Education, Job Applications

Reply: What do you look for in a Junior Programmer?

Quite often we get messages asking what kinds of skills or content is required when someone wants to apply for a Junior Programming position we have at Hardlight (we have a variety of openings now if you’re interested…). I often reply to these personally, so I thought I’d stick the last one I sent up here, in-case anyone looking for information on the Internet happens to stumble across it.

It’s quite UK-centric in regards to the education, but it’s easy enough to figure out the relevant qualifications in another country.

Hi […], my name’s Lee Winder, I’m the Technical Team Lead here at SEGA Hardlight. Thanks for getting in touch.

I don’t know much about your current situation such as your age, where you are education wise etc. so some of this information might not apply but take what you need.

Teaching yourself C# and Unity is a great start. This will give you a great grounding in programming, and how games can come together. If you continue doing this, you’ll be able to start making a few small games and maybe start to put together a portfolio of your work (or maybe even selling them on an app store somewhere!).

Your portfolio is the most important part of how you’ll get a job in the games industry. Your portfolio is how you will show prospective employers that you can do the job you’re applying for. Qualifications are important, but your portfolio is much more relevant for the job you’re applying for.

C# and Unity are good tools to work in in the mobile games industry (Hardlight itself uses Unity on most of it’s projects) but if you want to work in the high end console market then you’d need to start looking at C\C++. But for now I’d concentrate on C# before moving onto anything more complicated if it’s your first experience of programming.

Talking about portfolios.

I put up a couple of articles a few years back about what we tend to look for. Since it was written quite some time ago, the links might be dead-ends but it gives you an idea of what people are looking for.
http://engineering-game-dev.com/category/education/the-elusive-demo-portfolio/

Now regarding qualifications, programmers tend to be proficient in maths and problem solving as well as having high levels of computer science experience. Depending on where you are in your education, we’d expect programmers to have good grades in Maths, Computer Science (if available) and usually followed by good A-Level grades in Maths (and often Further Maths), Computer Science or other similar subjects.

Degree’s are not usually required (though some studios still need them) but a degree in Software Engineering or Computer Science can give you a real insight into the development of computer programs, but degrees like Maths or Physics are just as valuable if you wanted to work in a more specific area (like simulations, rendering or physics).

Hopefully some of this will help you have an idea of what we tend to look for when we get applications for Junior Developers. And good luck in the future.

Lee

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