Careers in the Gaming Industry Panel Discussion at Concordia

Posted on November 12, 2009, 2:01 pm, by Angela, under Games.

Concordia University’s Career and Placement Services hosted a panel discussion, ‘Careers in the Gaming Industry’, on Wednesday, November 11, 2009.   Six Concordia Alumni from Computer Science and Software Engineering discussed what it takes to get into the industry and their personal experiences throughout their careers in gaming.  There was much valuable insight shared with a room of approximately 2oo Concordia students who are eager to break into the industry (of which approximately 10 were women, no suprise there … I just like to keep track of these details).  I will summarize what I took from the panel.

  1. The core Computer Science  curriculum is required.  Yes they use Dijkstra, A*, state-machines and all those other wonderful comp-sci basics we all know and love (-yes, I really do love them!-).  Algorithms developed in the 60s are crucial to gaming.  Path finding algorithms may be simple to apply in a static 2d space, but when you add another dimension, actors, buildings, and need them performed in real-time things get much more complex.
  2. Math, math, math– game development is all about math.
  3. C++ — you need to know it. C#, ruby and perl are also useful.
  4. Basic programing skills are more important than any 1 particular programming language.
  5. There is room for all types of programmers, hardware, AI, graphics and generalists.  The industry needs us all.
  6. There is even room for bad programmers!  The move to rapid prototyping of games creates opportunity for those with big ideas and little programming experience.
  7. This industry allows programmers to push boundaries.  More forgiving of mistakes than the medical or aerospace industry.  The code does not have to pass any safety regulations,  allowing more creativity.
  8. This industry always presents new challenges to programmers.  The hardware is constantly changing and thus frameworks and games change with it.  There is always more to learn.
  9. Your greatest asset when trying to get into the industry is a portfolio that includes a gaming project of some sort.  This could be a simple flash game, an iPhone game or even a Little Big Planet level.  Even the smallest game requires that you are familiar with the life cycle of game development, from the brainstorm stage through to the release, this is what they are looking for.
  10. Gaming Studios want to know why you want to work for them.  Do your research before you get to the interview.
  11. Overtime is not an option- it is industry standard.  You’ve gotta love your job.
  12. When you stop learning in your position move on.  Know what you want to do in the industry and move towards it.
  13. Although notorious for sub-standard social skills, programmers need to have good communication and interpersonal skills to work in the large teams of developers and have their ideas heard and understood.

Overall the panelist painted an optimist view of both the industry and the opportunities for recent graduates.  I was very happy to hear about the experience computer scientists in the industry and am now planning my stratagey for beginning my career in the gaming industry (…maybe it has already begun….).

PDF| Comment (RSS)
  • Great report! I met the a2m CTO, Martin Walker, last night and he mentioned that one of our (CART) students asked a memorable question. (I think it was Moh.) He didn't know about CART, but after I told him more about the program he seemed to think it would be great prep for some of things they are doing in the industry. He also offered to come speak to CART/Skins students, so we'll get that arranged in the new year.

blog comments powered by Disqus