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Old 02-01-2010, 12:25 AM   #1
darkitecht
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Default Making an industry jump...

So while I was in school I worked with developing enterprise solutions, web apps, and also doing some gaming stuff.

As much I had dreams of working in the gaming industry I couldn't pass up the chance to work at my local city writing and maintaining law enforcement applications (Mainly .NET in both Windows and Web dev). After a few years there I had almost convinced myself that I "dug" a hole that would make it very difficult to make a jump back into the game world.

I've been making efforts lately to get back into C++ and start working with some engines and graphics libraries. But I that doesn't exactly translate into professional development on a resume.

At the moment I'm in a situation that I'm looking for new employment. So I figured I'd give it a shot and managed to find some QA stuff that I'd feel comfortable with. But I still question my ability to make the jump (if I got said job) to working with the development team more and eventually as a developer.

Any thoughts on the situation? - comments, questions, suggestions, etc.
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Old 02-01-2010, 09:15 AM   #2
dmmik
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I am in the same situation. While in college I was hired to write .NET business apps before I graduated and have mostly been doing .NET work for the last five years. In college, I never seriously considered working in games. I was happy to get paid to write code and solve problems. Recently, though, I've been feeling like I need a new challenge, that I need to work on something more fulfilling.

Working on your C++ skills is definitely a good idea. While it doesn't “translate into professional development on a resume”, you might be able to show off those skills in another way. Why not put together a portfolio website showing games or game pieces that you've created? A game company that is willing to hire someone without professional shipped title experience will want to see that you're writing games on your own time. It will set you apart from everyone else.

If you find work in games QA, you're well on your way. You will be working with developers and making contacts in the industry on a daily basis. Try to automate manual tasks or do development work that nobody else wants to do. When you find a bug, maybe ask if you can take a look at the source check-in that fixed the solution and learn that way. Of course, make sure you still do a great job as a tester.

Don't question your ability to make the jump. You have skills that many recent college grads don't. You know how to use source control, you can work in a professional development team, you can communicate with clients, you can estimate project tasks, etc. For the skills that you don't know, start building a portfolio to fill in those gaps.
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Old 02-01-2010, 12:56 PM   #3
tsloper
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkitecht View Post
So I figured I'd give it a shot and managed to find some QA stuff that I'd feel comfortable with. But I still question my ability to make the jump (if I got said job) to working with the development team more and eventually as a developer.
Many others have done it before you.
Look at this article: http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson41.htm
And if you want to program games... how many have you worked on so far?
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Old 02-01-2010, 08:37 PM   #4
jwalters
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In the same boat, man. This article convinced me it's possible and I'm working to make it happen. If you have the drive, you can definitely do it! Good luck on your journey!
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Old 02-02-2010, 05:07 AM   #5
kbaxter
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Did you know some games are written in .NET? Not all game development is in C++! Besides, different programming languages are similar enough that most of the time, a good programmer is a good programmer, and they can pick up the skills they need to work in a new language very quickly.

It sounds like you're already very comfortable with programming, so my suggestion would be to start building a portfolio of small-scale games to show off the skills you have. I recently used XNA and a prototyping engine called Angel at Global Game Jam, which worked out very well, and might be a good place for you to start. Brush up on your C++ at the same time, and see if you can get another game project working in that.

I think you're selling yourself short if you go into QA when you're already an experienced software developer.
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Old 02-11-2010, 04:10 AM   #6
Claxon
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Have you ever thought of going into Tools programming? I was in a similar position in that for the past 5 years I've been working as a mobile phone games programmer (so generally working in Java). I knew how renderers work and how to use C++ & directX etc, but it'd been a long time since I'd actually made REAL games that put those skills to use, so I applied for (and got) a job as a tools programmer where I program in both C# and C++. It's good practice for moving into complete C++ development, but it's a comfortable step into PC & console games.
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