would take to break into the game development right out of college.
“For quite some time, the game industry was an exclusive club that didn’t allow any new blood because every opening required applicants to have 2+ years of experience and 1 shipped title. I don’t think there has ever been a better time to get into the games industry right out of college than now. Because next gen team sizes are increasing drastically, people with experience are harder to find, so more and more companies are recruiting right from colleges. Regardless, of what college you go to, you can still get a job in the games industry provided you have a certain proficiency in the following areas.”
I want to take this a step further and show what it would take to score a real video game development position before you even graduate!
I attend University of Waterloo, and they offer a world-class co-op program, especially for Computer Science. I know that many other Universities (or Colleges for the U.S. readers) are also starting to recognize the benifits of such an education system, and help their students to find real-world, paying interships and positions. Those job positions range everywhere from QA Testing to Enterprise Software development, and yes – there are video game programming openings available to students as well. Here’s an example: The company will remain anonymous for privacy, but I guarantee it is a recognizable name in the industry.
“Our development studio is characterized by producing extremely high quality, unique and innovative games with a small, tight-knit development team. We are looking for a skilled programmer to assist us in the development of a wide variety of games we plan to release in the near future. Applicants will work alongside industry experts in a creative and fun environment.” 2 openings for intermediate level Computer Science students.
A successful candidate will require:
So there you have it – practical experience in the industry and a shipped game title. All before you even graduate. Pretty nifty, though to be honest such job openings are not frequent, so it is not reasonable to expect a game development position every term. A much more likely scenario are two years worth of various programming experience, but that could be related to concepts present in game programming (or points listed above). Actual video game development positions are bonus points that place your name on a shipping title, and fulfill the “at least one title that has already shipped” part of the requirement.
Just imagine – working for Blizzard Entertainment, or the like, right after graduation! It is possible.