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Old 10-31-2009, 04:39 PM   #1
japtar10101
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Default Experience: what am I missing?

Greetings, and Happy Halloween to all who lives in the US. I just newly registered today, in a desperate need of help.

I'll be graduating with a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science next year, so I'm working hard on finding a job I like best (gaming). What I ask is a simple question: what experience am I missing, and how should I compensate for it?

Some personal traits:
  1. I have about an year (maybe less) of experience in programming. In addition, I am credited for helping develop a comercial DS game.
  2. For programming, I'm most adept with Java and C++. I've touched Lua and Python before, and dove rather deeply into Ruby. Also took a class in PostGreSQL and Perl. Of course, I doubt most of the scripting languages matter, but I might as well list them out.
  3. I'm particularly looking towards Computer Graphics, and as such, I've touched OpenGL for a few of my classes. I still need to dig deeper, though.
  4. For development OS, I primarily use Linux (most recently, Gentoo and Arch). I use Windows XP and 7 frequently, though, so that shouldn't be a problem.
  5. I have a list of projects here, though I admit, most of them are for school, and thus, are not personal. Those that are personal are the short school Game Jam games created in 8 hours.
  6. While I usually use GIMP, I have experience working with Photoshop.
  7. I can speak Japanese rather fluently, but writing and reading is a whole 'nother story.
  8. I'm a Nintendo fanboy, and I still don't have a Wii or a DS .
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Old 10-31-2009, 07:39 PM   #2
tsloper
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Hello Japt, you wrote:
>what experience am I missing, and how should I compensate for it?

First, the word "experience" has a particular meaning that you need to understand. http://www.igda.org/games-game-october-2006

Secondly, since you're a fresh college grad (or will be soon), nobody expects to see a lot of experience on your resume. It's the nature of being a raw graduate. So what you have to do is build a portfolio. As you noted, school projects (unless exceptional) usually aren't that suitable as portfolio fodder.

So get cracking making better demos for your portfolio. Knock our socks off!
Ganbatte kudasai!
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Old 11-01-2009, 03:33 AM   #3
japtar10101
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Thanks for the info, Tom. I guess I have to finish personal projects first before I start talking.

A few questions before I leave:
  1. Several job descriptions says, "3 years of experience in the industry", while others say, "3 years of relevant experience." How does one differ from the other? Does it matter?
  2. Does homebrew count as a notable project? Not that I have any, but due to legal issues, it made me wonder if they count as viable things to jot down under a resume.
  3. Does anyone know how to work with Cmake, particularly CMakeLists?
  4. Does anyone know a good screen-capture software to record my Linux desktop?
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Old 11-01-2009, 07:24 AM   #4
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1.a. They don't differ.
1.b. No.
2.a. Yes.
2.b. What legal issues?


Edit: Clearly, my answer to 1.a. above is not precise enough, as is seen by subsequent posts. Read on to see a more precise answer.
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Last edited by tsloper : 11-06-2009 at 07:04 AM. Reason: Highlighting an imprecision which is corrected below.
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Old 11-01-2009, 05:19 PM   #5
japtar10101
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In continuation of question 1, is "3 years of relevant experience," three years in game programming? Or three years in any software development team?
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Old 11-01-2009, 07:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by japtar10101 View Post
In continuation of question 1, is "3 years of relevant experience," three years in game programming? Or three years in any software development team?
It's "relevant experience." If you're applying for an art job, then it's 3 years of art experience. Etc.
It means "3 years doing the thing we are hiring you to do for us."
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Old 11-06-2009, 05:22 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsloper View Post
It's "relevant experience." If you're applying for an art job, then it's 3 years of art experience. Etc.
It means "3 years doing the thing we are hiring you to do for us."
So I have a chicken and egg issue: if I can't get into the game business, then I won't have 3 relevant years of experience. And if the business is not hiring people without 3 years of experience, I'm never going to get in.

Granted, the egg came first, so something has to give. Better get started on personal game development, then.
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Old 11-06-2009, 05:57 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by japtar10101 View Post
So I have a chicken and egg issue: if I can't get into the game business, then I won't have 3 relevant years of experience. And if the business is not hiring people without 3 years of experience, I'm never going to get in.
That is why you apply for roles that don't require previous experience (i.e. Entry level and junior roles).
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Old 11-06-2009, 07:02 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by japtar10101 View Post
So I have a chicken and egg issue: if I can't get into the game business, then I won't have 3 relevant years of experience. And if the business is not hiring people without 3 years of experience, I'm never going to get in.
The key to what you said is the "if" in your second sentence.
You are mischaracterizing the hiring situation. The job ads and openings don't ALL require 3 years experience. Just the jobs you seem to be focusing on.

Change your focus.

The problem is yours to fix.
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Old 11-07-2009, 04:41 AM   #10
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Ugh, speech doesn't translate well into text.

I meant to speak of the chicken/egg issue in a half-joking way. I also said, "something have to give," meaning I recognize that I have to lower my expectations or do something that'll get me into a higher position.

However, I've been having a hard time trying to get into any entry-level software development position, regardless of field, and I think the potential reason for that is I don't have a particular "wow!" factor (alternatively, I'm a bad communicator, but it's easier to fix the "wow!" factor first). It's why I mentioned I should start on some personal project instead of worrying over my GPA so much.
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