Game Programmers – Finding a Job

Resources for helping game programmers find and get their dream job

Securing your first game programming position can be a daunting challenge even for the most skilled and knowledgeable students. Internships, portfolios, resumes, websites, programming tests, programming interviews, and even simply negotiating compensation are all new experiences for most. I’ve gathered links, references, and advice below to help you on the path.

General Career Information
Champlain’s Game Programmer Career Resources
Mark Zammuto’s website is a great place to get started learning about resume’s, cover letters, job searches, and preparing for an interview. It includes links to videos and templates. Champlain College students and alumni can even book an appointment to get one-on-one help.

Game Career Guide
The Game Career Guide is brought to you by UBM Tech, the same folks responsible for, the Game Developers Conference, and the GDC Vault. The focus of the Game Career Guide is to provide information to those starting their career in all fields of game development, although much of the content is focused on finding the right educational institution.

Finding a Job Opening
Sometimes the hardest part of the process is knowing where to look and what to look for. The FAQs below should help you decide how to focus in on the right job for you.

Should I just apply to lots of different jobs or just a few?
Applying for the “right job for you” is a much better plan than blasting your resume to hundreds of positions in hopes of getting lucky. When you’re confident that you are a great candidate for a particular position (because of your interests, background, and particular set of skills and knowledge) then you will have confidence that you’re not wasting your time or theirs.
Creating a template that just replaces the company name will look pretty obvious and if not, it will be clear during the interview process if you’re not particularly excited about the position.
Should I apply for an internship after graduation when what I really want is a full-time job?
Many companies use internships as a safe way to evaluate a recent graduate’s ability. Other companies will use internships just for temporary work with no intention of permanent employment. In neither case are they trying to trick you and they will be up front when you talk to them. Just look to see if the internship requires that applicants be currently-enrolled or returning to university after the end of the employment. If so, then it’s just temporary.

If not, then it is likely a trial position for entry-level employment and you should definitely go for it. Just make sure that after the trial period is over (usually 2-4 months) that you’re not hanging on indefinitely. If they don’t offer you a full-time employment at that point, then know you have some great experience to land your next job.

I've read that I should apply for jobs outside my skill range. Is that a good idea?
The short answer is, no. If a job requires 3-5 years of experience and you are just graduating, don’t even bother. If a job asks for 2 shipped titles, do not have allusions that your Capstone and Production II projects will be sufficient.

On the other hand, there may be possibilities of reaching a little farther than you might otherwise. Here are some examples of some cases it would be worth applying:

  • a job asks for at least one shipped title and you’ve successfully placed a game title on a digital marketplace (like Steam Greenlight or XBLIG) or worked on a shipped title at the Emergent Media Center
  • a job lists out ten requested skills or programming languages and you have all but one or two
  • a job asks for one year of experience and you’ve had two 3-month long summer internships
Where can I find a list of currently advertized jobs in game programming?
What game companies in a particular city, state, or country?
Resumes, CVs, and Portfolios
Programming Interviews and Tests
There is no question that programming interviews can be scary and challenging. But they don’t have to be.

Contract Work

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