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Chen96
Chen
78 posts / 1 project

Some guy trying to make some video game.

#14700 Question: How can I stand a chance when applying for jobs in the programming industry?
4 months, 3 weeks ago Edited by Chen on March 26, 2018, 5:31 a.m.

Hi all. I am currently a college student in the U.S. who is about to graduate. I apply myself to learn about game engine technology and devote a lot of time and effort to work on my game (Monter). However, so far I have been rejected from every single internship I have applied for, all of which are offered by game engine companies such as Unity and Epic Games. I always thought that demonstrating my passion to learn and my programming experience by showing my personal projects would make me a good candidate when applying for jobs. But it seems like I'm deluded.

But I'm confused: if showing my passion and experience with my personal project doesn't make me a good candidate, what does? I've asked similar questions on gamedev channels, and some people answered that I should have a lot of tech demos. But isn't a game itself a combination of tech? Therefore I'm seeking guidance and advice on what I should do to be a desirable candidate.

I've also considered falling back and apply for some other programming jobs that I'm interested in, such as graphics. So I also want to ask the more generic version of the same question: how to make myself more desirable when applying to programming jobs in general? Any help would be appreciated, thank you.

I am working on Monter
Brian
24 posts
#14703 Question: How can I stand a chance when applying for jobs in the programming industry?
4 months, 3 weeks ago

Greetings Chen,

Do you know who is rejecting you? As in, are you even getting passed HR? Unless HR/recruiters really understands what the team is looking for, often if you don't check enough boxes, you will be rejected. It could be something as simple as not having graduated yet, to not having any/enough work experience.

If it's actual engineers or team leads than either they have no idea what they are looking for, or, something is missing on your resume and/or cover letter.

If it is the latter, may you share your resume and a cover letter example? Please leave out personal details that could identify you. Perhaps you are just not selling yourself enough?
abnercoimbre
Abner Coimbre
283 posts / 2 projects

Founder

#14704 Question: How can I stand a chance when applying for jobs in the programming industry?
4 months, 3 weeks ago

Chen96
However, so far I have been rejected from every single internship I have applied for, all of which are offered by game engine companies such as Unity and Epic Games.

I used to be in the space industry, and when I went to my first GDC last week, I noticed a few things. AFAICT it seems the difficulty in getting an offer from game companies stems from an absurdly high volume of applicants, and many of them are young programmers willing to get paid below-market-rate salaries. One of the members from this community went to give out a resume to Insomniac Games at GDC, and they were so saturated with applications they didn't want to look at his at all. The rejection had nothing to do with his experience or credentials.

Given your Monter side project, you're already ahead of many graduating programmers, and could probably get a decent job offer anywhere outside of games fairly quickly. I'm not saying it's impossible to acquire an entry-level job in games, and you should keep applying (make sure Monter has some good demos / videos that show it's handmade and not using Unity, etc.) But you should also apply for fields outside of games.

In fact, to avoid the massive herd, it could make sense to also apply for the games industry later, for some position that is higher than entry-level.
Chen96
Chen
78 posts / 1 project

Some guy trying to make some video game.

#14705 Question: How can I stand a chance when applying for jobs in the programming industry?
4 months, 3 weeks ago

Brian
Do you know who is rejecting you? As in, are you even getting passed HR? Unless HR/recruiters really understands what the team is looking for, often if you don't check enough boxes, you will be rejected. It could be something as simple as not having graduated yet, to not having any/enough work experience.


Hi Brian. I have no clue. I always just followed the submission process online and click "apply". But I do want to get feedback on my resume, that would be really helpful. Here's the resume I used when applying for those internships (with sensitive info removed): resume. It scares me that my resume can be filtered out by HR and not looked at by the people who are actually hiring, but I guess it's really important to realize that possibility. Thank you for that important information.

Abner
when I went to my first GDC last week, I noticed a few things. AFAICT it seems the difficulty in getting an offer from game companies stems from an absurdly high volume of applicants, and many of them are young programmers willing to get paid below-market-rate salaries. One of the members from this community went to give out a resume to Insomniac Games at GDC, and they were so saturated with applications they didn't want to look at his at all. The rejection had nothing to do with his experience or credentials ... Given your Monter side project, you're already ahead of many graduating programmers, and could probably get a decent job offer anywhere outside of games fairly quickly.


Hi Abner. Wow, I didn't realize it's that bad. Given that, my defeats are a bit less discouraging now and make more sense. Thank you for the encouraging words. I will keep trying applying for game jobs but also apply for jobs outside of game industry.

I am working on Monter
OliverMarsh
Oliver
74 posts / 2 projects

A budding game developer and programmer

#14715 Question: How can I stand a chance when applying for jobs in the programming industry?
4 months, 3 weeks ago Edited by Oliver on March 27, 2018, 2:06 a.m.

Hi Chen,

Hopefully something comes up :). A couple things I would say is that I agree with Abner of possibly working in a related field with less competition to gain experience then moving across into game development. Having a look at your resume, I feel like you could expand on some things you've done. You've got a link to the Monter blog, but maybe try convey more in the resume. I agree with Brian that you got to sell yourself (in a good way). Take the tips with a grain of salt, (I haven't got a job in the game industry) but here's what I would do:

1. Have expanded sections for each project and have accompanying screenshot/image. Monter looks super nice/beautiful, make sure you get that across. Have a bigger writeup of what the projects involved, what you've had to learn.

2. Expand on education/university section. What subjects/projects you did as part of the university course? Even if you feel like the subjects weren't anything special, what would a employer like to here. Are there any clubs you were in at the university? Any team projects you worked on. I think even if its web related, still shows you've worked in a team etc.

3. Have a cover letter. Expand on the personal reasons why you would like to work in the game industry.

4. Make the resume bring across that "you would me mad not to hire me!"

5. Extra: Put the resume on a website so it's easier to navigate?

Here is a resume/cover-letter of mine: (not the best example, but maybe give you some ideas).


I think the best bet is keep trying. Maybe find a way to get passed HR department?

Best wishes,
Oliver
Chen96
Chen
78 posts / 1 project

Some guy trying to make some video game.

#14724 Question: How can I stand a chance when applying for jobs in the programming industry?
4 months, 3 weeks ago

Oliver
Hi Chen,

Hopefully something comes up :). A couple things I would say is that I agree with Abner of possibly working in a related field with less competition to gain experience then moving across into game development. Having a look at your resume, I feel like you could expand on some things you've done. You've got a link to the Monter blog, but maybe try convey more in the resume. I agree with Brian that you got to sell yourself (in a good way). Take the tips with a grain of salt, (I haven't got a job in the game industry) but here's what I would do:

1. Have expanded sections for each project and have accompanying screenshot/image. Monter looks super nice/beautiful, make sure you get that across. Have a bigger writeup of what the projects involved, what you've had to learn.
2. Expand on education/university section. What subjects/projects you did as part of the university course? Even if you feel like the subjects weren't anything special, what would a employer like to here. Are there any clubs you were in at the university? Any team projects you worked on. I think even if its web related, still shows you've worked in a team etc.
3. Have a cover letter. Expand on the personal reasons why you would like to work in the game industry.
4. Make the resume bring across that "you would be mad not to hire me!"
5. Extra: Put the resume on a website so it's easier to navigate?

Here is a resume/cover-letter of mine: (not the best example, but maybe give you some ideas).

I think the best bet is keep trying. Maybe find a way to get passed HR department?

Best wishes,
Oliver


Hi Oliver. These are a lot of good points, it seems like I have a lot of revisions to do on my resume :P. Thank you a lot for these suggestions. However, I've been repeatedly told that my resume should be at most one page long, so I don't know if I can expand much on the projects or include screenshots, since those will take too much space on a one-page resume.

I am working on Monter
Brian
24 posts
#14727 Question: How can I stand a chance when applying for jobs in the programming industry?
4 months, 3 weeks ago

Pretty much the one thing I took away from my first job was that employers who are searching for candidates most of the time when looking at a stack of resumes is to figure out what to throw away, rather than what to keep. Though unfortunate, what Abner said is true; but, it's also not a new thing. When you have 200 resumes on your desk, it can be hard to stand out. So you tend to eliminate resumes (and thus candidates) first.

So think of these (one-page resume) rules as merely guidelines. To one person looking at a stack of resumes, their criteria might be to only look at one-page resumes. For others? One page is the first to throw out (for they might assume this person does not have enough experience). Some might need a few years work experience; while others, might require a bachelor/master/PhD. It's just the nature of things unfortunately.

I know for recent graduates they say one-page resumes for what tends to happen is people will pad it with stuff. Padding is not good. It is obvious most of the time when someone pads their resume then you start to wonder why?

But, if you have experience, if you have things you can share, be concise; but, you can list things that will push you greater than a page.

Looking quickly at your resume, you need to understand that you are using very specific terms to refer to things that you've done or are working on. Nothing wrong with that, but try to think if someone who was not familiar with the tech side of games (such as a bad, or perhaps just not as informed HR person), what would they understand?

I like your personal projects section. But the rest of your resume seems empty. Though in your case, I don't think adding more to it would help, unless you have work experience, or projects done in school worth talking about. Or you've done volunteer work. But what would help would be a cover letter, which you would need to tailor it to the job that you are applying to.
Chen96
Chen
78 posts / 1 project

Some guy trying to make some video game.

#14731 Question: How can I stand a chance when applying for jobs in the programming industry?
4 months, 3 weeks ago Edited by Chen on March 27, 2018, 8:32 p.m.

Brian
So think of these (one-page resume) rules as merely guidelines. To one person looking at a stack of resumes, their criteria might be to only look at one-page resumes. For others? One page is the first to throw out (for they might assume this person does not have enough experience). Some might need a few years work experience; while others, might require a bachelor/master/PhD. It's just the nature of things unfortunately.

I know for recent graduates they say one-page resumes for what tends to happen is people will pad it with stuff. Padding is not good. It is obvious most of the time when someone pads their resume then you start to wonder why?

But, if you have experience, if you have things you can share, be concise; but, you can list things that will push you greater than a page.

Looking quickly at your resume, you need to understand that you are using very specific terms to refer to things that you've done or are working on. Nothing wrong with that, but try to think if someone who was not familiar with the tech side of games (such as a bad, or perhaps just not as informed HR person), what would they understand?

I like your personal projects section. But the rest of your resume seems empty. Though in your case, I don't think adding more to it would help, unless you have work experience, or projects done in school worth talking about. Or you've done volunteer work. But what would help would be a cover letter, which you would need to tailor it to the job that you are applying to.


Hi Brian, thanks for your feedback on the resume and information about the hiring process. That makes a lot of sense. If I just follow the normal procedure and not know anyone, I guess I will have to depend on luck. I think I will ditch the one-page requirement if I find it too restraining.

I am working on Monter
abnercoimbre
Abner Coimbre
283 posts / 2 projects

Founder

#14795 Question: How can I stand a chance when applying for jobs in the programming industry?
4 months, 2 weeks ago Edited by Abner Coimbre on April 3, 2018, 4:38 a.m.

Brian
Though unfortunate, what Abner said is true; but, it's also not a new thing. When you have 200 resumes on your desk, it can be hard to stand out.

I want to emphasize the games industry is an outlier compared to other programming jobs. I repeat, many candidates are willing to eschew benefits and get paid below-market salaries (this is crucial to understand!) because they're "passionate about games." This enables predatory behavior from employers, and you can only understand the madness when you see it for yourself.

Rant

At GDC '18 I met young Google engineers and other employees from high-profile companies salivating over any possible internship with any possible game studio. Google engineers for goodness sake! I met traveling designers -- people who quit their cushy software jobs to pursue success in video game design. They were now looking to get hired or angel-funded. It's not normal.

There are great studios to work for with healthy work cultures. But given the crazy climate they are few and far between especially if you're an entry-level worker. There is at least some hope -- people are talking about unionizing game devs.

TL;DR Silently scrutinize job interviews and the work environment. If you feel uneasy and get a strong hint of "we're looking for people full of PASSION!" treat that as a red flag.

P.S. Apologies to a close friend who is a Handmade lurker and traveling game designer..

P.P.S. I realize the irony that I left NASA and now work for the games industry. In my defense, I'm working on compilers, not a game :P
pragmatic_hero
101 posts
#14807 Question: How can I stand a chance when applying for jobs in the programming industry?
4 months, 2 weeks ago Edited by pragmatic_hero on April 3, 2018, 1:53 p.m.

abnercoimbre
P.P.S. I realize the irony that I left NASA and now work for the games industry. In my defense, I'm working on compilers, not a game :P

Frankly, JAI is probably the most important software project happening right now.
Which - I believe - will have a far reaching impact far beyond the games industry.

GooglApplSofts don't and won't do JAI. They don't do stuff like that with their gazillions stashed into offshore accounts. They invest their money in internet connected juicers.



strangezak
Zakary Strange
46 posts / 3 projects

A C++ Programmer working on Squad professionally, and Proportion during my free time.

#14813 Question: How can I stand a chance when applying for jobs in the programming industry?
4 months, 2 weeks ago

Hello Chen!

I had this same feeling when trying to get my first industry job about ~2 years ago. The game industry is sadly _very_ hard to get into if you're coming in as a outsider and don't know anyone at any of the big companies. If you're just looking for a internship feel free to message me and we will talk ([email protected]).

Some tips:
* Open source some code
Hiring Managers love to see code on github even if they can't understand its great to see code. This caries over even to the
engineer you will be interviewing with as they usually can pass the "Do you know how to program?" questions and move onto more
interesting things

* Find what makes you unique and advertise it
Their are a TON of people who want into the game industry, and honestly not that many jobs. So you need to find your niche and
apply as that and not a _general games programmer_ (so many people apply as general game programmers its like throwing gum at
wall and seeing which piece sticks). Mine is Tools and Systems so typically do what you would do in a "Game Engine
Programmer" position, but since we use ue4 at my current job no one is really "developing" the engine in house.

These are just some basic tips that helped me get a job.

Are you getting interviews, or just getting rejected my email after a submission?

An angry programmer.
Chen96
Chen
78 posts / 1 project

Some guy trying to make some video game.

#14834 Question: How can I stand a chance when applying for jobs in the programming industry?
4 months, 2 weeks ago

Hey Zak, thanks for the advice. I don't get interviews, just flat rejections right away.


I am working on Monter
MandleBro
Jack Mott
111 posts / 1 project

Web Developer by day, game hobbyist by night.

#14915 Question: How can I stand a chance when applying for jobs in the programming industry?
4 months, 1 week ago Edited by Jack Mott on April 10, 2018, 5:08 p.m.

You are applying for perhaps the hardest to get programming internships in the whole world. Expand your search, including outside the games industry. You have solid skills you can certainly find *A* job no problem, and probably even a very good job. But maybe not a job at Unity or Epic Games right away.
Chen96
Chen
78 posts / 1 project

Some guy trying to make some video game.

#14935 Question: How can I stand a chance when applying for jobs in the programming industry?
4 months, 1 week ago

That's a very fair point, I will definitely incorporate that into my future internship/job search.

I am working on Monter
abnercoimbre
Abner Coimbre
283 posts / 2 projects

Founder

#14944 Question: How can I stand a chance when applying for jobs in the programming industry?
4 months, 1 week ago Edited by Abner Coimbre on April 13, 2018, 4:22 p.m.

MandleBro
You are applying for perhaps the hardest to get programming internships in the whole world.


That's what I was trying to imply with my earlier observations! If highly paid Google engineers are looking for a foot in the games industry no matter what the cost, you shouldn't have to compete with that craziness if you just finished school and are looking for your first job.