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GI Career Fair: Programming

UK devs discuss specialisation vs. diversification and the value of a bug-free demo

In this second video looking at careers in games, we pulled together some of the most talented developers specialising in programming disciplines in the UK, with experience across multiple formats and devices.

Tim Swan was previously at Black Rock Studios where he worked on Split Second, but has since made the jump to smaller iOS development at UK start-up Boss Alien in Brighton. Also from the seaside development hub is Lizi Attwood of Relentless, another programmer with experience working across consoles and now iOS devices. David Hawes from Eutechnyx has worked across consoles and PC on the NASCAR games and is now working on racing MMO Autoclub Revolution, and at the other end of the spectrum is Playniac's Rob Davis, who works on web and mobile devices with clients such as the BBC, Channel 4, Nickelodeon and Dreamworks.

Answering questions from a packed audience, the panellists discuss what exactly they want to see in terms of skills and portfolio from graduates, the importance of completing a demo, the value of learning C++, specialisation versus diversification, and how to secure a placement at a development studio and fit in with a creative team.

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Latest comments (7)

Aiden Fry Studying Sound and Music for Interactive Games, Leeds Metropolitan University5 years ago
This is absolutely great thanks for posting! cough cough .... can you get in an audio programmer next time? cough cough :)
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Courtney Ferlance Graduate Programmer 5 years ago
this is amazing has really opened my eyes, gonna work so hard on my final year project
#PeakTimes lol
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Matt Martin Editor, GamesIndustry.biz5 years ago
Aiden - there's no reason why we can't set up an audio session for next year. Thanks for the feedback.
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Show all comments (7)
Michael Chambers Studying Games Programming, Northumbria University5 years ago
Really interesting video, as a first year student it really helps seeing industry professionals recommend things to make yourself a better candidate for potential jobs.
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Eliot Lloyd Studying Computer Games Design and Production, Northumbria University5 years ago
Is there going to be a session on games design rather than programming?
Only asking because it would be handy finding out what they'd be looking for to help pick things like placements as I'm after one next year.
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James Grant HR & Account Manager, Gamer Network5 years ago
@ Eliot Lloyd "Is there going to be a session on games design rather than programming?"

Well, since you asked so nicely... :)
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Andrew Ray Studying Computer Games Design and Programming, Staffordshire University5 years ago
After leaving uni with a first in Computer Games Design and Programming (and triple distinction in IT in college) I really struggled to even get replies for jobs as I had very little work to demonstrate and a mixed set of skills with no C++. I spent 2 months doing C++ work at home but was no better in interviews because I had nothing visible to show from it (tutorials aren't demos). I switched to Java for Android and was told I needed a demo to apply through ASwift. Within a week I'd created, designed and started a mock up of a demo game and had it running as an android app but it fell on deaf ears as it was very basic and still bugged. I stuck with it for another month and after making it into a more complete game people started treating me with a lot more interest and enthusiasm. Many people commented how rare it was to see people doing their own stuff and even old contacts took me more seriously.


Long story short, I've experienced first hand the difference the advice on this video makes. Uploading a demo to my blog with youtube videos and updates changed peoples impressions a ton. You can be the most intelligent and enthusiastic person in the world and learn faster than anyone. Without a demo or examples of work no one will notice you, and why should they?



I was lucky enough to have been chatting with Tim Swan a couple of months back about a programming job. I was really gutted that I had to stop talks as I unexpectedly ended up getting a job offer locally in QA (1 week from being offered an interview to having a job offer). He seems a really good guy and I hope Boss Alien does well.

P.S. When my temp contract ends soon I'll be looking for (preferably mobile) programming jobs if anyones hiring. My demo blog is here, my CV is up on this site

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andrew Ray on 11th October 2011 9:57pm

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